How My Life Changed After Leaving the 'Love Island' Villa

Series 5 favourite Amy Hart talks Instagram, volunteering and why she's passionate about unionisation.

25 June 2021, 8:15am

This article is part of Live, Laugh, Love Island, a series of pieces gearing up to Love Island’s long awaited summer 2021 return.

My decision to leave the villa in 2019 wasn’t planned. I'd woken up that morning, and I said to the girls: “Right. I'm ready to meet someone now.” Then we went for lunch, and I’d sat all morning, watching everyone together. And I was like, “Do you know what, actually? I'm not going to meet anyone else here. I'm just gonna go.” So it was quite an easy decision.

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I kept thinking, ‘I’m going to regret this.’ And I was really scared to go to bed, because I thought, ‘I’m gonna wake up tomorrow morning and think, ‘What have I done?’’ But it didn’t happen.

When I got in the car in Majorca, [ITV representatives] said to me, “You know, if you don’t want to have pictures with people at the airport, that’s fine. Just say, and we’ll tell them that ITV have said you're not allowed.” And I was like, “Who’s gonna want a picture with me?” Then we got to the airport.

People were shouting, “I was coming back here to tell you I loved you.” I didn't know what that was! They were all saying it. My best friend, Rhiannon, was working [as a flight attendant] on my flight, randomly. I went to see her and she was like, “Oh, it's my little Kat Slater!”

People say to me now, “Oh, you’re not a typical Islander.” I’m like, “What is an Islander?” In my series, you had a pharmacist, a scientist, a fireman. I went out for lunch the other day with Anneliese Dodds from the Labour Party. I’ve got a handwritten note from Keir Starmer. I've been asked to go on some political TV shows. I think that’s an Islander! Even before Love Island, I was an air hostess and people would think I was thick because of that. But I was 25, in charge of, like, 300 passengers, ten crew, three flight crew, having to do some really hard stuff at quite a young age. 

I’ve worked for big companies before, and at [British Airways] I loved a lot of my top managers, but I think some managers in big companies… every promotion you get, you lose a little bit of compassion for the people below you. I just think sometimes you need protecting, because at the end of the day, their thing is making money – lots of them don't really care about people. I did a video about unions for social media, and then I spoke at a TUC union rally as well. 

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I do think there needs to be a creators' union, because a lot of us make a living off of social media. People are very snobby about influencing, but then in the next breath they're tagging where their outfits are from in the hopes of getting reposted on their accounts. I just think that it needs to be fairer with the actual social media networks, because on Instagram, as soon as you hashtag ad, the algorithm shows it to a lot less people. I wouldn't mind paying a monthly or yearly fee to use Instagram if we got a fair algorithm. There should be standardised pay scales, and fairer treatment from the networks themselves. 

I did an [Instagram] story the other day about the fact that I'm absolutely gutted for everyone in the theatre. Everyone was like, “Hey, we're in a pandemic, you need to stop crying about theatres!” I'm not talking about [theatre producer] Cameron Mackintosh, who's worth £1.4 billion. I'm talking about people who are stage managers, who couldn't be furloughed because technically they're self employed. 

If you've got a year contract, where you earn two grand a week, you live to that. And then if that goes overnight, you've still got the lease on your flat for a year. And the politicians won't answer questions – that does my head in! I don't understand how they get away with it. If I went to a meeting at work and they were like, “Why haven't you done this?” and I said, “I've done this other thing, though,” they'd be like, “No, that's not what I'm asking.”

When I spoke online about leafleting for the Labour Party, a couple of people messaged me, saying, “Why are you talking about politics online? I've unfollowed you,” et cetera. So I did a couple of stories, and I said: “What kind of influencers do you want to follow?” Do you want to follow people who are like, “This is the new bag that I bought; these are the new shoes that I bought,” or do you want people that are like, “Right, I'm working at the food bank today, this is how you can donate; you should really try out volunteering. It's really fun.”

My favourite time of the week is when I volunteer at my local food bank. All of the other volunteers are retired, or they lost their jobs during the pandemic. I'm the youngest by about 30 years. I've worked there for six months now, so when someone new comes on… there was a lady the other day, in her sixties. We were in the packing room and someone said, “Has work been busy this week, Amz?” And I was like, “Yeah, I did a 45 minute live red carpet.” And this lady said, “That sounds like a very exciting job, what is it you do?” I'm like, “Erm... have you heard of Love Island?”

I say I like to use my platform for good and evil. So I can raise awareness about the charities that I support, and I can try to help people by talking about my egg freezing stuff. But also, I get to, like, go backstage at my favourite musicals, and there's no restraining order! I just want to keep doing what I'm doing, really. I just want to keep supporting people that need it. 

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