Love Island’s Amber Davies On How Her Life And Relationship Changed After The Show

As the nation’s favourite reality show ends, last year’s winner Amber Davies tells Polly Dunbar what the Islanders face next

Love Island

by Polly Dunbar |

Hard as it is to contemplate the rest of the summer without their sun-drenched dramas, the Love Islanders have packed
up their cut-out cossies and bid the villa goodbye. As Grazia went to press, it wasn’t yet known if hot favourites Jack and Dani had emerged victorious with the £50,000 prize. But nobody knows better the highs and lows the winners can expect when they re-enter real life than Amber Davies, who won last year’s show with her then- boyfriend Kem Cetinay.

Although Amber, 21, describes the last year as ‘the best of my life’, she’s also frank about the challenges that await former Islanders as they adjust to the particular kind of fame that comes from 3.4 million people watching them do everything from squeeze their spots to have furtive, fumbled sex under the duvet. (Although Dani refrained from the latter out of respect for her dad, Danny Dyer.)

‘You need thick skin after you come out,’ says Amber. ‘My experience has been life-changing and I’m very grateful for it, but the negative comments you get can be hard. You really need to know yourself and have a good head on your shoulders, otherwise it can damage you.’

Amber Davies

Last year’s Love Island was the third series, and the one that really got the nation hooked on the escapism of watching attractive people couple up, uncouple and recouple. Amber and Kem were a fiery but well-matched duo whose devotion won viewers’ hearts.

The surreal first few days after being crowned queen are vivid in her memory. ‘We landed at Stansted airport and it was so crazy, with people screaming,’ she says. ‘We had no idea. We’d been isolated in the villa, having a seven-week holiday where we’d fallen in love and had the time of our lives, then we came out and everybody knew our names.’

Fashion deals with online brands Motel Rocks and Boux Avenue were immediately signed and, initially, her relationship with Kem flourished. Four months later in December, however, like the vast majority of Love Island couples, they split up.

‘You’re in this bubble in the villa and your feelings are accelerated, so it’s easy to think you like someone a little bit more than you actually do,’ she says. ‘When you come out, the guys get loads of female attention and the girls get loads from guys, so you have to think, what do you want?

‘Some people thrill off the fame. They think, “I don’t want to be in a relationship, I want to enjoy being famous.” That first year is so busy and it’s hard to sustain a relationship when you’re always on opposite sides of the country. But if you like someone enough, you’ll make it work.’

Amber is pragmatic about any negative attention she’s received. ‘If people don’t like me, they don’t like me,’ she says.
‘I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.’ But she does wonder how someone like Megan Barton-Hanson, who has admitted to insecurities over how she’s perceived, will deal with the scrutiny that comes with life post-Love Island. ‘The show exposes you so much – not just your looks, but your emotions, too.’

Amber Davies

She thinks it might be a good ‘learning curve’ for Megan, though. ‘As a person, it’s made me really open my eyes and grow up,’ she says. ‘Sometimes, if I wake up on the wrong side of the bed I’ll snap at comments and think, “Oh God, stop”, but you have to learn to rise above it. It’s made me much nicer, too. When people ask for pictures and want a chat, you have to be professional – you can’t be arrogant or rude, so you naturally become a better person.’

Amber’s schedule has been hectic lately, with a newspaper column and TV appearances to discuss this year’s show, plus a new swimwear collection for lingerie brand Bluebella. Prior to Love Island, she trained in musical theatre and hopes to pursue that dream.

The wisdom she’d pass on to the newly released Islanders? ‘It’s easy to get swept up in it all, but no-one’s Beyoncé – all we did is go on holiday for seven weeks!’ Bluebella x Amber is available here.

Keep up with this years Islanders on Instagram...

Bluebella x Amber is available at bluebella.com

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Adam Collard

Adam is a 22-year-old personal trainer and gym director from Newcastle.Instagram: adamcollard

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