Love Island 2022 star Jacques O’Neill is on track to earn a ‘small fortune’ and be one of the most popular contestants from this year’s series, despite tearfully quitting early – and he’s already doing better than bombshell Adam Collard.
Rugby pro Jacques, who was coupled up with paramedic Paige Thorne, admitted he couldn’t ‘carry on like this’ and said he didn’t feel like he was being himself as he announced his departure in scenes which aired on July 12.
The 23-year-old exited after struggling with his mental health and ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] and following a row with returning Islander Adam as he eyed up Paige for himself.
Adam and Paige might now be coupled up – and loved up – with Jacques recently deleting all traces of his former partner from Instagram as she moved on, but the athlete still has everything to play for in his post-villa career as his popularity grows.
Jacques is currently projected to earn up to an eye-watering £69,000 per sponsored post on Instagram, according to digital agency 10 Yetis, with the star recently surpassing 1,000,000 followers on Instagram, just behind Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu.
Noting that’s he picked up 590,000 followers since his dramatic exit, CEO and co-founder Andy Barr added: ‘Although returning Islander Adam Collard stole Jacques’ girl, Jacques is doing better on the outside already, with his following increasing faster than Adam’s did in the space of four years.
‘He could make a small fortune, just from one of his social platforms.’
Lily Freeman, PR expert and account director at W Communications expects Jacques to currently be overwhelmed by sponsorship and job opportunities but urges the star to stick to his ‘niche’ to capitalise on his popularity.
‘Jacques has a really great opportunity coming out of the villa to forge himself a genuine niche by working with brands that align with existing passion points and personal experiences. He should really steer away from your classic teeth whitening or fast fashion brand deals.
‘Whilst these offers are obviously going to be good for Jacques financially, if he starts working with loads of random brands it’s going to put brands off doing bigger, more authentic, partnerships with him.’
Name-checking past show success stories, she continued: ‘I can really see Jacques following in the footsteps of people like Chris Hughes and Dr Alex, who have made a name for themselves by talking openly about their own mental health struggles, working with brands like Movember and CALM.’
If other Islanders are listening in too, in the hopes of capitalising on their brands in a genuine way, Lily has some other advice for strengths to play.
‘Luca’s background as a fish monger means he could do some really funny partnerships with the likes of Fish Flops or even a Sarson’s Vinegar, and Davide could even be the next Gino D’Acampo on breakfast TV.’
Following the news that Jacques has signed with ex-Islander Scott Thomas’ agency The Social PR, Andy predicted strategy on their part to shape an engaged following – but echoed Lily’s note of caution.
‘The strategy put in place by his new management will be to build his brand and following as quickly as possible so that he has a solid base on which to hang commercial deals. That being said, he needs the audience to be engaged otherwise brands will walk away,’ he pointed out.
According to The Sun, Jacques is already being wooed by the likes of fashion brands, TV producers and big sports broadcasters – and sport is something Lily definitely thinks he should keep in the mix.
‘Jacques has a background in sport from his rugby career, so being able to talk about mental health within the sporting world is a really important and impactful message that he could lead with and become known for pioneering,’ she suggested.
An insider seemed to confirm that this is one of Jacques’ hopes, telling the publication: ‘All of this could add up to him becoming a millionaire in the near future, but Jacques is most passionate about becoming an ambassador of ADHD and Mental Health.
‘It’s issues like these that are close to his heart and he wants to help youngsters dealing with the same struggles.’
Scott, who finished third with Kady McDermott on series two of Love Island, revealed he had been keen to land the 23-year-old as he ‘really respected some of the courageous decisions he made to protect his own mental health’.
‘His honesty and vulnerability was admirable,’ he commented.
‘I’m personally really excited to help guide Jacques through his journey after being through the whole process myself and learning so much along the way.’
Love Island continues tonight at 9pm on ITV2.