Only one thing is certain when you become a Love Island contestant, you’re going to have to leave the villa where the show is filmed at some point!
The final eight contestants attend a glitzy final before leaving the programme behind, but all the other islanders depart via dramatic recouplings or public vote offs.
Former Love Island contestant Tyne-Lexy Clarson, now 25, explains exactly what happens when your time is up on the ITV show…
Although the scenes we see play out on TV may look tense and like anything could happen in the moment, Tyne-Lexy claims that islanders usually have a strong idea how things are going to play out.
“In the villa everyone was coupled up apart from me and Camilla [Thurlow] on the day of my departure. It was obvious Jonny [Mitchell] would pick Camilla as she’d been in there longer and had stronger friendships. I was actually asking to leave all week because the show wasn’t really for me.” She continues: “The producers asked me to wait so it didn’t ruin the dynamic of the show.”
“I think it’s often the case that you can work out who’s going and then it’s dramatised for the show. I knew it was my last day and I was just chilling. The producers ask you to chat to people to convince them to let you stay but my heart wasn’t in it.”
“I got around thirty minutes to pack everything and say my goodbyes. I was a bombshell so not all the girls warmed to me, and they never gave me any wardrobe space so I’d been living out my suitcases anyway so it didn’t take long.”
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She adds: “I entered with Gabby [Allen] and we were family friends before the show, so I said my most emotional goodbye to her but I was just going as quickly as possible as I was ready to leave. I went into the diary room for the final time to answer some questions, and then wheeled my suitcases out the front door and waved goodbye. I was met with a cameraman, who asked me to say my final words.”
“Cameras are then switched off and I was reunited with my chaperone, who’d looked after me before I went into the villa. We got in a car and had a general gossip in the back seat, but she wouldn’t tell me about how many Instagram followers I had. She did tell me I’d been well received though,” adds Tyne-Lexy.
“The car took us to an ITV trailer park and I was introduced to a therapist. We had a 20-minute chat where she asked how I was and explained that my life may be a little different from now on. I’m sure it would have been longer if I needed it, but I felt okay at that point. After that I went to a hotel. It was the early hours of the morning so I went straight to sleep before an early wake-up call.”
“My dumping wasn’t on TV until the next day but they wanted to fly me back to the UK to do Love Island: Aftersun. It was a very early flight from Palma airport accompanied by my chaperone again. I had to keep my identity secret in order to not spoil the outcome of the show so I wore a cap and sunglasses. I was told not to speak, as people may recognise my voice.”
Unfortunately, Tyne-Lexy was recognised and it led to a less-than-pleasant experience.
“A dad was there with his two daughters and he started shouting, ‘You’ve got too many stretch marks and that’s why you’ve been dumped’. I was hyperventilating – I couldn’t stop crying. I was only 19 and thought all the viewers must have seen me as the fat one. I was only a size 10 but the other girls were a 6 or 8.
“My chaperone told me not to be silly. All I wanted was my phone back so I could speak to my mum. I wasn’t offered the therapist again, but the Duty of Care is much better for the islanders now.”
The secret’s out
“Straight after filming Aftersun I was sent to a London hotel and finally given my phone back. As soon as I switched it on it was flashing with hundreds of notifications including WhatsApp messages from friends who I didn’t tell I was going on the show, and nearly half a million new Instagram followers. It was unusable for about ten minutes as it was going so crazy,” explains Tyne-Lexy.
“As soon as I could I rang my mum. I caught her up on everything I could remember from the show because obviously she didn’t see it all. What’s shown on TV is only an hour of the 24-hour day. I then sat on my phone for hours looking at everything including all the stories about me.”
Highs and lows
“The first weeks were a complete whirlwind filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows. I only knew I was going on the show a couple of days before my entrance so I didn’t have an agency set up or anything. I was given a list of agencies by ITV on my departure but I just handled it myself. I didn’t want to join a reality agency, because acting was my passion. I didn’t even know how much to charge for an Instagram ad and I didn’t know who to ask!
“I moved back to my parents’ house, where I was before the show. Parcels were constantly showing up at my door filled with free stuff – I got so many clothes that I was on first name basis with the delivery people.
“I was being invited to lots of events too, and I was using the money I earned from Instagram to travel to London and attend them. Now I’m much more selective as I don’t want to be the person known for turning up to the opening of an envelope!
“I went back to university that first week with the intention of restarting my acting studies. When I got there nobody would talk to me, or even look at me in the corridors. They were upset that I’d done the show, and I was told I was suspended for a year. They said it was because I’d missed five days of classes and they couldn’t trust me even though I was really ahead with my studies. I think that people were resentful that I’d been given the opportunity to appear on TV.
“I used my year off to take all the opportunities. I had some mad experiences like being flown to Turkey to stay at a 5* hotel just to take a few pictures. I was being offered so many freebies like surgery and fillers. I’m so glad I stayed at home with my parents who kept me grounded and reminded me I didn’t need those things. I also had to deal with the newfound fame and the very personal trolling about my body.
“I’m glad I did the show but you do have to be a strong person to deal with it all!”
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