TV & Movies

18 BTS Love Island Secrets Only Real Fans Will Know About

Including secret doors, salon trips, and takeaway meals.

by Bustle UK
Originally Published: 
17 BTS Love Island Secrets Only Real Fans Will Know About

Love Island, as a concept, seems pretty simple. Contestants fly to Mallorca, do a bit of snogging, drink out of personalised water bottles, and crack on with crackin’ on. That’s it, right? Well, not quite. The truth is, to create a show as gripping and glamorous as Love Island, you need an army of behind-the-scenes crew on standby to keep everything running smoothly. Details of how exactly the show operates is, of course, kept hush-hush. When it comes to house maintenance, daily schedules, food supplies, and off-screen communications, ITV haven’t yet let viewers in on the secret. But luckily for diehard fans, a few former contestants have. Here are a few behind-the-scenes secrets from the Love Island villa only true fans of the show will know.


Islanders Don’t Enjoy The Mandatory Morning Debriefs

Not mincing his words, season 8’s Jay Younger tweeted his thoughts on the morning debriefs. (You know, the morning meeting when the girls gather on the terrace and the boys head to one of the mini fire pits to debrief on what we already know.) Turns out, they are as cringe to film as they are to watch. “Hated these mandatory morning debriefs,” he said. When asked if producers tell contestants to gather and go through their situations one by one, Younger replied simply: “Yes.”


Producers Have Unusual Methods Of Finding Contestants

While the show accepts applications from the general public, producers also scout contestants in some pretty unusual places.

We all know by now that islanders have been approached via social media, but did you know they also get scouted in nightclubs, on dating apps, and at bodybuilding exhibitions (yes, those are a thing)?

Montana Brown of the 2017 series told Digital Spy she had been asked to do the show twice: “I got approached in a club, which was quite weird because I wasn't expecting [ITV] to be in there! After I turned them down, we kept in touch and this year they asked me back and I thought, ‘You know what, I'm going to do it!’”

2018’s Dr Alex George revealed that he’d unknowingly matched with one of the show’s producers on a dating app. Speaking to journalist Pandora Sykes, he said “I never applied to go on the show. They actually got in touch through Instagram. It was one of the producers who was on Bumble and I think matched me at the time. She said look, we’d love to have you come into an interview for Love Island.”

Meanwhile, 2017 islander Harley Judge told Digital Spy he thought members of the casting crew were queue-jumpers at an event. “I was working at Body Power Expo at the time and I was actually quite rude to [the casting team],” he said. “I thought they were trying to push in line so I said to them, ‘Look, you're going to have to go to the back of the queue, mate and stop pushing in – the queues were about three hours long!’

No matter how potential islanders are scouted, they all undergo the same application process by filling out the form, filming a video, and numerous questionnaires and assessments. “All Islanders would go through the same process before entering the villa, whether they apply or are approached,” a Love Island spokesperson told Cosmopolitan UK.


Islanders Can Text Each Other


While all viewers know the islanders are given phones for all the iconic Love Island “I’ve got a teeeeeeexxxxtt!” moments, but did you know that the phones allow them to message each other, too? Former islanders Adam Collard and Zara McDermott spoke to OK! Magazine (via Digital Spy) about how they used to communicate in secret. “We used to write messages to each other when we were in bed so other people couldn't hear what we were saying,” said Adam. “We deleted our messages but the producers told me that they still have them all.”

But the phones weren’t used just for communicating in secret. Season Five alumni Amy Hart explained how they used to wind each other up by sending messages pretending to be the crew, in a blog post for Cheltenham Betting Offers. “We used to text each other to wind everyone up, if it was a really boring day,” she said. “Their phone would go off and everyone would go, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, I've got a text.’”

“Me and Tommy wrote them to each other one day starting with, ‘Islanders…’” she added. “Everyone thought it was a real one but it actually wasn't and the producers were like, ‘Seriously, can you stop doing that now.’”


