We're back and we're ready to do it all over again! Love Island S4 ended up pretty much as predicted: Jack and Dani emerged victorious, and five months later they've got one really fucking big sofa and (only) one (!) break-up scare to show for it. Elsewhere, everyone separated except for Megan 'n' Wes and Josh 'n' Kaz, most of them have a million Instagram followers and, as a result, there's been some truly wretched #sponcon. All is as expected; the world is at peace.
However, while things might have unfolded almost exactly as you'd have thought, it’s nice to check in on our old friends, isn't it? Although the end of Love Island S4 feels as though it didn’t even happen this year, because so much has happened since (Brexit kicking off; the big cow), the Islanders are forever in our hearts.
With the Christmas special – where everyone pretends to like each other and Flack makes one controversial statement about someone having unfollowed someone else on Instagram – due to air tonight, and to express our deep love for their craft and for all that they did for us during our climate disaster-induced Summer of Love, we've qualitatively ranked them and their careers since they got out of the villa. It’s good to be back!
Since leaving the Island, the story of Dani and Jack has inevitably transmogrified into The Dyer Family Saga, in which Jack is a recurring character. After Dani announced the couple’s split on Instagram earlier this month, Danny took the liberty of clearing things up on Jonathan Ross. "John, they've had a row," he said. "They’ve had a row, she’s got a bit emotional and I think she has whacked that [message] up and immediately regretted it." Then her nan almost got deplatformed for calling The Sun’s executive editor Dan Wootton a "cunt" after he suggested their breakup was a publicity stunt on Lorraine. After catching heat, she responded thusly: "I may get thrown off Twitter but I don’t care. I am incandescent with rage [:face with symbols on mouth: emojis]."
All of which is to say: Dani Dyer is now an integral part of a family that holds more significance to the (normal, good) British public than The Royals (weird, sinister). Dani Dyer is as fiercely beloved by the public as she is by her own family. She could hit a dog with her car and we’d flood her socials with concern for her emotional wellbeing. She is the closest a Love Island contestant has ever been to the average British girl who wears Collection 1000 eyeliner and got given detention for wearing her tie short. We relate, therefore we invest.
"I'm just a normal nutty girl who can be a bit crazy and irrational, but what girl isn't!" she wrote on Instagram by way of apologising for getting pissed off at Jack and prematurely announcing their breakup to 3.4 million people. Which, despite some controversy about the implications re: the perception of female emotion, is a perfectly 22-year-old thing to say. Even at what is likely the height of her career, she remains the only Islander you could look at and go: "me". Which makes her the most on-brand celebrity for 2018.
The real winners of Love Island 2018, of course, are In the Style, the online-only fast fashion retailer that signed Dani Dyer (3.2 million IG followers) the fuck up the minute she set a mid-heeled foot in Stansted arrivals. She's since "designed" a collection with the brand (I think this means she’s looked at some designs and chosen some fabrics while having photos taken at their offices next to some cupcakes with her face on), and she's got a gym-wear collection – which I would bet my life includes at least one T-shirt with a fun but absolutely nonsensical caption about prosecco on it – dropping soon.
The story is pretty similar for the rest of them: Zara's doing "a range" with La Sula Boutique ("who?" indeed) and pretty much every other woman on the show has been signed up by Pretty Little Thing as an "ambassador", which presumably means they get photographed wearing their clothes when they go to watch boxing matches in Manchester courtesy of a finance app. As such, they have grasped the precious in their very hands – that most coveted photo caption of all: the Missguided outfit code ("top is @missguided 089765 x") and that sweet, sweet #ad hashtag. Fair fucks to them.
MEGAN AND WES
Separately, Megan and Wes are legends: she posts long inspirational photo captions about sex-positivity; he’s going on Dancing on Ice. Together, they have all the makings of an Actually Good celebrity couple: people who have something to say and have a laugh doing it, while also being devastatingly fit.
Though Dani and Jack were the stars of Love Island, their onscreen charm hasn’t translated to the contestants' primary means of communication – Instagram. While those two mostly just post dry bread Boomerangs and shite photos of their dinner (relatable, certainly – but, like, too relatable? They just seem like your cousin and her crap boyfriend?), Megan and Wes are consistently reminding you how hot and fun they are, and if we’re honest, that’s what we all want from a Love Island Instagram follow. What I absolutely do not want, Jack and Dani, is reality and poorly-lit photos of takeaways. Forza Megan and Wes.
THE WOMEN OF LOVE ISLAND AND THEIR COLLECTIVE INSTAGRAM CAREERS
Rosie made her entire annual salary as a solicitor through Instagram sponsorship within 14 days of being on the Island. This, as we all know, is the real reason for marooning yourself in one room with a rotating cast of people to compare bums for several weeks. The ambition isn’t to become a celebrity in the Cat Deeley sense of the word – though a few of them could – it's to build a comfortable life off the back of advertising hair vitamins. Some of the women have really leaned into this side of things as their feed becomes a neverending series of athleisure ads (Rosie, Hayley, Georgia), while others use Instagram in combined hustle with other ventures (Megan, Dani, Kaz). For the most part, though, the platform serves everyone equally as a place to look incredibly facetuned while wearing a cutaway dress in Tonight Josephine.
I’m not sure Jack Fincham knows how to be famous. He’s just happy to be here. Just wants to post pics of himself with his arm around various lads in various Essex hotspots, smash Nando’s and appreciate dogs. Just wants a relatively normal (albeit extremely public) life propped up on the three pillars of status: big watch, new car, high profile relationship. He’s like a reverse WAG. No chance in hell of him ever wearing the trousers in this relationship, but I honestly don’t believe he even wants to. Much respect to him.
Rosie belongs in the armpit of this list simply for being Welsh and doing William Hill sponcon for the England-Croatia game. No self-respecting Valleys girl would be caught dead posing in front of the St George’s Cross, even if it did pay for their blow-dry. I do still have a lot of love for Rosie for teaching a generation of teenage boys what gaslighting is – and also for being able to look this fit in liquid latex – but you can smell the need to be an influencer emanating off her Instagram feed.
While I appreciate the "everywoman" appeal of posing sensually behind a buffet of Echo Falls, I’m not sure how much longevity there is to be enjoyed here as a celebrity. My guess is Rosie will go the way of Holly Hagan and ride out the rest of her days wearing two-piece outfits in "Paid partnership with…" Which is fine! Simply: fine.
A few months ago, Zara McDermott – who was on Love Island for literally about a week – quit the civil service to split her time between Sheesh Chigwell and going on holiday to the Bahamas full time. As such, she was able to publicly discuss her political opinions for the first time. To nobody's surprise, she is a totally enormous Tory who thinks Amber Rudd "knows her stuff" and is "quite inspiring". She also did a BBC video with the Mayor of Sheffield where she said that austerity is "necessary". So. Yeah. That's that one.
Dr Alex – face still like the wrapping on a Quality Street fudge (despite having been back in the UK for almost half a year) – recently announced that he's made a return to Lewisham A&E. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone there at this difficult time.