Hugo Hammond has been named in the Love Island 2021 line-up (Picture: ITV)
The 24-year-old, who was born with clubfoot, made Love Island history when he joined the cast of the ITV2 dating show, which is kicking off on Monday.
However, chatting to press including Metro.co.uk ahead of the launch, the PE teacher insisted this doesn’t define him as a person.
‘I was born with clubfoot. I was born basically with my legs twisted round and backwards. My hips were in and my leg bones were twisted and my feet were backwards,’ he said.
‘I had around 20 correction operations before the age of eight, so that was pretty heavy, pretty hardcore.
‘It doesn’t really affect me too much, I’m very lucky. [If] I’m on my feet all day doing whatever I’ll want to sit down in the evening but I’m pretty sure that’s the same for everyone, obviously I can’t compare it.’
Hugo called his walk ‘natural swagger’ (Picture: ITV)
Hugo also revealed that people will notice a difference in the way he walks in the villa – but he sees this as a ‘natural swagger’.
Which is fair enough.
‘People will probably notice in the villa, I’ve got slightly short Achilles tendons on my heel so I walk slightly on my tip toes,’ he continued. ‘I look at it as natural swagger but some people look at it as a slightly different walk.
‘Not too many people notice when I’m in shoes, it’s usually when I don’t have shoes on.
Love Island is kicking off on Monday (Picture: ITV)
‘It doesn’t really affect me too much. I wouldn’t change it for the world because it’s part of who I am and I’ve had some great experiences.’
While Hugo is the first contestant to have a disability, he also vowed that he doesn’t want this to define him – stating that this isn’t the reason bosses added him to the cast.
‘I am a person with a disability, I’m not a disabled person,’ he said. ‘I’m on this show because they liked my personality and they liked what I could bring to the house, so I definitely don’t want it to define me.
‘But I am also aware of the platform it brings and if I can have a positive impact on other people with disabilities or young people with disabilities looking to make it mainstream then that would be absolutely fantastic.
‘Hopefully, I can bear the torch well for everyone.’
Love Island starts on June 28, at 9pm, on ITV2.