Francesca and Georgia competed on the show in 2019 and 2017 respectively (Picture: ITV)
Love Island is back in our lives. There’s a major international football tournament on the go. Our hot girl summer is about to begin, and it’s all feeling a bit 2018 in the best way possible.
In case you’ve been living under a rock and you’ve missed the news, the 2021 series of Love Island is set to begin on ITV2 tonight and we’ve never been more ready to get grafting and bring a little sun back into our lives.
There are 11 singletons headed into the villa, and show bosses have made an effort to make sure the 2021 line-up covers a broad spectrum, including the show’s first disabled contestant.
Laura Whitmore will be returning to present the series while her husband Iain Stirling will be narrating all the antics.
Before the new series gets underway, we really wanted to find out what it’s actually like to be a contestant on the villa, knowing millions are watching your every move back home.
So, we decided to crack on and speak to former stars Georgia Harrison and Francesca Allen about their experiences on the show to find out.
The application process can happen any time – even well after the series has started
Francesca entered the villa as a bombshell arrival (Picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)
ITV recently confirmed that applications are still open for bombshell contestants – and Francesca revealed that she was signed up weeks after the 2019 series had begun.
‘The show was actually already on when they called me and said, “Are you still interested? Would you want to go?” And they called me in for an interview,’ she said.
‘I had to sit for a good solid two days to catch up and watch every single episode to see what had happened already on the series.’
Take it from Francesca – If you’re still thinking of getting involved this year, it’s not too late.
There’s a lot of downtime before contestants enter the villa – and they’re with a chaperone the whole time
Georgia partnered up with Sam Gowland on the 2017 series (Picture: ITV/REX)
The contestants on the 2021 series will have had plenty of self-isolating to endure due to Covid protocols before things begin on Monday, but it sounds like stars have always had a lot of downtime to get through before the series starts.
Francesca revealed: ‘Before you go in, they take everything off you – including your phone. It’s a bit strange and there’s a lot of just hanging around. I was quite lucky that I wasn’t in a hotel. I was in a villa in the middle of nowhere and it was just me and this total stranger.
‘She was really lovely and I just spent my whole days with her. I was just running and skipping and training all the time. I was exercising a lot. I didn’t really know what else to do to pass my time.’
You forget that the cameras are rolling very quickly
As Georgia explains, contestants quickly forget that they’re on a hit TV show and people learn to act naturally very quickly.
‘You couldn’t logically monitor the way you were acting for that long,’ she said. ‘I think that’s the beauty of the show.
‘They really get the nice natural moments of people that usually you wouldn’t catch if they just filmed two or three hours a day. It’s hard to be natural when you’re thinking about filmed. You really do just live as you are.’
Forget going into the villa with a gameplan – it just won’t work
The stars of 2021 are preparing to enter the villa (Picture: ITV)
Forget going in with grand ambitions and schemes. According to Georgia, being natural is key.
‘I think you can always have intentions. But I think anyone that has too much of a game plan, it always becomes more of a try-hard energy rather than natural.
‘I always tend to think that if you go in with a strong game plan, it’s never gonna end well for you because it’s not a positive energy.’
No-one inside the villa ever knows what the actual time is
Laura Whitmore is back to host the new series (Picture: ITV)
Phones and even watches are taken off contestants when they arrive, which means that none of the islanders ever know what the actual time is.
‘One thing that always shocks people is that we never knew the time,’ Georgia said. ‘We all had phones with fake times and we’re never allowed to know the real time. We always had to judge it by the sun or what the light looked like. It’s so weird.’
How do most contestants fill their days? Mostly sleeping, it turns out
Georgia came sixth in the 2017 series (Picture: ITV)
When there are no challenges or dates to go on, it turns out most contestants enjoy napping for a few hours in the afternoon between filming duties.
‘A lot of people would nap in the daytime,’ Georgia revealed. ‘Sometimes they’d just sleep.’
Turns out most of the time life in the villa isn’t as eventful as the show would have us believe.
The food situation is stranger than we’d ever have thought
The islanders will soon be cooling themselves down in the pool (Picture: ITV)
Ever wondered why we never really see the islanders eating?
‘You never see us eat lunch or dinner,’ Georgia said. ‘People ask “Why do we never see you eat?” It’s because during lunch or dinner, that’s when they change the batteries in your microphones.’
‘You sit next to a staff member and you’re not allowed to talk about anything relevant. You just have lunch. That’s why you never see us eat.’
