It’s safe to say the Islanders are settled in now, as relationships are ‘formed’ and we have mad an assumption on what each contestant is all about – so it’s time for part 2 of BBD’s The Psychology of Love Island series. I’ve spent some time recently reading up on some past contestant’s stories as I have taken a step back and realised how toxic reality TV truly can be. Those brave enough, have shared their story about their experiences on Love Island and have shed some light the less glamorous parts of the show.
You might know Savanna from last year’s Casa Amor episodes, on Love Island 2018 – or you might not, she wasn’t in for too long. Savanna has recently shared her experience via Youtube and shed some exposure on just how much the contestants’ lives can change at the drop of a hat. She shared how she waited for 3 weeks in the dark from producers before being dropped into the villa immediately to make her mark, and it got me thinking. Savanna has made a few videos about Love Island now, and I feel she is very real about her experiences and has made many people aware of how damaging such an environment can be – although, she has definitely handled it in a strong manner.
I’ll give you a breakdown on the Love Island recruitment stages. Each contestant will be contacted by a Love Island scout or apply themselves. If good looking and confident enough, they will attend a group interview with other stunning and confident people – could you think of anything more terrifying? If you stand out during this interview, you will be called back for a 1-on-1 interview with the Love Island producers, to dig a little deeper into what you’re about and see if you will make good TV.
If you pass both stages, which is pretty competitive judging by how many people apply, you will then go through the necessary ‘checks’. Contestants meet with a Psychologist to test whether they are mentally fit enough to be thrown in at the deep end on live TV – in my opinion, these tests are to serve the purpose of covering the producer’s backs and can be easily passed if you say the right things. If you’re deemed okay enough to enter the villa, you are then flown out to a hotel nearby the villa to await your entrance.
Each contestant is not allowed a phone, internet access or TV before they enter the villa – sometimes they can’t even leave their rooms. They are stripped of all contact with the world in preparation for the show. Some contestants, like Savanna, await 3 or more weeks before they enter. During this time they can’t really do anything as they are on standby to enter Love Island, waiting for the call to do in. Contestants don’t seem to be informed very well along the way, and are literally given little notice to prepare. Then, they are thrown into the villa and told to graft.
I feel like the whole process of reality TV is very forced and treats the reality TV stars like puppets. I will talk about this in another blog because I have (a lot) to say on this matter. But what really strikes me about Love Island is just how damaging this entire process is.
When contestants enter the Love Island villa, this is not just a sunny holiday like we all assume. Every contestant has completely disregarded themselves from reality – no contact, social media, and likely no job to go back to. Distancing yourself from reality completely like this can be seriously dangerous for your mental health. It must be difficult to stay grounded and frankly, I applaud ow each contestant handles this.
What scares me, is what happens when they leave. Contestants who have spent a long time in the Love Island villa will have gotten quite used to this unrealistic make-believe world in the villa – until they come crashing down to reality when the show ends. Every previous contestant has stated how ‘nothing can prepare you’ for this, and I think this may be an understatement.
You can’t just leave reality, and expect to return smoothly. Think of all the responsibilities you have in a day – maybe a job, family, finances, whatever else. Then think about just abandoning this for weeks, and months at one time. It is unrealistic and can be catastrophic.
Love Island is seen as a sure-thing to become a millionaire – whilst some may come out very wealthy and successful, others may not. The contestants who leave first, or the ones who are never actually voted in by the public after being flown out, these contestants have left their lives behind in hope for stardom, and when it doesn’t work out, this can leave their lives pretty messy.
Reality TV stars risk getting caught up in temporary fame and money, without realising that this may not last. Sarah Goodhart from Geordie Shore points this out really well in her Youtube videos, after she was dropped from MTV’s hit reality TV show. She was known as a reality TV star but had no work, after the TV stardom didn’t go to plan. Callum, who previously left Love Island 2019 after a few days – what is he going to do now?
It is so easy to dream about going into the villa and having this long ‘holiday’ without knowing what really goes on, which may result in these previous devastating suicides. Maybe it isn’t the social media hate, maybe it’s the drastic life change and the brutal reality of it all. Maybe it doesn’t work out as planned for everybody.