Simon Cowell has built quite a reputation for himself. The “American Idol” judge is known for his blunt and insulting attitude over the past 20 years of experience judging and producing various singing and talent competitions, however the television personality does on occasion show his sweeter side.
The Daily Mail reports that Simon Cowell, along with record label Sony Music, sponsored “Britain’s Got Talent” finalist and current “Strictly Come Dancing” competitor Molly Rainford to attend the Sylvia Young Theatre School, whose alumni include Amy Winehouse, Rita Ora, and Dua Lipa.
Rainford, now 21, competed on the 6th season of “Britain’s Got Talent” at age 11, and is very grateful for Cowell. She says the auditions throughout her time at the Sylvia Young Theatre School helped her land her current role as the titular character on the CBBC musical sci-fi series “Nova Jones”.
Rainford is currently competing on the 20th season of “Strictly Come Dancing”, the British competition series that served as the inspiration for “Dancing With the Stars“.
Cowell took an instant liking to Rainford when she first auditioned for him on “Britain’s Got Talent”, telling her “I like you because you’ve got soul. I really believe that,” and giving her a “Yes” along with the other judges, moving her forward to the next round of the competition.
Simon Cowell Once Paid for a Contestant’s Spinal Surgeries
Molly Rainford isn’t the only “Britain’s Got Talent” contestant to benefit from Simon Cowell’s generosity.
Julia Carlile, a 15-year-old dancer who appeared on the series in 2017, has suffered from scoliosis since she was 6. While on the show, Cowell told Carlile, regarding her scoliosis, “Whatever happens, we’ll make sure you’re all right.” Cowell made good on his word, paying £175,000 to finance the teen’s surgery.
In speaking with The Daily Mail, Carlile said, “I always wanted the surgery but could never afford it. I owe Simon so much because if he hadn’t paid for me, my curve would have continued to increase, leaving me unable to dance and in a lot of pain. Having an operation was my only choice.”
Cowell has a history of helping contestants in need, especially children. In 2008, he paid £2,000 per week for the winner of “Britain’s Got Talent”‘s second season, George Sampson, to have a private tutor after the 15-year-old dancer’s career took off.
Outside of the “Britain’s Got Talent” sphere, Cowell’s charitable streak hasn’t faded. Along with partner Lauren Silverman, Cowell has donated over $600,000 to the charity K9 Friends in Barbados over the years. In a 2020 guest column for The Sun, Cowell pledged to donate over £1 million to help different businesses and organizations navigate and survive the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What Does Simon Cowell Think of His ‘Mr. Nasty’ Reputation?
Though Simon Cowell’s charitable nature may come as a surprise to viewers who have come to know him from shows like “American Idol”, the television personality insists this “Mr. Nasty” reputation is merely put on for the cameras during “Idol”‘s early days, but then it stuck.
“I was not grumpy the whole time,” Cowell says, “They just decided, the producers, it would be funnier to make me looking miserable and it was sort of an accident.”
Molly Rainford agrees, calling Cowell “a softie at heart,” and saying that even before he funded her schooling, he was nice to her throughout the “Britain’s Got Talent” process.
Some would disagree, however, with Rainford’s assessment. People quoted a source in response to the 2019 firing of Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough from “America’s Got Talent” as saying that Cowell “runs the show” and that “he’s rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.”
Howard Stern, a former “Got Talent” judge feels similar to this source, having said, “[Simon Cowell] sets it up that the men stay, no matter how ugly they are, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat they are, no matter how talentless they are.”