There's A Secret Cupboard And A Secret Door

According to 2016 islander Olivia Buckland, there's a secret cupboard where food and other essential items are left for contestants. "We had a secret little closet-wardrobe door thing and if we requested alcohol or cigarettes they turned up in the magic cupboard," she told Heat. "It used to unlock and we used to wait to hear it unlock and run towards it and any cigarettes, alcohol, or like moisturiser we requested would just immediately turn up in there." If only self-stocking cupboards existed in real life.

How do these items appear? Well, 2018’s Megan Barton-Hanson might have the answer. Speaking to Grazia, she revealed that production runners hide in the kitchen cupboard. She said, “It's kind of weird, as that's where you fill your water bottles up and there's always someone in there! You're like, ‘Hi, you alright?'”

And not only that, but apparently there’s a secret door too. According to Laura Anderson, there’s a two-way larder in the kitchen which producers use to pull islanders for secret chats. “If you see someone coming out of ‘the larder’, there’s probably drama ahead!” she told Closer.


Islanders Get Given Day Offs – And Takeaways!

This may be a hard one to swallow but it turns out that islanders are actually given a day off... from sitting in the sun and snogging all day.

Speaking on This Morning in 2019, Season 3 winner Kem Cetinay revealed that the producers actually give the cast a break to chill for a day and are often taken out of the villa and down to the beach. But, in fairness, the day off isn’t just for the cast, but for practical reasons too. “They get one day off a week,” he said. “What happens is it gives them a day to clean the villa and you take your mics off and normally we go to the beach and we just chill out.”

Series 4 contestant Laura Anderson also spoke about the contestants’ time off. She told Radio Times that, during her season, they were are given four half-days off over the eight-week filming period, during which the boys and girls were split up. “One group would go to the holding villa where we’d take off our mics and laze around the pool with our chaperones,” she said. And, as if we weren’t jealous enough, apparently they’re also treated to “amazing” takeaways.

Chris Williamson, who took part in the first series, revealed on his podcast Modern Wisdom that these days off were “liberating as you could talk about anything”.


...But The Villa Also Has Catering Staff


While the contestants have access to their iconic outdoor kitchen, breakfast is the only meal they actually prepare there. Georgia Townend from last year’s series revealed on her Instagram stories: “Breakfast you provide for yourself, so you can use any of the ingredients, things like cereal, toast, yoghurt and fruit." Season 2 contestant Kady McDermott told The Sun that islanders are treated to some delicious dishes courtesy of off-site catering staff. “They used to give us a dessert after every lunch and every dinner, and the cake was unreal, and we could request food if we wanted,” she said.


Islanders Are Told When To Use The Gym

Love Island contestants are often spotted showing off in the villa's gym. But surprisingly, they don't get unlimited access to its facilities. Gabby Allen, a S3 runner-up, let slip that she and her fellow stars were allocated slots to train. "[The producers] deliberately put [the equipment] in the sun so people don't spend all their time in the gym," she told OK! "So there's only certain times of the day you can actually work out, otherwise it’s 34-degree heat and you're sweating so bad."


Alcohol Is Pretty Limited In The Villa

While those villa parties may look wild, producers are keen to ensure they stay on the relatively tame side by restricting contestants’ access to alcohol. "At night time we weren’t allowed a lot of alcohol," Kady McDermott of the 2016 series told Cosmopolitan. "During the first four or five days when we didn’t know each other we had alcohol to break the ice, but then, after that, it was two glasses of wine a night. And we were sure it was watered down as well."


Contestants Get Help With Their Hair & Make-Up — Occasionally


There’s been a lot of debate over the years about whether contestants are given access to salons and hair stylists. Although the rules appear to change every year, The Sun reports that haircuts are allowed when things get dire and everyone gets the glam treatment ahead of the finale. But apart from that, they’re on their own!


No Flirting In The Swimming Pool

Megan Barton-Hanson, a S4 runner up, told Grazia, making a move on someone in the swimming pool is a no-go. And it’s for a practical reason: the audio equipment can’t go into the pool. She said, “You can go in there, but it's chit chat only as you can't wear your mic pack in the pool.” Fair enough – we’d rather not miss all the action.