The toughest thing about Love Island is not being able to go to their friends and family for support
Love Island will be back on Monday (Picture: ITV)
‘You’re on your own basically, and all your choices are your own,’ Francesca said, speaking about some of the harder experiences of being on the show. ‘You would normally go to your friend or your parents for advice, and you just haven’t got that.’
‘I think the decision making was probably the hardest thing for me. It hard how quickly you have to act. I felt quite closed off to everyone because I think I just got a bit nervous and went a bit inside myself.’
There’s a ‘voice of god’ that comes through hidden speakers in the villa
Georgia appearing on the Love Island: What Happened Next (Picture: ITV)
‘There’s a voice that comes through the ceiling,’ Georgia said, discussing day to day life in the villa.
‘Sometimes we called it the ‘Voice of God’. It basically just told us basic things like “be downstairs in 30 minutes.”’
You’re given a free bar tab – but only given a few drinks per night
The new stars won’t be able to drink too much in the villa (Picture: ITV)
The islanders are given tokens for a couple of drinks a night from the villa bar, and producers are keen to make sure that they don’t get too boozy during their stay.
Georgia, for one, wishes they’d been a bit more generous while dishing out the tokens.
‘I thought they could have upped the bar tab,’ she joked. ‘On Love Island you never get more than one – or two at the most – alcoholic alcoholic beverages per evening. On some nights you won’t be allowed any.’
Georgia has a theory about why the drinks were so limited.
‘I think this is because they know they are the most watched show in the whole of the UK,’ she said. ‘They’re on every single night, and I think they realise that there’s so much that can happen if they give too many people drinks. It’s such an intense show anyway, I think they don’t want people to make any mistakes. It’s actually like rehab.’
There are rules about what you can and can’t wear – and you might just end up borrowing someone else’s clothes
Francesca had to change some of her wardrobe choices (Credits: ITV)
There was only moment that Francesca was disappointed about, and it came after producers told she couldn’t wear a bikini because the pattern played havoc with the camera.
‘It was one of my favorite bikinis and the stripes are too close together,’ Francesca explained. ‘I couldn’t wear it because I was making the camera go weird.’
As a result, she was forced to change her outfit at the last moment – not ideal, especially when you’re about to go on a date with everyone’s favourite dreamboat Ovie Soko.
‘Oh god. My first day I went on a date with Ovie… I had to borrow an outfit from one of the girls. I remember the trousers being too short in the legs for me and I was really upset.’
It’s called Love Island, but you might just end up making friends for life instead
The show has been on our screens since back in 2015 (Picture: Raquel Fernandes/ITV)
‘I’ve met some amazing people and I feel like, through the show, I’ve got my true true friends now,’ Francesca said.
‘I have things in common with people that I probably would have never walked up to on the street and be like, “Hey, let’s be friends.” They’ve ended up being my really good friends. Some of the boys [I met in the villa] only live around the corner from me now. If they hadn’t gone on that show, they would have never lived together.’
There’s a completely separate villa to help people re-adjust to the outside world
Islanders will soon be back inside the main villa (Picture: ITV)
To help them get re-accustomed to life on the outside, islanders are taken to a different villa and given their phones back. It’s a space designed to ease them back into normal routines after their intense experience on the show.
‘There’s actually another village that people don’t know about,’ Georgia said. ‘It’s called the dumping villa. When you come out, they take you back there and you stay there for a night or two.’
Contestants are well looked after by bosses after the show ends
The new stars will be subject to duty of care protocols (Picture: ITV)
The show recently confirmed its duty of care protocols for the upcoming series, including training on the impacts of social media and ‘comprehensive psychological support’.
In the past few years, concerns have been raised over the mental wellbeing of the islanders, who are frequently subject to trolling and criticism after leaving the island.
In Georgia and Francesca’s experience, though, the show has always been supportive.
‘They make sure that you’re in a good mental state, and then someone will come in, and they will tell you if you’ve had any scandals, or anything significant come out in the press, or any serious trolling. They speak to you and see how you feel,’ Georgia said.
The reality star also explained that producers called her following the deaths of Mike Thalassitis and Caroline Flack in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
‘You always have an open door. If you need to speak to a psychiatrist within ITV or if you ever need support, and whenever something significant happens, they will call you,’ she said.
‘So when Mike passed away, everyone who was ever on Love Island got a call. The same with Caroline, everyone got a call. There is a really good duty of care in my opinion.’
Francesca added: ‘They always call you and check in on you. They are good like that.’
‘I feel like they’re there to change people’s lives and build them for the better,’ Georgia went on to say. ‘They’re not there to cause any sort of negativity.’
Love Island kicks off on Monday at 9pm on ITV2.
Credit: Original article published here.