Love Island's Yewande Biala was in Virgin Media Studios today launching their new Safer Internet Day campaign. We caught up with her to see what life has been like outside the villa and how she stays confident in an online world that always seems to have something nasty to say.
We all remember Love Island 2019 - some even say it was the best series of the show yet. It could be argued that what made the series of the show so popular were the fiery, confident contestants we saw on our screens each evening, supporting each other through thick and thin and never being afraid to tell it how it is.
Who could forget Maura Higgins' iconic "why are ya asking her that?" moment, Amber Rose Gill telling the nation she has never once been rejected and Yewande's ice-cold "what goes around comes around" comment to Danny just moments after he chose Arabella Chi over her in a tense recoupling? We certainly haven't.
While the villa looked like great craic, it certainly had low moments, and the social media storm that surrounds Love Island contestants once they leave would be enough to have anyone feeling unsure of themselves.
Now, Yewande is still caught up in the whirlwind of post villa life, and we were dying to know how she has been getting on. (Spoiler: she's booked, busy and thriving).
“I wouldn't say the villa made me more sure of myself. If anything it kind of tests your confidence a little bit. But I think it’s changed me in a way that I’m more determined to get things done.”
In terms of social media, it can be difficult for some contestants to cope with the backlash. Molly Mae Hague had a particularly difficult time after leaving the villa when trolls took to social media to voice their opinions on her looks, personality, plastic surgery and behaviour on the show, to name but a few.
When asked if she was a victim of hateful comments online and how she dealt with them, Yewande revealed that keeping herself and her mental health safe and protected is her utmost priority.
"When I got out of the villa there was so much [nasty comments]. Now, sometimes I don’t even look at my comments anymore. I also used to look at articles that have been posted about me. Now I completely avoid or don’t read them at all. That’s something that has protected me and my mental health.
If I feel like I’m being trolled by a certain person over and over in my comments, I’ll just block them or delete comments or do certain precautions like that to make me feel better.”
However, while she does avoid certain aspects of social media and the online world in general, Yewande does believe that social media can be a positive place - we just have to be clever about using it.
“I think social media can be such a fun place – sometimes it can be uplifting as well. There are pros and cons to literally anything in this world. I think it’s about being smart with social media and learning how to use it properly. I think once we’ve all learned that, then I think it’s going to be an amazing place.”
Love Island producers have been criticized in recent years for sending contestants out into the "real world" without adequate media training. If she could have a chat with the Winter Love Island's contestants before they leave the villa, Yewande would advise them to take the media attention with a pinch of salt. She said:
“I would say don’t believe what anyone says. It’s so easy to read comments and dwell on them for days. People always have something to say – people always have opinions –but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the “right” ones. If you need help, speak to someone about it.”
And finally, in her typically honest fashion, when asked what she thought about the current Love Island series, she read all of our minds:
"Our season was definitely better but I want Luke T and Siannise to win!”
Can we get her back in the villa already?