As one of the original cast of Love Island’s seventh series, Faye Winter was on our screens almost every night this summer. Bold and fiery, she quickly stood out for her one-liners, sample: ‘I’m about as edgy as a fucking circle.’ She had a whirlwind of a time in the villa, going through intense highs and extreme lows.
Now released from quarantine following her return to the UK from Mallorca, the Devon-born lettings agent is living with the consequences – good and bad – of her roller-coaster time in the villa.
Ofcom received almost 25,000 complaints – the most for any episode of Love Island – for her response after she was shown a clip of her now-boyfriend, Teddy Soares, saying he was sexually attracted to Clarisse Juliettè. Yet that clip was shown without context; unlike most of the other men, Teddy was totally loyal to Faye during his time in Casa Amor, even sleeping outside.
Faye has since apologised for her blow up and reveals to Grazia she regrets how it played out. ‘There were times I dealt with it completely wrongly,’ she says, talking to us during a trip to London with Teddy. ‘And everyone unfortunately got to see that.’
In the villa, Faye detailed how she’d bolted from past relationships, something Love Island forced her to face. ‘[It] allowed me to realise that I couldn’t run, I had to deal with my problems face on. And that’s one thing I’m grateful for – because I don’t think I would have ever overcome that.’
But finding out how many people complained to the regulator did distress her. ‘I’d be lying if I said that when I saw 25,000 complaints, I wasn’t upset – I was already embarrassed about the situation,’ she says. (Ofcom has since dismissed the complaints, saying, ‘We consider the scenes were within viewers’ likely expectations of this programme’s established format.’)
Faye was also worried about how her family coped. ‘When I saw [the complaints], I was more upset because I knew my friends and family would have seen that as well.’ Her sister, Jo, had to deal with the ‘brunt of it’. ‘She wasn’t happy with how I acted’ Faye admits. ‘But we’ve had that conversation now, we’re over it.’
Faye says that a therapist was on hand ‘at the drop of a hat’ during the show and since she’s left the villa. She also reveals that Islanders don’t have to agree to everything producers suggest. ‘People seem to forget that you can say no,’ she says. ‘[The producers] don’t force you.’
Despite the emotional turmoil the show triggered, Faye has emerged the same candid, upbeat and self-deprecating woman so many of us fell in love with. She now has over a million followers on Instagram and is recognised everywhere she goes. ‘I’m not used to it at all,’ she says. ‘I’d never been to London before yesterday!’
Like most Islanders, she’s now set to monetise her social media, but she’s not quite ready to turn her back on her old life. One of the first things she did when she got her phone back was ask her boss for her old job back. ‘He said, “I don’t think you understand that you need to take all these opportunities coming your way.”’
Faye says that, during the show, staying true to herself was vital to her, and it looks like she’s taking that mantra into post-villa life. Her choice of lipstick (brown and heavily lined) became one of the most divisive pop culture moments of the summer (she says her secret formula is MAC lip pencil in Cork, which she ‘offgrades’ with MAC Myth, a pale pink lipstick). ‘I know the lipstick is a big thing,’she laughs.‘But I like my brown lipstick and I’m going to continue to wear it!’ It’s somehow reassuring to know that the brown lipstick is here to stay, and something tells us Faye is, too.