Former Love Islander Montana Brown has spilled the beans on what life is really like in the villa, explaining everything from what contestants eat to how much the producers are involved.
Speaking on The Independent’s Millennial Love podcast, the 22-year-old, who appeared on the 2017 series of the reality TV show, spoke candidly about her experience, revealing the insider secrets of what goes on.
In the interview, Montana also shared her thoughts on the current series and this year’s crop of Islanders, what the audition process was like, how it felt to come out to a media storm, why she split with Alex, which contestants she’s still friends with and how she met her current boyfriend.
Here are 12 secrets of Love Island, revealed by Montana to Millennial Love hosts Rachel Hosie and Olivia Petter:
Contestants have to pack for eight weeks
With so many different outfits, some viewers think Islanders receive clothing deliveries to the villa, but this isn’t the case.
“You have to arrive with eight weeks’ worth of clothes,” Montana says, but explains that when people leave, the remaining contestants often ask to keep some of their clothes. “Everyone comes with about 20 bikinis, 20-30 dresses, and obviously you’re exchanging dresses with people, everyone wears each other’s stuff.”
Most Islanders quit their jobs to go on the show
While Montana was “quite lucky” to have just finished university when she went on Love Island and thus was free, most others leave their jobs to go on the programme. “I know some of the girls who were in Casa Amor and only in it for a week quit their jobs and a week later [had gone home], it’s a massive risk,” she says.
Montana, however, insisted that she would only go on if she was “an original.”
They’re not allowed out of the villa at all
Releasing the islanders is “more ag than its worth,” Montana says, because everyone recognises them. The only times they leave the villa for a date or a day out, the producers will rent out the whole cafe or area being used.
Contestants aren’t allowed to know what time it is
There are no clocks in the villa and all the Islanders’ phones are set to different times. “You never know what the time is,” Montana says. “They’ll wake you up by putting the lights on or a voiceover will say ‘Islanders, it’s time to get up’.”
Food is brought in through a secret door
We sometimes see contestants cooking for each other, but what about the rest of the meals we aren’t shown?
The Islanders are left to their own devices for breakfast (ingredients are left in the fridge), but lunches and dinners are catered. “There are salads, a choice of meats, puddings,” Montana says. “It’s really nice food.”
“In the larder there’s another door that goes out the back that they lock,” Montana says. “That’s how they deliver food.” The contestants’ side of the door is locked when producers are delivering the food, and it’s then unlocked once the food has been left and the outside door is locked once more.
It’s when the contestants are eating their dinner that the producers come in and change the batteries in their microphones.
And despite the rumours that none of the contestants eat much because they want to look lean, Montana says this isn’t true: “Everyone’s starving, everyone wants that food because it’s so yum.”
They’re only allowed one drink a day
Despite the fact that the Islanders seem to be boozing every night, alcohol is severely restricted. “Most of the time it’s one beverage a night,” Montana says. “They’re really strict about that. At a push it’s two.”
The only time contestants do end up drinking a bit more is when they go on three consecutive dates and would then end up having three drinks.
Montana herself isn’t a big drinker, so when she was in the villa, the other contestants would fight over who drank her drinks.
Islanders can choose between red wine, white wine, beer and prosecco, they place their order for the evening at dinner, and the producers then deliver a certain amount - if two people want red wine, half a bottle will be delivered.
Cameras are completely hidden
Contestants soon forget they’re being filmed because the cameras are so well hidden. “They’re all fixed, or hidden by a tree or a bush - they’re all camouflaged,” Montana explains.
The contestants get bored
Islanders aren’t allowed books or any other kind of entertainment so Montana says they do get bored.
The producers sometimes get involved with what is discussed
Once when Montana and Camilla had resorted to talking about what hymns they like, the producers intercepted and asked them to talk about something juicier. “‘That’s not interesting,’ they said,” she explains.
However, it’s not totally staged. “They might be like, ‘Camilla, pull Montana aside and ask how she’s feeling about Alex’,” she says, but Islanders are never told what to say. Producers might also ask contestants to move if they’re having a good conversation somewhere with dim lighting.
Contestants aren’t allowed to get waxes
With the skimpy bikinis Love Island has become so well known for, many viewers have wondered if a beautician has been coming into the villa giving the women bikini waxes, but this is not the case. “Most people just end up shaving,” Montana says.
She explains that last year, the women requested wax strips to do it themselves but it didn’t work very well (“we all had bruising!”) so they resorted to shaving.
Most women are on the pill to avoid having periods
Skimpy bikinis and white sheets are not ideal when a woman is on her period, which is why most female contestants go on the pill and take packets back to back to avoid having a period when in the villa, Montana says. “It would be horrendous,” she adds.
There’s a psychologist to hand
Before entering the villa, contestants have multiple meetings with a psychologist to check they’re the type of person who should be able to handle the pressure. “She’s always on call once you’re there,” Montana says. “They give you a lot of emotional support in that sense.”
After leaving the villa, however, Montana says she felt support was “lacking.” Even though contestants are given the option of talking to a psychologist or the press team, “you’re not going to call some random stranger three, four weeks after the show’s finished,” she says.
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