This article is part of Live, Laugh, Love Island, a series of pieces gearing up to Love Island’s long awaited summer 2021 return.
I ended up on Love Island because I was contacted on Instagram by a cast researcher for series two. I was interested, but I wasn't sure because I'd not watched series one – so I went all the way through the process, and then literally two weeks before the villa, I dropped out. Luckily, for series three, they came back again. That time, I was like, “Right, I'm doing it.”
Every day in the villa would be very different. Sometimes I think they had us up at literally six in the morning. Normally they’d try to encourage us out of the bedroom into the garden – they hated us being inside. We’d make our own breakfast and then we’d just basically lie by the pool – which is pretty nice!
It would either be a situation where someone got a text, and they’d be going on a date, or there was a challenge, but normally by about mid-morning there’d be a text. Then you’d have lunch with the producers, off camera. If there were any problems, they would discuss them with us – if the villa was too messy, or they’d moan at us for not wearing sunscreen. It was like having a sit down dinner with your mum and dad.
Every day at about five o’clock, they would start gathering us to go upstairs and get ready. We’d basically get glammed up every night, and be like, “Oh, I bet there’s a dumping tonight,” and the producers would be like, “Stop guessing and just wait and see.” And then we’d be chilling in the garden, having drinks and small talk. Sometimes Caroline would appear, and sometimes she wouldn't.
Being in the villa, there were a lot more hours of nothing than you would see on TV. But because there’s only one hour, and so many of us, there’s so much people don’t see. Not every single thing will make the edits, and you either have to be OK with that, or you just don’t do it.
When I was in Love Island, there was a scene that went viral, when I had a blow-up and I was screaming at everyone. Obviously, that behaviour… I was really immature back then, and really hotheaded. All the other Islanders will say there was a whole day leading up to it – but you can't tell that story, because it would have been too complicated to get all those bits. So you just see the blowout. I’d say to the people watching TV when Love Island's back to just be mindful that there are other things happening that you won’t always get to see. Just take it with a pinch of salt.
People watch these shows and become so unbelievably invested, to the point where they’re messaging people abuse online. I don’t know anything you can say to someone like that, to make them understand – because that’s not a normal thought process. Obviously, I watch TV shows and think, ‘Oh my god, I hate her.’ I text my friend, ‘Oh my god, that girl, blah, blah.’ But I would never in my wildest dreams go online with that opinion. Nothing is that deep on these shows. It really isn’t. If you really don’t like it, just turn the channel.
In every show, like every movie, there has to be your hero, there has to be a villain. People do fall into roles. So, you know, we’re in on the joke. With TOWIE, I knew I was going in there to cause some trouble, and everyone knew they brought me on to cause some trouble. But then you get these viewers who are so upset by it. They need to chill out! All of us – we go home at the end of the night, we don't even think about it. It’s work!
I definitely feel like I get to portray my true self in Olivia Meets Her Match, because it’s just me and there’s no influence from anyone for me to do anything or say anything, or be anything other than myself. And that's refreshing. But there’s another pressure with it: you’ve got an hour to fill, and it’s just me. It needs to be good. But it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. The guys directly involved in my show were my producers on Love Island, so it’s like we’ve been on this journey together. It's lovely to have kept that relationship going.
My advice to this year’s contestants is quite cliché, but I would say: just enjoy it. Take it with a pinch of salt, don't go in with expectations. I think the problem with these later series is: we went in with no expectation, whereas I think these series, they go in with expectation of what it is going to be for them. You have to know it could change your life, or it might do nothing. You have to go in with a completely open mind. And if you're not comfortable with that gamble, then you shouldn't do it. Anyone who goes in there trying to play it a certain way, you eventually slip up. Just be yourself. You can't really do more than that.
I try to take in as many moments as I can, because life moves so fast. And I have to remember I’m doing things I never dreamed I would ever do. I spent a large portion of my twenties really drifting, and not knowing what the fuck I was doing and what I wanted to do with my life. So to now be doing things that I love and I never thought possible, it’s pretty crazy. Even in the last six months, I've had more of a sense of gratitude, and I’m a bit more in shock than I used to be. Because when you first come out of Love Island, everything happens so quickly. But now I think, ‘Well, look, I'm four years on now. And I'm still doing so much.’ I think I’m even more grateful for that than anything really.
You can see Olivia in action on ‘Olivia Meets Her Match’ (Wednesdays at 9PM on ITVBe and ITVHub) and ‘Celebrity Karaoke Club’ (starts Monday 5th July at 10:05pm on ITV2 and ITV Hub).