Monday 21 October 2019

'I cried when the cheating stories came out' - Love Island star India Reynolds

Ahead of her trip to Dublin, 'Love Island' star India Reynolds tells Barry Egan she has never been unfaithful to boyfriend Ovie Soko, how she deals with fame and about her Irish grandfather

India Reynolds
India Reynolds
Ovie Soko and India Reynolds took third place (Yui Mok/PA)
Maura Higgins
Ovie Soko and India Reynolds, Greg O'Shea and Amber Gill, Tommy Fury and Molly-Mae Hauge, Curtis Pritchard and Maura Higgins on Love Island
Greg and Amber with fellow finalists Ovie Soko and India Reynolds (Yui Mok/PA)
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said: "Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like." Last week, reality TV star India Reynolds would have found it tricky perhaps to see life in such philosophical terms.

This was because the Fourth Estate seemed much less concerned about Brexit than the rumour that Love Island's India cheated on her boyfriend Ovie Soko with footballer Kieran Gibbs. You are reminded that she is only 28 years old - so young to have the world's media lecturing her on the state of her morality or otherwise - when you ask her about the last time she cried and she, without hesitation, answers: "I cried this week when all the stories came out."

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How does she think people see her? "I don't know. Hopefully, everyone knows that that is not true," she says referring to the allegations. "So, hopefully, everyone sees me in a good light... as, like, fun, nice, kind!"

Another glimpse inside the psyche of Ms Reynolds is that she says her favourite movie is the 2011 classic comedy, Bridesmaids. "I just think it's so funny. I love it. Have you seen it? I love when she gets drunk on the plane and goes into first class!" India says (referring to the scene where a boozed-up Annie - ­­­­­­­­­played by Kristen Wiig - tells everyone when she is sent back to coach by Steve the air steward who she keeps calling "Stove": "Catch you on the flip side, motherf***er!")

Ovie Soko and India Reynolds took third place (Yui Mok/PA)
Ovie Soko and India Reynolds took third place (Yui Mok/PA)

Could India imagine herself doing something like that? "Absolutely! Absolutely! That would be me!" she howls with laughter.

As for what is on her bedside table currently, India says she has just finished Everything I Know About Love, by Dolly Alderton. "It's really good. It was real. I really like that."

I ask India what does she know about love? "I've been single for a long time. I'm just learning now."

Which is? "Just to be nice to each other, to be considerate to each other, be kind, be calm, that sort of thing."

What is Ovie like? "Oh, he is so nice," she says. "He is calm, very chilled, everything you want in a man, really."

What do they do in their spare time? "At the moment we just stay in and get a take-away and watch TV or watch a film, because everything is a bit mad," she says seeming to be referring to the current media frenzy over her love life, "So, as soon as we have five minutes to breathe we want to chill."

Is it difficult to be in a relationship when she and Ovie can't look out the window without seeing paparazzi? "Obviously, it is not ideal. It hasn't been the fun-est week, but I think as long as you know where you stand with each other, that's the most important thing."

How would she characterise the relationship? "It's so nice. It's just very new. And you know when it is very exciting at the beginning? Hopefully, that lasts forever!"

And how does she keep that going? "Obviously, you move in together. I like it at the beginning when you can look forward to seeing each other and you can text each other throughout the day and spend a nice weekend together. Do stuff like that. We will live together one day. But not yet."

Intriguingly, when ITV asked India who she had her eye on before entering the villa on Day 43 in Love Island, she answered: "Ovie!" She and the 6ft 7in basketball player finished in third place during the final of Love Island on July 29.

The Spectator magazine's James Delingpole - somewhat unfairly, but you could see his point - described Love Island as "a mating game show, in which couples compete to shag one another in Majorca for a £50,000 prize, and, with ratings of around 1.7m, it's probably the most talked about programme on TV, which fashionable people are pretending to enjoy to show how down they are with popular culture. But I only watch it to keep Girl company and to reinforce my prejudice that we are fast approaching the end of western civilisation. Had reality TV existed in Rome in the late 4th Century, I'm sure they would have made programmes exactly like this."

Be that as it may, India Reynolds (and to a larger degree, our own Maura Higgins) became part of the pop culture of the early 21st Century. India and Maura - and other Love Island contestants Tommy Fury and Anna Vakili - are coming to Dublin this Thursday for a bling boohoo.com launch. "Maura is literally hilarious," India says when I ask her. "Do you love Maura? She is so, so funny. She just says it how it is."

