Thursday 17 October 2019

Love Island: Is it possible to make a million in a year after a reality TV show?

The answer is yes and Sheena McGinley shows how to do it…

Jack Fincham and Dani Dyer were crowned winners in 2018. They have since split up (Ian West/PA)
Jack Fincham and Dani Dyer were crowned winners in 2018. They have since split up (Ian West/PA)

Sheena McGinley

It may surprise you to hear that this year’s Love Island contestants are already earning from the show. They are paid €280 a week to cover rent, bills and other costs they’d generally face back home.

Considering most of the male contestants still live with their mammies, that’s quite a bit of pocket money they’re earning while sunning themselves.

And while it’s unlikely the island’s newcomer, Irish lass Maura Higgins, will win the show, it doesn’t mean she can’t earn over six figures.

We look at who’s become a millionaire off the back of Love Island, and how you go about it.


It all boils down to social media reach. Maura already has in the region of 320,000 followers on Instagram — largely due to the proliferation of various strappy numbers (both under and outerwear).

maura speaks.jpg
Maura Higgins on Love Island. PIC: ITV

Rich Leigh, head of Radioactive PR, says the Longford lassie could earn tens of thousands for each post made via her social media platforms.

He said: “Maura could stand to make seven figures once out. It’s not guaranteed by any stretch, but it’s a path that’s been trodden before and speaks to marketing’s desire to work with topical talent.”

For “topical”, think ‘transient’. Contestants on average have approximately six months post-show to line their pockets.

Let’s look at past contestants who have cashed in.


Alex & Olivia

Olivia Buckland and Alex Bowen (PA)

Confirming that true love does indeed conquer all, the 2016 runners-up have banked close to €5m. As well as getting paid for social media posts, the couple managed to land lucrative clothing deals, alongside their own reality TV show on TLC. And their wedding last year resulted in a rumoured €28k pay deal.

Dani Dyer

‘Care for each other’: Reality TV contestant Dani Dyer. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Last year’s winner kicked off with the £50k prize money she split with then love of her life Jack Fincham. Since then, the 23-year-old has been inundated with offers including book, clothing, confectionery and cosmetic deals, earning her close to €2m.

Amber Davies 

Love Island winner Amber Davies has come up with a list of rules about getting intimate (Matt Crossick/PA)

Joint 2017 winner alongside Kem Cetinay, Amber has amassed €1.8m thanks to a number of ventures. Kicking off with her £25k prize money, she’s also landed a role on West End musical 9 to 5 (coming to Bord Gais Energy Theatre in November), as well as clothing deals. Plus, she’s all over the Insta game, garnering around €11k per post.

Kem Cetinay

Kem Cetinay (ITV/PA)

Things between Kem and Amber may not have lasted long after the 2017 final, but Kem wasn’t one to rest on his laurels. He’s made himself close to €1.7m. In addition to €9k per Insta post and the usual clothing deals, Kem also bagged himself a gig on ITV’s Dancing On Ice as a roving reporter after his own stint on the ice the previous year. He also bagged a record deal. Speaking of which...

Chris Hughes

Chris Hughes

Kem’s real partner in crime; the duo landed a record and TV show deal off the back of their Love Island bromance. In his spare time, Chris has been known to write books, present horse-racing shows, lend his face to innumerable brands such as McDonald’s and Carphone Warehouse, and romance the hell out of Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson. All this has led to a whopping €1.6m.

Others breaking into the millionaires’ club include 2016 contestant Kady McDermott (€1.4m); 2017’s Gabby Allen (€1.4m), Jonny Mitchell (€1.4m) and Olivia Atwood (€1.3m); and 2018’s Megan Barton Hanson (€1.2m) and winner Jack Fincham (€1.1m).


So, what do all of the above have in common, you know, apart from no discernible talents apart from a willingness to put themselves out there — on many levels? They got themselves an agent, happy to stump up the 10-15pc.

If you’re earning mostly via Social Media (see panel), that’s something you could manage solo, but there are so many more ways to rake in cash.

