Former Love Island star Rachel Finni is calling for this year’s contestants to show appreciation for Black men and women ahead of Monday’s grand debut.
ITV2’s annual dating series came under fire last year when Kaz Kamwi became at least the fourth Black woman who wasn’t picked until last in the first coupling.
Rachel – who entered the villa as the first Black bombshell – was made to choose between Brad McClelland and Chuggs Wallis to couple up with. She ended up picking Brad but, despite him initially claiming she was his ‘type’, immediately told her he wasn’t interested and went on to find a connection with Lucinda Strafford.
Following her exit from the show, the 29-year-old reality star has been outspoken over the show’s lack of diversity, and viewers have also urged bosses to ensure women of colour are not doomed to fail.
While devoted fans are counting down the hours until tonight’s episode, Rachel revealed to Metro.co.uk that she hopes there will be a change in this year’s narrative.
‘Every single Black girl and to an extent Black guy has had some kind of negative storyline attached to their name including the mixed-race guys,’ she said.
‘We are always going to be the villains no matter what.
‘I want to see genuine diversity, I want to see people embrace Black women and men. I want to see Black women being complimented.’
Love Island’s 2022 line-up – which was revealed on Monday May 30 – features the programme’s first ever deaf contestant, along with four people from minorities, including hotel waitress Indiyah Polack, 23, and microbiologist Dami Hope, 26.
And Rachel believes it’s time for Black women especially to be showered with admiration.
‘I want to see Black women being praised for their beauty this time round,’ she added.
‘I don’t want to hear, “ahh you’re sassy, ahh you’re energy.” I want to hear, “aww you’re beautiful, your hair, your eyes, your lips. Everything about you is beautiful.”‘
Reflecting on past experiences, she continued: ‘That’s the problem, don’t compliment someone you’re not attracted to on their personality. Just say you’re not attracted to them.
‘Don’t try and pull the wool over their eyes, you’re not attracted so don’t try and force the effort.’
In what could be the biggest shake-up to date, this year’s contestants will wear second-hand clothes on the series in an effort to become ‘more eco-friendly’, with eBay being announced as the ITV programme’s first ever ‘Pre-Loved Fashion Partner’.
Frontwoman Laura Whitmore is set to return as host, with her husband Iain Stirling reprising his role once again as the wisecracking, off-screen commentator.
Love Island returns tonight at 9pm on ITV2.