‘I Wasn’t Prepared For The Backlash About My Plastic Surgery’

Megan Barton-Hanson reveals what Faye and co will be facing in life after Love Island...

Life after love island

by Grazia |

When I landed back in the UK after Love Island, I had people shouting my name in the airport, and paps tripping over each other. I felt like Wes (my ex-boyfriend, who I met on the show) was Justin Bieber. It was overwhelming to go from my day job, glamour modelling, to becoming an overnight celebrity.

When I first got asked to go for a Love Island interview, I thought I was so shy, they wouldn’t pick me anyway. But I was wrong. In 2017, I was chosen to go on the show, but it wasn’t until the following year that I actually walked into the villa.

One of the things I worried about before appearing on Love Island was the stigma attached to any form of sex work. I was kind of prepared for the headlines; just not to the extent or scale, or what journalists might dig up. When I was in the villa, one of the Casa Amor girls told me – even though nobody is supposed to speak about the outside world – that there was a video of me on PornHub. It was only topless photos, but it had me worried, nonetheless.

However, what I wasn’t prepared for was the backlash about my plastic surgery and what I had looked like before. There were countless articles comparing photos of me as a 16-year-old to when I was 23. It was so cruel and I really didn’t expect it, so that’s what I found hardest to deal with. The day before I flew back, we were playing music videos on YouTube and I saw a video at the bottom, with a photo of me in glasses and a scarf, which said something about my shock transformation. I remember saying to Wes and Josh, ‘I don’t want to come back.’

When we landed in the UK after the final, we spent some time with ITV, who gave us advice about social media and the realities of life after the villa. I was also taken into a room and briefed on some of the headlines that had come out during my time on the show.

We were all given a piece of paper with a list of management companies and the names of the former Islanders they looked after, which was really helpful. And that’s one of the main pieces of advice I’d give to current Islanders: choose your management wisely, and think about your long-term goals. I was quite lucky that I was already earning a lot of money from modelling before going on the show, so it meant I didn’t feel the pressure to say yes to everything.

Also, definitely turn off your post notifications on Instagram. All the attention might be tempting, but it’s not healthy to be on social media all the time, and you’ll end up reading nasty comments from weeks back, when you were still on the show, which can be quite traumatic.

As part of ITV’s updated duty of care for Love Island, I think it’s really good that contestants are now given compulsory therapy sessions. We also had a therapist available, but I was on such a high during and afterwards, I felt like I didn’t need it. In hindsight, maybe I should have done it. Addressing your mental health is the same as going to the gym: once you’ve got a six pack and abs, you’re still going to maintain that by continuing to exercise. I hope this year’s winners see it that way.

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