THE date is set, the line-up’s revealed and the anticipation is building.
After last year’s cancellation, we’re not just ready for the new season of Love Island to begin, we’re counting down the days.
But what about the contestants?
Right about now, the future stars of Love Island 2021 will be in a flurry of last-minute preparations, preening, pruning and polishing every square inch of their body in readiness for their grand entrance onto the nation’s TV screens.
But just how easy is it to achieve those rippling muscles, pearly whites, plump pouts and long, luscious locks the series has become famous for?
To give us an idea, let’s take a look at the ordeals previous contestants put themselves through before strutting their way into the villa.
GRUELLING TWICE-DAILY WORKOUTS AND BIRD SEED SNACKS
“One of the biggest myths about Love Island is that we look so toned, tanned and skinny all the time.
“In reality, I practically starved myself going into the villa — eating nothing but fish and vegetables for months and spending hours sweating away in the gym each day,” the 2018 Love Island star Ellie Brown revealed in her Sun column after the show.
For two months, the blonde beauty from Newcastle spent two-and-a-half hours a day in the gym doing a mixture of weight training and sweating away on the treadmill.
And variety is clearly not the spice of Love Island bootcamp life: Her diet consisted of only white fish and vegetables about five times a day.
Even fruit was off the table.
Dr Alex George, from the same series, admitted to Fearne Cotton on her Happy Place podcast that he’d restricted his life 'in every way possible' in the Love Island lead-up, removing everything from his diet that could jeopardise his goal of getting into shape.
He said: "I exercised excessively, I was gymming some days, cycling an hour then gymming an hour which is an unhealthy amount of exercise.
"I stopped seeing any of my friends because I thought if I see my friends, if I eat one chocolate bar when I'm with them or have a full-fat cappuccino or a pint of beer, that's going to set me back. So I removed myself from any social groups."
The 2017 Love Islander Montana Brown also put herself on a similarly intense two-month fitness regime as she readied herself for the ultimate summer of love.
"I'd start the day with fasted cardio – spinning or running for an hour before eating breakfast. I’d do hill sprints, too,” she told Closer.
"In the evenings, I’d do 90 minutes of weight training. I was also doing around 50 squats a day to get a peachy bum."
She cut out carbs after lunch and swapped crisps and sugary treats for pumpkin seeds.
In her own words, ‘it was hideous’.
£10K COSMETIC MAKEOVERS
Some Islanders have taken things a step further than a spray tan and bikini wax, opting for full-blown surgery ahead of their TV debuts.
Geordie lass Ellie Brown reportedly checked in with award-winning cosmetic surgeon Dr Tijion Esho, best known for E4’s Body Fixers, to ‘help her look her best for the villa’.
Dr Esho told Hello Magazine that she’d had a nose job (about £7k), as well as dermal filler in her lips (£1k for 2mls of filler) and cheekbones (£1.2k for each side).
"Ellie’s nose is now much more streamline and narrowed at the bridge with a mild lift at the nasal tip,” he said.
The star also had a course of DermaPen facials (a micro-needling treatment) at a cost of £350 per session to help give her skin a smooth, hydrated appearance.
In fact, the ITV ratings hit has provided Dr Esho with a steady stream of work over the years. Former contestants he’s treated include Jessica Shears, Chloe Crowhurst and Amber Davies.
But if any Love Island hopefuls are reading this and dialling their nearest cosmetic surgery, you can put your life-savings away – not all the show’s contestants choose this route.
Samira Mighty (Season 4) and Arabella Chi (Season 5) spoke out against fillers last year when they backed our Had Our Fill Campaign to make fillers illegal for under-18s, crack down on social media sites plugging fillers and establish a government register to accredit all practitioners.
A £700 NEW HEAD OF HAIR
The most envy-inducing head of hair to ever enter the Love Island villa is surely that of Season 5 runner-up Molly-Mae Hague.
Her ice blonde tresses became a national talking point and it was finally revealed she was wearing Beauty Works 20″ Celebrity Choice Nano Bond extensions.
Depending on the type of extensions, it’s recommended you have them replaced between six and 12 weeks, which means if your client is someone like 2018 winner Dani Dyer who’s in the villa for months, timing is key.
Extensions specialist Jaime Hunt, the woman behind Dani's luscious locks, told Cosmopolitan: “We timed it so that she had [the extensions] done just days before she went in, because she wasn’t going to have any maintenance done on them during the show.”
She added: “Her extensions were literally on their last knockings by the time she was coming out.”
Prices vary according to the method, amount and length, but extensions typically start from around £185 and go anywhere up to a hefty £700 in high-end salons.
A SPOT OF TOOTH TOURISM
It may be that the Love Island contestants to date have not splashed out on a set of new pearly whites in a villa-induced panic, but have you ever seen an Islander who didn’t have brilliantly white gnashers?
Jack Fincham (Season 4) and Connor Durman (Season 6) both became viral sensations thanks to their teeth, with viewers drawing comparisons to Ross’ glow-in-the-dark numbers in Friends.
A set of veneers like that would set you back about £24k in the UK, but Jack (who got his done in Turkey) and Connor (who flew to Thailand and ‘found a random dentist on Google’) would have paid more like £3k.
And they’re not alone.
Islanders Molly-Mae, Malin Andersson, Cara De La Hoyde, and Megan Barton-Hanson have all had dental work done abroad, even though it’s often associated with greater risks and a lack of continuity of care should something go wrong.
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