Getting on Love Island isn't a walk in the park, or, should we say, as simple as a strut into the villa. Either your Instagram game has to be on fire, and a producer will slide into your DMs, inviting you to apply. Or you have to apply the long winded way through ITV, attaching a few pictures of yourself and a short video, in the hopes that your application will stand out to producers.
Two years ago, it was revealed that only six - out of 36 - on the 2019 summer series had applied for the series without being approached. (Another six of the contestants were actually put forward by talent agents.) So before this series begins, out of curiosity, we wanted to know who applied, and who was scouted first. Can you get on Love Island without posting pictures of your arse on Instagram?
Here's what we found. Spoiler alert: Hugo Hammond, the PE teacher, told us he applied after a few drinks, which we really hope is true.
Faye, 26, was approached via Instagram, but she says she wasn't surprised when the message dropped into her inbox. 'So I actually was approached,' she tells Grazia, 'but I think I'm Mystic Meg because I was thinking to myself, during lockdown, that I'm going to be on Love Island. I thought, I'm going to find the man, and the only way I'm going to find a man is through something like Love Island. And then it happened, if f I hadn't been approached, I would have applied.'
Liberty, a 21-year-old waitress and marketing student, was also approached for the show. 'I've always sort of wanted to do [Love Island] but it's never been the right time until now,' she says. 'So I did get approached in my DMs, just asking if I would be interested. But I still had to go through the whole application process from start to finish in, there was no shortcut.'
Sharon, who works for the government as a civil servant, applied for the show when she got tired of dating apps. (Relatable, tbh.) 'I applied for the show,' the 25-year-old says. 'It got to the stage where all of my friends aren't married and in serious relationships, they're all planning on having babies. And I was like I can't deal with dating apps anymore, so I'm just going to take the plunge and see what happens.'
Fashion blogger Kaz, 26, already had a big following before being announced for the show, so it's unsurprising she was another contestant approached on Insta. 'I was speaking to one of the casting girls who said to me, I think you should apply for this show,' Kaz told us. 'And I was like, "Okay, what is the show?" Then she let me know, and I was like, "Oh, I love it. Like, let's do it."'
And again, former glamour model Shannon, 22, already had a huge following on socials before the show - so she was also messaged about being on the show. 'I was approached, and then obviously you've got to apply from being approached,' she says. 'But yeah, I thought, why not?' Indeed!
The marketing executive - who has already caused quite a stir, because she said in her introductory clip that she had an affair with a married man (she later cleared up that she didn't know he was married) - isn't really sure how she got on the show, as - stay with us here - she applied, cancelled her application, then got approached for another show, then was asked to go on Love Island.
'I applied last year, but I cancelled my application because I thought it wasn't going to happen,' the 25-year-old said. 'And then I got asked about a different show on ITV - and it was the one where there's ten men in a house, some are single, some are not [Ready to Mingle] - but I didn't want to do that one, so she said to me "you'd be good for Love Island" and then the next day I got a call.'
Pro footballer Toby might use social media a lot - he is literally part of a team called Hashtag United - but he wasn't approached, as you might expect, and applied for the show twice. 'I actually applied for the show before Covid,' the 22-year-old said. 'So last year, the one that didn't go ahead, I applied for that. So I applied again, and luckily I'm here.'
Luxury events host, Aaron - who has worked at royal weddings! - was messaged on Instagram, but he didn't think he'd be able to align his schedule as he was off travelling. 'I was approached on Instagram,' the 24-year-old said. 'I wasn't really thinking about the show, because I was away in the Middle East and I was going to be there for three months. So when I got the message, I actually said, "thanks, but I'm away for three months, so I don't think I'm gonna fit." And they basically said, "well, go through the process." They spoke to me a little bit, and then they [asked] when I'd be back and I was like mid-April. And they were like, yeah, we can make it work.' We're very glad it did.
Ah, Hugo - the teacher is now entering the villa because, apparently, he applied when he was a bit tipsy. As you do! 'So it was a cold winter's night and I had one too many with my housemate,' the 24-year-old said. 'We thought why don't you [give it a go] and now six months later this laughing joke has got a little bit serious.' (Hopefully he did just apply for the bants after a few beers, and this isn't just a way of sounding fun and relatable.)
Jake, 24, was encouraged to apply for the show after a seven-year relationship ended. (Because why have a rebound when you can apply for Love Island? Makes sense, tbh.) Jake, who works as a water engineer, said: 'I applied for it last year, because I'd become single and you couldn't date because of lockdown, and I was so busy working, and it came about and I just went for it. And here I am now.'
Labourer Brad, the final member of the original cast, was found on Instagram. The 26-year-old - who has the most dreamy eyes in the world - even remembered the name of the producer who approached him. 'It was just through Instagram,' he says. 'I had a conversation with Georgia... I can't remember what the show was called, but it was about a different show. And I didn't really know anything about the show, and then we got talking about Love Island, and it basically went from there.'
Love Island starts at 9pm Monday 28 June on ITV2 and ITV Hub. Episodes are available the following morning on BritBox.