There’s few reality stars that come in all guns blazing and genuinely have the natural God-given born credentials to back up their outlandish first impressions.
It’s even rarer that one of these huge characters is genuinely adored by the public.
Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu is, however, one of those rare gems destined to be an icon, a queen of memes, and – at this point – almost certainly a Love Island winner.
Why? Well, for me, while she is undoubtedly a hurricane that destroys everything in its path, a tour de force capable of reaching immeasurable levels of chaos, and ultimately, she is built with a kindness rarely seen in Love Island or reality television at all.
Subsequently she has proven herself completely wrong after entering the villa and bluntly telling the other female islanders: ‘I’m not here to make seasonal girlfriends, I’m here to find the love of my life.’
Actually, it didn’t take long before Ekin-Su’s true colours came out and no matter how hard she tried to be the kind of Islander who keeps their eyes on the prize at the expense of others, she became the best girlfriend to all the women in the villa, even when they weren’t always the best friends to her.
Days after her arrival, she had a frosty start with Gemma Owen. Her attempts to take Michael Owen’s daughter under her wing – boasting she was the ‘little sister’ that she could ‘protect’ – didn’t land.
If there’s anyone in Love Island who didn’t need looking after it was the oracle of the villa, Gemma.
In turn, Ekin’s gesture didn’t sit well with Gemma, or the other girls who initially didn’t quite know what to make of the eccentric soap star.
I’m not entirely sure any of us did.
Her first week was divisive, to put it lightly. After coupling up with Davide Sanclimenti, when he didn’t start her day with a fresh cold coffee despite quite literally every other girl getting theirs, she was done.
Then came in Jay Younger and not only was her head turned, she was crawling on the floor with him trailing behind her for a secret snog on the terrace.
It was quite astonishing to watch – and that is not an exaggeration in the slightest.
From then on, Ekin-Su had an uphill climb on her hands. The public was largely on her side, even if Davide thought she was a ‘lirerrrrrr and an actress’, but the girls were wary.
For weeks, there was an underlying tension between Ekin-Su and the others, her dramatics prompting nothing but eye rolls and digs, quite often behind her back.
Every inch of Ekin-Su is an actress, that’s undeniable. But a liar she is not.
Granted, there have been several occasions where Ekin-Su has been the centre of all hell breaking loose (accidentally causing spats with Gemma and Luca, for example). But even when she hasn’t read the room, her mistakes have consistently been well-intentioned, albeit still total misfires.
When she had a clash with her ‘twin’ Nathalia Campos, she swiftly retreated to turning their ‘explosive row’ into a battle of the pancakes, before giving an outpouring of love when the closest thing she ever had to a rival was booted from the villa.
Because unlike the crème de la crème of reality stars who have blown up their respective shows with drama, Ekin-Su would have no idea how to be cruel, even if she wanted to be.
Her outlandish statement declaring she wasn’t going to spend any time building up friendships is actually the only lie she’s told. If anything, she’s proven time and time again she’s the best friend in Love Island.
Her advice is always sincere, heartfelt and comes with a genuine want to comfort Islanders. Reserving judgement – no matter what’s been said or done – which actually can’t be said for many other contestants this year, who have at some point let their mask slip to get catty.
For me, Love Island has always been strongest when it’s packed with girl power and genuine friendships. Especially when you have men who think testing a relationship is a) necessary and b) involves getting with other people the moment they’re under a different roof.
Ekin-Su epitomises that sisterhood with every thing she does. She’s always the first to prop her girls up no matter what, which is all a great friend should be.
If this is the Ekin-Su who has zero interest in ‘making seasonal girlfriends’ one can only imagine how spectacular a friendship with her must be outside of the villa.
Love Island continues tonight at 9pm on ITV2.Credit: Source