Mark Wright has opened up about his decision to become a professional footballer at the age of 33.
The TOWIE star is having to combat the stigma of starting out on a reality TV show before wanting to make a name for himself on the pitch.
Despite the hardships that come with the stigma, Mark admits the criticism only pushes him to be greater.
"Starting out on a reality TV show does come with a stigma," he told Radio Times.
"The minute somebody does one, they apparently have no talents. But I beg to differ. It’s not easy to have a camera put in your face and be expected to be entertaining or likeable."
"I love it when people doubt me. It’s like a drug. One of the reasons I went off to work in LA was because people in my own team were telling me not to risk what I had," he added.
Mark added that not being taken seriously by critics and fellow players actually gives him adrenaline and makes him want to prove himself.
"Being underestimated is like a shot of adrenaline to me. It makes me angry, but a nice angry," he added. "I live by shock and awe, and I get excited to prove myself right. I’m a winner."
Mark has only recently been signed on a professional contract by Crawley, who he was on the books for as a youngster before finding fame on TOWIE.
And after finally achieving his dream of making it as a footballer, he took to social media earlier this month to express his gratitude to all those who had supported his journey.
"A day I will never forget!!️ Today at 33, after much hard work and hours of extra training to make it possible, even if it was for a few minutes, I made my professional debut against the giants Leeds United," he wrote.
"To make it even more special my brother and best pal also made his debut for @officialcrawleytown today, to do this with him will be a moment how [sic] whole family will cherish forever.
"However most importantly, the boys that started that game were absolutely incredible, they beat a very strong Leeds United team 3-0 and every single one of them were sensational. I’m very proud to call myself a Crawley player.
"Thank you for all your support x."
Do you have a story to sell? Get in touch with us at [email protected] or call us direct 0207 29 33033