Why do they never swim? How much do they drink? And more of your burning questions about Love Island UK, answered at last by Tara Ward.
According to Love Island UK, the journey to true love is paved with blue skies, beautiful people and a thousand pairs of budgie smugglers. Nothing makes sense about sending a bunch of shiny singletons into a luxury villa to couple up and compete for £50,000, but it’s fine. The heart wants what the heart wants, and this heart wants to watch complete strangers smash watermelons open with their butts before they sit on a garden swing and talk about their feelings for eight weeks. I can’t explain it, I can’t justify it. It is what it is.
But for a reality show where everything is filmed 24/7, Love Island UK still manages to retain an air of mystery. Where is the show filmed? How do the cast manage to look so gorgeous without leaving the villa? Do the Islanders ever eat lunch? They’re big questions, bigger than the time Jordan asked if Barcelona was in Rome. Jury’s still out, to be honest.
Love Island UK is one hot bubble of steamy emotions, but I’m about to pop it wide open as if my life depends on winning a one-on-one date with a brooding scaffolder who I only met two days ago but am 100% sure is my type on paper. Let’s pull back the neon curtain and discover the truth about life on Love Island UK, currently screening six nights a week on NEON.
Where is Love Island UK filmed, and can we stay there?
The show is currently filming in South Africa, and you too can live the villa life, as long as you’ve got a spare $10.6 million NZD. It took six weeks to transform the multi-levelled mansion into a palace fit for romance and racy games of Suck and Blow, and frankly, it’s amazing what a few neon bean bags can do to a place.
How many cameras are there?
Eighty cameras are dotted around the villa, recording every breathy conversation, sneaky pash and angry hair flick. There are even microphones in the bed headboards, so not a single whisper escapes our attention.
Do the Islanders ever leave the villa?
Yes, and no. Islanders can leave temporarily for health or family reasons, but otherwise they’re stuck in the villa for up to eight weeks. Minds were blown when 2017 winner Kem Cetinay claimed the cast used to secretly hang out at the beach every Saturday, but 2019 contestants Amy and Joanna reckon they never got a day off from lying beside the pool, sipping on their monogrammed drink bottles. Someone call the union, this is a travesty.
How do they stay so effortlessly beautiful?
The cast access beauty treatments every two weeks. “We get our nails done, lashes done, and sometimes our extensions done,” revealed 2019 Islander Yewande. Every two weeks I run a broken comb through my hair and wash my face with an old flannel, which is nearly the same.
How much partying goes on?
What do the Islanders eat?
The cast makes their own breakfast (poached eggs on heart-shaped toast pour moi, s’il vous plait) but lunches and dinners are supplied. Apparently there’s nothing romantic about watching 12 people eat chicken drumsticks, though beauty is in the eye of the drumstick beholder, if you ask me. There’s also a secret cupboard in the outdoor kitchen which staff keep stocked with snacks, coffee and breath spray. Don’t ask.
Can they use their phones to connect to the outside world?
Negative. Phones are only used for taking selfies and sending and receiving texts, which all go through the producers.
How involved are the producers?
Hold onto your Factor 50, because it seems Love Island producers have their sticky fingers over every aspect of villa life. According to former contestant Zara Holland, producers control the drama, from choosing when to wake the contestants up (bright lights and loud music) to suggesting what conversations should happen and when. Last year’s love rat Danny reckoned the producers would “help articulate yourself properly”, while 2018 winner Dani Dyer said producers would suggest the Islanders “space out” their conversations to spread the drama out.
Producers speak to the Islanders over a tannoy, calling them to the Beach Hut to check their wellbeing or film immediate reactions to big moments. Contestants even talk about being scolded by producers, like Molly Mae being told off for “bringing the mood of the whole villa down”. Seems harsh given Molly Mae’s cuddly toy elephant Elly Belly was the life and soul of the 2019 season, but it is what it is.
Why doesn’t anyone wear the same outfit twice?
Love Island collaborates with brands like Misguided and ISAWITFIRST.COM, who supply the cast with an endless wardrobe of new clothes. With millions of viewers each episode, brands benefit from viewers wanting to shop the Love Island look, and global fashion search platform Lyst recorded a huge increase in searches for thong swimwear, bicycle pants and tassel earrings during the 2018 season. It was all me, and I’m not sorry.
Why doesn’t anyone go in the swimming pool?
They do! May we present Exhibit A: salmon.
How much do Islanders make after they leave the show?
Contestants are paid a weekly allowance while they’re in the villa, speculated to be about £200-250 (approximately $400-$500 NZD). The real money comes after the show, when they secure fashion and beauty lines, personal appearances and Instagram partnerships. One agent reckons popular islanders can make up to £1 million, while solicitor Rosie made the same money in one month as she would in a year following her three weeks in the villa. It’s enough to turn your head 560 degrees.
Most importantly, where can I get one of those drink bottles?
Drink up, my pretties.
Watch Love Island UK Monday – Saturday nights on NEON.
This content was created in paid partnership with NEON. Learn more about our partnerships here.