Sophie Monk is ready to go off-script to host Love Island, writes Holly Byrnes
Sophie Monk on heartbreak, her single life and who’s hot on Nine's Love Island
SOPHIE Monk can do sexy, just don’t ask her to read a teleprompter.
The host of 9Go!’s sizzling new reality dating show Love
Island knows her limitations and that includes doing anything on TV that requires a degree of seriousness, or reading skills. But that’s OK, she tells TV
Guide – it’s what got her this gig. “They wanted someone who wasn’t so straighty-180 ... it’s not like I’m going to do the news, or whatever,” she explains.
“Imagine me doing that ... I would screw it up. I can’t read a teleprompter. I’m lucky I don’t have to do it, ’ cos I can’t. They have to write things out for me alphanetically [sic] ... is that how you say it?” the former Bachelorette asks, hysterically proving her point.
Laughing at herself, she admits: “I’m terrible! They asked me to do this role, I can’t tell you what one, because they gave the guy his job back. They go, ‘ You’ve got the role, you’re gonna host’ and so I went in to read for them. And you know when you can feel all their hearts break? The room just went quiet and I went, ‘Awww crap ...’ and they went, ‘ Actually, we’ve had a change of plans’ and got the guy back. I was like, ‘ F---, I can’t read a teleprompter’. For some reason, you pre-record me and I’ll stuff it up. Go live and I’m good to go,” she says confidently.
Good thing for all involved then that for the next six weeks of this raunchy show, the selfeffacing 38-year- old will be almost entirely off- script and throwing herself into the action.
Think Big Brother “for just hot people” is how Monk describes the series, which initially sends 10 singles into a purpose-built luxury villa, in Mallorca, Spain; hopeful they’ll couple up, before others are sent in as temptation.
The format is a monster hit in the UK, which – like the Aussie version – features Irish radio DJ Eoghan McDermott as the cheeky narrator who keeps viewers upto- date with who’s hooking up, who’s misbehaving and what the cameras have caught in between episodes.
Monk will play an active role, spending some time interacting with the contestants inside the villa, including counselling them through their reality romances.
After her own search for love ended in disappointment – splitting from Sydney publican Stu Laundy three months after they were matched on air – Monk says she’s better at dishing out relationship advice than taking it herself.
“Nothing can explain what it’s like in that environment because you’re just so vulnerable,” she says. “You’ve got to be honest and hope people like you as you.”
For that reason, her Channel 10 experience wasn’t a total loss – revitalising Monk’s media stocks after the public warmed to her raw honesty and softer side.
She admits it’s not how she thought it would go: “I was really surprised ... I thought it was going to backfire.”
Watching the launch episode from the safe distance of a hotel in Thailand, she thought, “‘Oh no, everyone’s going to hate me’, and when there was so much support, I thought, ‘God, Aussies are good.’ They like honesty ... we can see through bullshit.”
Her bold sense of humour has long been worn as armour, so dropping that guard in her own search for love forced her “to be strong,” she says.
“I’m not confrontational, but I had to be on that show. It taught me that you’re better off calling stuff out early and not being walked over, instead of it being a big mistake in the end,” she offers.
“I’ve learnt now to say it in the moment. You’re moving so fast on those shows, you have to be honest and ask for what you want.”
Time at home with her family on the Gold Coast has helped heal her broken heart, especially around her No.1 guy – dad Andrew.
“It’s been the best. I keep thinking, ‘ Do I look like a loser, hanging out with Dad?’ but he’s my best friend. He’s so funny, passionate, intelligent ... he’s just a legend. It’s so grounding.”
If there’s one thing she’s most looking forward to about Love
Island, she says, it’s getting her gear off in the Spanish sun. “When I was filming
Bachelorette, it was minus two degrees. I was bloody freezing every day. I’d ask to wear a jacket or a sweater and they’d say ‘no’. All I have to do is have fun, enjoy it and care about them ... which is easy because that’s my nature anyway.”
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