This Is What It’s Actually Like To Leave The Love Island Villa

The evictions are actually filmed in the small hours of the morning - and then you're put in the "holding" villa, says Zara McDermott in her latest Grazia column

Zara McDermott

by Zara McDermott |
Updated on

If you asked me what the worst part of my eviction from the Love Island villa was, I would tell you this: that it wasn't down to a public vote that I was forced to leave; that, rather, it was down to my fellow Islanders, the people who I was sharing a home and experience with. So I identified, a little, with Arabella's sharp exit this week – who exited along with Tom, shortly after Yewande left following the Danny debacle.

Arabella’s departure was eerily similar to mine in a few ways. I also related to her in having to infiltrate an already established couple, as well as the very cool feeling of being sent home by your pals. Being honest, I couldn’t help but resent the islanders who voted for me to be evicted last year for a while, for cutting my journey short – at the time I had found someone who I was soon to be in a serious relationship with. It was difficult to understand the rationale behind this. Why would the boys choose to dump a girl who is in a couple? Is finding love not the idea of the programme? Why, then, would they choose to dump a girl who is in something that's strong?

I can really sympathise with Arabella and how it feels to leave without your partner, knowing they are going to continue their journey and you will have to face the outside world alone. Coming out into a world where all of a sudden, everyone knows your face and has an opinion on every aspect of you is a difficult pill to swallow as it is. Having to deal with then watching your former partner, who you were unexpectedly torn from, date other people is also extremely hard. All of these things combined makes for an emotional time leaving the Villa under those circumstances.

So what is it actually like to leave the Villa? What a lot of people don’t realise is the recoupling and dumping scenes are actually filmed during the early hours of the morning. I remember sitting in a little cabin on the Villa site after I had been dumped, looking at a clock for the first time in weeks and seeing the time as 5:03am. You are then taken back to either the hotel or the ‘holding villa’ (the Villa that some of the crew live in which holds dumped islanders) – because some of the episodes are aired a day or two behind real life, dumped Islanders are held on lockdown for a few days. During lockdown, it can get boring, and frustrating. Once the episode has aired, Islanders fly back to the UK the following morning with a chaperone.

Turning your phone on for the first time is crazy... my phone could barely load because I had so many messages! It's daunting to look at, to be honest – at last you are to learn what the public really think about you. I was naïve to think that every conversation that I’d ever had in that villa would be aired. All my laughs, my tears, the key moments in my journey. How wrong I was. I was shocked to see that I barely said a word in my final week in the villa. Being in a solid couple meant I forfeited air time, which I found difficult to understand seeing as I was in a genuine couple and we were on Love Island. I was being called a ‘mute’ and ‘boring’ which couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was upset by this of course. The public can be brutal, even though we are plagued with messages about stopping online abuse, it’s scary how much of it still exists. And it’s getting even more prominent. Even the smallest comment can hurt in the worst way. I don't think people realise that.

Air time is the most important thing in helping the public shape their perception of you as an individual on the show. Before you go into something like like Love Island, with no previous TV experience, you are blind to the power of the edit. Having no control over this is a scary thought, but surprisingly not something I necessarily considered before entering the island. The islanders leaving the villa will now be faced with watching episodes back, and probably will be frustrated at certain things that weren’t shown.

Even though they were dumped so soon, the islanders will be experiencing incredible opportunities now. Their lives will be a whirlwind for the next few months and I am super excited for them.

For now, back at the villa, it's the week of Casa Amor – arguably the highlight of the series. Already heads are turning, and I think we can expect to see much more... Maybe this will be the most explosive, dramatic week yet. Here's hoping.

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