Love Island: Maura's flirtation with fame won't last but it's worth €1m - PR expert
One of Britain's top PR experts says Maura Higgins, the Irish girl who has been a hurricane of sexuality and chaos in this year's Love Island house, could be in line to make up to €1m once she leaves the reality TV show.
Rich Leigh, bestselling author of Myths of PR and head of Radioactive PR, says the 28-year-old Longford woman could earn tens of thousands for each post on her social media site.
"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," said Leigh.
However, he warned that Maura will need to act fast to profit from her 15 minutes of fame. "The value of a contestant to brands - and that's where most of the money is - is rarely long-lasting, for obvious reasons," he said. "Very few reality stars shine for longer than a year. I think I could probably count on both hands reality contestants whose profile has stood the test of time."
But he said until the next new group of contestants were announced "companies want the captive audiences contestants can build" and "they're willing to pay well for it".
"There are many ways for somebody like Maura, with a couple of hundred thousand followers already, to earn very well once she leaves the show," he said. But he said modelling deals, presenting gigs and photo shoots for magazines will not be her road to fortune: "That's not really where the money is anymore." On social media, he said brands will "pay anything from the low thousands to tens of thousands for individual posts that could simply be an approved shot of the product - the earning potential here is massive". Between product lines, affiliate marketing and ambassadorial roles, Maura "could post once a month for a brand, have a relatively small percentage of followers buy [a product], and earn brilliantly". But he warned she would need to capitalise on the limited time frame: "Everybody thinks they'll last longer, but invariably, they don't."
On Maura's overtly sexual come-ons, Leigh said: "I think it's fair to say some brands will be turned off by it. It's a long-running show with recently well-publicised concerns around contestant suicides and on which people have sex - I think brands should know what they're getting if and when they do decide to work with a past contestant."
Meanwhile, Maura's uncle Pat Higgins told the Sunday Independent that "the whole family is very, very proud of her". Speaking exclusively to this newspaper, he said: "We are all watching her, she's doing great."
He added that the family always knew Maura would go on to bigger things, saying in the years before the Virgin Media show "she spent more time in the air than on the ground".
Meanwhile the mother of the Love Island star has said: "So many people are judging her too quickly. But don't… she has a heart of gold."
Since entering Love Island, the Irish girl has caused chaos among the girls, chatting up a storm with some of the men and leaving the other girls gasping in disbelief as she flirted with their love interests.