Love Island: The Annual ‘Before And After’ Surgery Discourse Has Restarted

Harriet Blackmore and Nicole Samuel are the latest victims of the annual 'before and after Love Island' searches

Harriet Blackmore

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

It’s that time of year again! The annual deep dive into ‘before and after’ pictures of the women on Love Island has returned with a bang.

This time the focus is on 24-year-old Harriet Blackmore, with the Brighton-born Islander subject to intense Google searches for what she looked like before she entered the villa, with ‘Harriet before Love Island’ trending search terms on Google alongside ‘Harriet Love Island before and after’ and ‘Harriet Love Island before surgery’.

Where has the speculation come from? Well, to be fair, anytime a woman on the show confesses to – or appears to have – any kind of cosmetic tweakment, viewers rush to Google to find out how much their appearance has changed. But this time around, it’s actually all down to a viral TikTok of Harriet appearing on YouTube influencer Saffron Barker’s channel.

In the video, posted by a Love Island fan account, titled ‘Harriet from Love Island with Saffron Barker! Look how different she looks’, Saffron was participating in a vlog challenge where she spent 24 hours in her car and was joined by friend Harriet for part of it. The clip of them together - from three years ago - appears to have everyone talking about how much Harriet’s appearance has changed since 2021.

But it isn't just Harriet Blackmore that's experiencing the harsh scrutiny. Another Islander who has fallen victim to the public's sharp eye is Nicole Samuel, with numerous Tweets and TikToks of people making assumptions about the 24 year old's filler and surgery garnering plenty of attention.

And yep, it turns out that 'Nicole Samuel before Love Island' is another trending search term on Google.

This year’s crop of female Islanders have been subject to a lot of debate and scrutiny about cosmetic tweakments, with viewers constantly referring to how similar many of them look and expressing disbelief at how old each of them are versus how old they appear. It’s a running theme on any season of Love Island, but this year in particular seems to be particularly intense.

Why? Some theorise that the so-called ‘Love Island face’ (which typically involves getting Botox to smooth fine lines as well as lip, cheek and nose filler) is no longer as alluring to young people as it once was. More broadly, discussions around the way different tweakments can age your face have become more popular in the last year. Often celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Millie Bobby Brown and Bella Hadid are picked apart for the way they look at their younger age.

It's an interesting but tricky phenomenon to discuss online. Often, the discourse starts with a mean and unnecessary comment that evolves into outright trolling. Even well-meaning discussions around the ageing impact of filler are difficult to explore with nuance in a tweet or TikTok comment, meaning far too often celebrities or public figures bear the brunt of hateful commentary that dehumanises them. That being said, the changing face of beauty and the harmful or unintended consequences of different tweakments are still important to talk about.

Young women are growing up with wildly unrealistic ideas of what natural skin and features look like, not just due to the prevalence of cosmetic tweakments but social media filters and editing too. Far too often, treatments like filler and Botox have been seen as the less invasive cure to low self-esteem and even celebrated as self-care. It feels as though we led a generation of girls into a lifetime of self-hatred, chasing a certain physical appearance that morphs everyone into one homogenous face and now they’ve succumbed to the pressure, they’re being told they look old and haggard at 23.

It's important to remember that while Islanders are shielded from the commentary inside the villa, they’ll come out and read the tsunami of comments about them probably in one go. Can you imagine how any women would feel to see their appearance picked apart like this? More than anyone, this generation of young women under immense pressure to appear like a filter deserve grace as they navigate their own idea of beauty and body image.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us