Wednesday 18 September 2019

Georgia Steel calls for body diversity on Love Island

The new series of the reality show begins on ITV2 at 9pm.

Former Love Islander Georgia Steel (Samsung/PA)
Former Love Islander Georgia Steel (Samsung/PA)

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Love Island alumnus Georgia Steel has called for greater diversity in the body types featured on the reality show.

The programme, which returns to ITV2 on Monday night, will feature a line-up of svelte and tanned contestants.

It comes amid increasing scrutiny on the impact reality shows have on the people taking part.

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Georgia Steel with fellow former Love Islander Wes Nelson (Samsung)

Steel, 21, told the Press Association: “I think it would be amazing for different bodies to go in there because it’s such a big show now and there are a lot of youngsters that watch it, I feel like it is something that youngsters do look up to.

“I have a lot of young girl followers that look up to me and I’m aware of that and I would never want to make them feel they had to do certain things or change how they are.

“I do think it’s important to put in different sizes and different body shapes because everyone is different and everyone is created in a different way and bigger girls who are naturally a bit bigger can’t be looking at slim girls and changing themselves to be like that, that is so unhealthy.”

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Georgia Steel (Samsung)

Love Island’s creative director Richard Cowles has recently sought to justify the lack of variety in the body shapes on the line-up by explaining that contestants need “to be attracted to one another” for the show to work.

Steel said: “People should love you for you, looks aren’t everything, they are really not.

“I’ve met some beautiful people in my time and their personalities just don’t click with mine, it’s all about personality and I think that is what creates good television as well.”

The brothers of boxer Tyson Fury and Strictly’s AJ Pritchard are among the contestants this year, alongside air steward Amy Hart and beauty therapist Amber Gill.

Steel said she believed producers chose some contestants because their profile might leave them better equipped to deal with scrutiny and pressure when they leave the show.

Love Island has been one of a number of programmes at the centre of an increasing discussion about the support given to reality TV contestants since the deaths of former participants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.

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Mike Thalassitis (Ian West/PA)

She said: “They have picked people this year who I feel like might have connections within the telly industry already.

“For me, I went in there and I was a complete nobody, I didn’t know anything about anything and I feel like that is maybe why the public related to me so much was because I was a complete normal girl, I was a student.

“I had no money, I  came from nothing, so I feel like that is why I have done well coming out, because I was relatable.

“However, when you do come out it can be very, very overwhelming if it’s nothing you know and nothing you have any links with already so I think maybe they are taking that into consideration now and thinking it’s better if we have people in there that have kind of got an inkling to what might happen, which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing.

“They are more mentally prepared. Love Island has blown up and each year it’s got bigger and bigger so I don’t know if they are taking that into consideration and thinking we don’t want it to be too overwhelming for somebody who has no idea about anything.

“Mentally I feel like you have to be very, very strong to shift your whole lifestyle into this crazy whirlwind.”

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Former Love Islanders Wes Nelson and Georgia Steel (Samsung)

Steel’s own high profile since she left the show has led to her taking part in a string of reality TV programmes.

She has also teamed up with former contestant Wes Nelson to front a competition with Samsung S10 Hot Shots, giving fans the chance to win a place for two at the live Love Island final by tagging their photos #S10HotShots and @SamsungUK before noon on July 9.

Love Island starts at 9pm on ITV2.

PA Media

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