Ovie Soko and India Reynolds, Greg O'Shea and Amber Gill, Tommy Fury and Molly-Mae Hauge, Curtis Pritchard and Maura Higgins on Love Island
Ovie Soko and India Reynolds, Greg O'Shea and Amber Gill, Tommy Fury and Molly-Mae Hauge, Curtis Pritchard and Maura Higgins on Love Island

What are she and Maura like when they get together? "You know what? We actually get on together really well. It is so nice getting to see her outside the [Love Island] house as we are both boohoo ambassadors."

Fronting The Metallic Edit Collection for boohoo.com, India says: "I'm so excited to be back working with my boohoo family! Such a dream come true to be a brand ambassador for boohoo after modelling for them. I can't wait to wear all the new trends! Boohoo is so nice. I'm working with people I already know, which is great. It is nice to do something a bit more creative, because I am used to doing something in the studio a lot which is fun, but it is nice to do something a bit different."

The trip to Dublin with Maura, et al will be India's first time in Ireland. "I've never been! I've never visited! I'm coming over next week with Maura. So, hopefully, she can show me around," India says, adding: "And my granddad Morgan, on my mother's side, is actually Irish. So that's fab. He is really nice. He's quite old now. I have only ever met lovely Irish people," she continues.

What is she excited about seeing in Ireland? "I don't know! I'll go anywhere. I am looking forward to drinking Guinness. I've never had it before."

What are her impressions of Ireland? Do you listen to U2? "Not really," she says. (She is a fan of Drake.) "I'll give anything a go."

Have you ever been to Riverdance? "No." Have you heard of Michael Flatley? "No."

Have you heard of James Joyce? "No! I could have Googled it but I didn't!"

Born on December 20, 1990, one-time glamour model India grew up in - and still lives in - Reading in Berkshire. What was her childhood like in Reading? "I was a really good child. I didn't get dirty going in the paddling pool. I was really neat. I think I make up for it with my adult bad behaviour!" she laughs.

India is a vegan and has an Instagram page promoting vegan food: @recipesfromreyn. "I would love to do something with veganism," she says. Like her own range? "Food is my favourite thing in the whole world. I would love that."

Where does she see herself in five years? "I'd like to be having a baby in five years. I'd love to have children at some point."

What did she inherit from her mother? "A fantastic drinking ability!" India jokes. "She is a lovely mum," India says of her mother (who in episode 48 of Love Island appeared at the villa to support her.)

"She is very smart." India continues. "She was good with kids. She is a primary school teacher. I inherited her maternal side. I am one of four. I'm the oldest. I'm the boss!" she laughs.

What makes her laugh? "I love comedian Tom Allen. I think he is absolutely hilarious."

I ask her to tell me a joke. "Do you think you're interviewing a comedian!" she hoots. "You're putting me on the spot here! I feel like I need to be a comedian! I've got one for you. Did you hear the one about the bins?" No, I say (with a powerful sense of dread). "It's rubbish." She howls with laughter. I don't. "I like a pun," she says.

I ask her for a pun. "I can't think of one!" she laughs.

Albert Einstein once said, tellingly, that "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one".

With endearing, even charming reality TV star India Reynolds you get the impression, correct or otherwise, that she sees all this, in one way, as a bit of an illusion... not least with the fame of Love Island having transported her at the speed of light into a tabloid parallel universe where her life, whether she likes it or not, will never be the same again.

How does she cope with all the fame, all the attention? "It is a bit weird. I am still getting used to that."

So, what kind of woman is India Reynolds? "Fun. Bubbly. I like to laugh. I'm kind. I am the sort of person who will come into a room and just talk to everyone. Give everyone a hug! I like to make everyone feel comfortable."

I say to her that, is it awkward because you are no longer India Reynolds from Reading - you are now and forever India from Love Island? "I don't know, because I feel exactly the same. I don't feel any different to how I would have been before. Everyone is really nice. Everyone has always been lovely. I think as long as you act the same and everyone is comfortable, it's fine."

The Metallic Edit collection, fronted by India Reynolds, is coming to boohoo.com soon

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