How Love Island contestants are selected - the shocking real story
‘THEY wouldn’t have me on Love Island.’ The first reaction of any right thinking father to such a revelation from his daughter should presumably be one of relief. Few parents yearn to see their children cavorting semi-naked in mixed company for the amusement of vast television audiences. When young Persephone declared: ‘ They wouldn’t have me on Love Island,’ there was certainly no immediate question of my shedding tears or of my being in any way disappointed that she had been rejected.
It has long been a shared father-daughter aspiration that she might one day be accepted for a role on Broadway or the West End. We would probably settle for a spot on stage in The Gaiety.
But a place in a reality TV programme seeking to titillate millions with its crude take on romance is a horse of a different colour, even allowing for the fringe benefits of foreign travel and free sun-cream.
‘They wouldn’t have me on Love Island.’ Given the way she had phrased her statement, my initial move was to check whether our baby had actually applied to the makers of this cultural phenomenon for consideration.
Persephone replied that, though she had visited the web-site, she was not one of the many tens of thousands who downloaded the relevant forms as that would have been a waste of time. She was absolutely sure they would never want her.
At this point in the conversation, a subversive emotion other than relief began to creep into my head as gratitude was replaced by a growing sense of outrage.
Surely, any programme maker should be happy to be associated with my daughter? Even programme makers of such dodgy taste as those responsible for ‘Love Island’.
Who are these guys anyway, that they would tell my lovely daughter they do not want her? I started to churn over likely reasons why these blockheads might turn away such a sweet and talented child.
Of course, I never have actually seen an episode of the exercise in erotic inanity which is ‘Love Island’ but ignorance is no obstacle to imagination
The list of possible excuses for turning her down quickly grew in a trice to five in my increasingly fevered brain:
One. Maybe she wears the wrong bikini. Apparently, all the swimwear on ‘Love Island’ is of a particular brand. Favour the wrong brand and you will never make it to The Villa.
Two. Maybe she has the wrong body shape. I am her father. I consider her the most beautiful girl on the planet but then I have never assessed her looks through the eyes of a pornographer. Ugh!
Three. Maybe it’s because she is Irish. Sections of the British press are full of all sorts of complaints that the Love Islanders in the series were not representative of UK society. Not enough West Indians, Indians or Pakistanis. Perhaps not enough Irish either.
Four. Maybe she is too young. At sixteen, she certainly was not old enough for the 2018 season but, such has been the success of the programme, there is surely more ‘Love Island’ to come.
Five. Maybe, they could not afford her. Not just the sunscreen. Given the huge commercial success of the production, the £50,000 prizemoney on offer will have to rise considerably in future...
‘No, that’s not it,’ Persephone replied each time as I took her through my list of possibilities. She then made to leave and visit a friend after checking I had no more theories to offer. I had to stand blocking the door until she revealed the reason.
She relented: ‘ They wouldn’t have me on Love Island, Da, because I sing all the time. Can I go now?’
I felt none the wiser. Just because a girl tends to warble pop hits to herself around the house, why on earth should she be excluded from ‘ Love Island’? Persephone rolled her eyes and explained with a show of infinite patience that it was a matter of rights and royalties, with the producers at ITV terrified they would end up passing half their profits to Adele and Beyoncé.
Thank goodness. I may now rest easy, secure in the knowledge that young Persephone really will never appear on ‘Love Island’.