Mr Motivator details racist experience at job interview: 'Why didn't you tell me you were black?'

Embargoed to 0001 Monday May 04 File photo dated 23/5/2015 of Mr Motivator, who will join Linda Lusardi for a week-long workout to raise money for older people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Motivator has detailed some of the racism he faced as a black man trying to make it as a TV fitness instructor.

The exercise guru - who became a cult figure on British TV after starring on ITV breakfast show GMTV in the 90s - has opened up about some of the racism he experienced in his early career.

Mr Motivator - whose real name is Derrick Evans - told the Radio Times: "When television came along, it took me 10 years to get a break as an on-screen fitness trainer.

"Every time I went to the studios, the guys would say, 'Look, for a white lady with two kids, a black guy on TV would never work.' But I kept on persevering."

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File photo dated 23/5/2015 of Mr Motivator, who has told of the racism he encountered while trying to crack the TV industry.
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Mr Motivator encourages residents of a sheltered housing scheme in north London to get fit as part of a new campaign, which aims to get older people to take advantage of technology provided by Centra that can help them stay active in and out of the home.
Mr Motivator performs live on the Common stage, at Common People Festival, Southampton Common in Southampton
EDITORIAL USE ONLY Mr Motivator leads an exercise class for overweight dogs and their overweight owners at the launch of the Kennel ClubÕs Get Fit With Fido health and fitness campaign 2015, at Lee Valley Athletics Centre in Edmonton, north London.
Mr Motivator on day 5 of Snowbombing Festival in Mayrhoffen, Austria
General view of the crowd being entertained by Mr Motivator on day 5 of Snowbombing Festival in Mayrhoffen, Austria
Derrick Errol Evans (Mr Motivator) arriving at the TRIC Awards 2009, Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.
Derrick Errol Evans, 47, also known as television personality and exercise instructor "Mr Motivator," poses in Pimlico, London, whilst promoting his new fitness video.
PA NEWS 29/7/98 TV FITNESS INSTRUCTOR MR MOTIVATOR (DERRICK EVANS) AND ONE OF HIS SONS, JAMES ARRIVE FOR THE GALA PREMIERE OF LOST IN SPACE AT THE LONDON PLANETARIUM.
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Mr Motivator on day 5 of Snowbombing Festival in Mayrhoffen, Austria

The 67-year-old TV star was born in Jamaica and moved to the UK in 1961.

Recalling some of his earliest experiences of racism he said: "When I came to Leicester aged 10 from Jamaica, everyone would look at me as I walked by. So I would turn around, smile and wave.

"Later, when I walked into my very first job interview and the guy said to me, 'Why didn't you tell me you were black?,' I replied, 'Why didn't you tell me you were white?'"

During the coronavirus pandemic Mr Motivator has joined the BBC's HealthCheck UK Live helping viewers to keep fit in lockdown.

Derrick Errol Evans, 47, also known as television personality and exercise instructor "Mr Motivator," poses in Pimlico, London, whilst promoting his new fitness video.   (Photo by Clara Molden - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

He said: "Surviving lockdown is about being positive, but we have also been learning about what really matters....

"Racism is always stupid and wrong, but it seems especially so in a time dominated by illness, a time when we should all be realising that we all need each other.

"Imagine if a racist person was badly injured and needed a blood transfusion to survive.

"I don't think that person would hesitate to take my blood and, when they recovered, would be happily walking around with it inside of them. Blood does not discriminate."

- This article originally appeared on Yahoo.

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