In The Old Series, ASOS Hauls Were Sent To The Villa

You might be wondering how they fit so many fabulous outfits into one suitcase. Well, the answer is: they don’t. In the podcast Unreal: A Critical History of Reality TV, one interviewee shared that the girls were sent ASOS hauls to switch things up in the villa:

“[In Season 1 and 2] there would be points in the show, maybe like four or five weeks in, and the producers would say to the girls “right, we’re doing an ASOS order because you lot are just wearing the same clothes every day and we need it ot look different on screen because otherwise it look like, weird, for the viewers.”

But, could this “haul” mentality change in 2022 with the new Ebay partnership? As the show is now adopting a more sustainable approach to its fashion sponsorship, maybe contestants will be showcasing some pre-loved gems instead. Imagine getting all the goods from Ebay without having to set an alarm to make your bid? Heaven.


Wardrobe Nightmares For Casa Amor Contestants

Barton-Hanson also revealed that as contestants come into Casa Amor later in the season, they have fewer options when it comes to their sartorial choices. In short, they have to make do with the leftovers from earlier contestants. She told Grazia: “If you're in the original lineup, I think they have like one day... where they can go and pick out a selection of clothes that they like, from whatever brand is sponsoring the show. But if you're in Casa Amor, or come in later, it's literally like a free for all. They'll like dump a black sack of clothes and every girl was running to get the best bits.”


A Time-Less Existence

It’s no wonder that 2019’s Michael Griffiths attempted to build a sundial in the villa — there are strictly no clocks allowed and the time is not shown on contestants’ phones either. Barton-Hanson told Grazia she once peeled off the tape on the cooker to reveal the time: “It must have been like three, four in the morning. And it was the worst mistake of my life because the next day I felt so drained. I think it's better to just go with the flow.”


The Islanders Have Access To Unlimited Condoms

While recent series have toned down the raunchiness, apparently it’s still not completely discouraged. Mike Boateng, from Winter Love Island, told The Sun that “condoms are absolutely everywhere — they’re literally scattered all across the villa. There are condoms in the drawers, even in random secret ones. Then, of course, if you really can't find any, and you're really struggling, you can just ask your producer.”

It seems like producers really do put safety first though, as apparently all contestants are required to do STI tests before they are allowed to enter the villa. Last year, Season 3 contestant Marcel Sommerville told The Independent that “It’s definitely down to the cast members, if you do want to do it then by all means do it. The show provides the necessary protection, so just be safe. The show does do strict testing beforehand just to make sure that everyone going on there is clean.”


Sorry, But You’re Not Allowed To Masturbate

As steamy as islanders might be feeling, they can’t self-pleasure. “The no masturbation thing, that's kind of annoying,” Barton-Hanson said in the same article. She added that: “It's awkward when they have to tell us that, like we're animals that can't control ourselves. We can't be masturbating around the villa, like who would do that?!”


Couples Aren’t Contractually Obliged To Stay Together Post-Love Island

Given that most Love Island couples only last for about six months, fans have speculated if there’s a formal contract dictating the length of a relationship. “No, there's definitely no contract to stay together,” Barton-Hanson said. “We all give it a good go and six months is the breaking point.”

She continued: “After that six months, it kind of dies down and then you're like just stuck with each other. Up until then, even if you know it's not going to work on the outside — you see each other here and there, and you can kind of get by.”


Former Islanders Can Spot The Exact Moments When Producers Intervene

Liberty Poole, from the 2021 series, finds it “quite funny” that she can spot the exact moment when producers pull certain islanders aside for a secret chat. “You see little hints of maybe they’ve been asked to go for this chat, like it’s not staged,” she told Radio Times. “The producers can never tell you what to say, but they might say, ‘oh, why don’t you chat with so and so?’”


They Really Do Party All Night

Townend shared on her Instagram that many of the scenes are filmed in the middle of the night. This is because “it doesn’t get properly dark” until 11pm where they film, and Georgia explained that visually things looked best when all the outside fairy lights were lit up against the night sky. Townend went on to say that when she entered the villa at 3:30am, the other Islanders were all eating.

Contributions from Kay Leong, Orla Pentelow, Maxine Harrison, and Frances Stewart.

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