Club Appearances

Personal appearances usually cost €5k, so if your agent gets you a couple of those a week while you’re still relevant, that’s what they call ‘gravy’ baby!


The most common and most lucrative deal an ex-Islander can get is becoming a brand ambassador. For example, Kem is Primark’s first male ambassador, while Dani has launched her own brand of eyelashes under SOSU. Usually, a big brand affiliation is worth €25k-€55k.

Further Reality TV

Celebrity Big Brother is no more, but there are plenty of other avenues. Eyal Booker starred on Celebs on the Ranch and Celebs go Dating in the last year. Kem and Wes went on Dancing on Ice.

Book Deals

Those who’ve been handed book deals — and rumoured pay-cheques in the region of €50k — include usual suspects Dani Dyer (What Would Dani Do?) and Chris Hughes (Are You Bantering Me?), as well as Marcel Somerville (Dr Marcel’s Little Book Of Big Love).

TV Slots

While they don’t result in huge money (although, I wouldn’t sniff at €1,500 a pop) a regular slot on mainstream TV does garner quite a bit of kudos. Kem currently is a This Morning showbiz reporter.


Do you have no distinguishable talent, yet want to make it big? Here is how YOU can make it happen *jazz hands*.

Alongside having obvious qualities such as ‘likeability’, here are a few tips:

• Apply: get your application in: generally, applications for Love Island open from December via the ITV website.

• Filtering: strike a fine balance between being open, yet not saying absolutely everything that comes into your head.

• Adaptability: you need to be easy-going and available at the drop of a hat.

• On-line presence: if you haven’t got over 100k followers, do you — like — even exist?!

• Behaviour: don’t kick anyone in the nethers (here’s looking at you, Sherif). And don’t act like a sex pest. Brands may not be impressed by how Maura has conducted herself. Yet PR types reckoned Megan wouldn’t land many deals given how she was viewed at the beginning of the 2018 series, and she’s become one of the highest earners of last year. They don’t say ‘sex sells’ for nothing.

The top Insta earners of Love Island 2018

Averaging out at the lower end of the scale at approximately €5,600 per post on Instagram, there are many ways to earn a wedge via paid sponsorships and ads. The more reach you have in the ‘followers’ department, the more money you’re likely to receive.

To put this into context, below are the top five Insta earners from 2018’s run of the show.

Dani Dyer (3.6 million followers)

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Ocean ♥️ (outfit tagged)

A post shared by ♡ Dani Dyer ♡ (@danidyerxx) on

Daughter of Danny, Dani was hot property even before she entered the Villa last year. Given how she conducted herself throughout, sponsors are falling over themselves to be associated with her. As a result, she commands a purported €17,350 per Insta post alone.

Jack Fincham (2.4 million followers)

There’s no denying it, had the stationery salesmen not gelled himself to now ex-girlfriend Dani from the offset, it’s unlikely he would be earning approximately €11,560 per post.

Megan Barton Hanson (1.8 million followers)

She may have had a rocky start to the series, becoming one of the more vilified contestants the show has had, but the Essex babe has worked social media

to her advantage, earning an estimated €7,800 per post.

Wes Nelson (1.6 million followers)

He’s broken hearts left, right and centre, but that hasn’t put sponsors off backing him. His 1.6 million followers translate to roughly €7,620 a post.

Laura Anderson/Georgia Steel (1.5 million followers)

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🤖 @missyempire

A post shared by LAURA ANDERSON (@lauraanderson1x) on


Both rumoured to be in a couple of convenience (Georgia and Sam, Laura and Paul), they reportedly earn in the region of €7,230 per post.

Completing the top ten Insta earners from last year’s show we have Josh Denzel, Dr Alex and Jack Fowler, all with 1.3million followers (earning in the region of €6,300 per paid post), while Kaz Crossley with her 1.2million followers, garners €5,800 per post.

Read more: Love Island: Maura's flirtation with fame won't last but it's worth €1m - PR expert

Love Island receives almost 800 complaints, Women's Aid praises viewers for being 'vocal'

Aoife Kelly: Love Island is starting to make for uncomfortable viewing 


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