“I’m too scared to have surgery after my mum’s health battle”
Her life changed overnight when she entered the Love Island villa in 2017 and came out to hundreds of thousands of followers and deals with different brands. And, like most of the picture-perfect contestants, Tyne-Lexy Clarson was also flooded with offers of free cosmetic surgery from companies hoping for publicity. But unlike many Love Islanders, the thought of having nip/tuck couldn’t have been further from Tyne-Lexy’s mind, thanks to a real-life family health drama that has given her some perspective on the surgery fad.
Her mum, Tracee, was left fighting for her life in 2014 after contracting meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia, and if it hadn’t been for TyneLexy’s quick thinking in getting her to hospital she might not have survived.
Tyne-Lexy, 23, says, “I get offered a lot of cosmetic or surgical procedures. I ask my mum if I should have this done or that done, and she always says, ‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ And she’s right. I’m too scared to do anything to my face. You look at some stars and they look completely different after surgery. People message me asking if I’ve had my lips done or had a nose job, but I haven’t. I hate needles; I faint at a blood test! And I know the importance of health after what my mum went through.”
Tyne-Lexy was a sixth form student when she noticed her mum was acting out of character one day.
She recalls, “I just knew something wasn’t right. She had sweaty hands, her speech was slurred, her breathing became rapid. I immediately phoned an ambulance and the doctors later told me that if I hadn’t phoned them then, there was a high chance Mum would’ve gone to bed and been dead the next morning.
“It was horrendous. I remember being at sixth form and I was crying all the time. Everyone knows my mum is my best friend and, at the time, we didn’t know which way it was going to go. But she came home and survived.”
Tracee, 56, had to spend a month in hospital before returning home, and she still deals with long-term effects of the disease.
“She still has brain damage and she’s nowhere near the same,” says Tyne-Lexy. “Some days she breaks down; she gets frustrated with herself because she can’t remember what she was going to do. It’s difficult to see, but we handle it well.
“I really want to raise awareness around the disease and what can happen, so hopefully I can help anyone else going through the same thing.”
Meanwhile, despite not finding love in the villa, Tyne-Lexy – who has been single since the villa, but says fellow Islander
Jack Fincham has asked her on a date after lockdown lifts – says she looks back on her Love Island experience with no regrets. Not only did she find “friends for life on the show” – she still keeps in touch with Gabby Allen, Tyla Carr and Georgia Harrison – but it transformed her lifestyle, although she admits there are downsides to fame.
She says, “When I came out of Love Island, I was a student and had nothing.
But the show gave me an opportunity to live the luxury lifestyle everyone sees on Instagram. It’s about giving younger
people a chance, which is great.
“But you do need to have a thick skin in this industry. People think that fame and money are going to be amazing, but there are downsides. I had someone trolling me the other week saying I was repulsive. People don’t understand that [reality stars] get that on a daily basis.”
And Tyne-Lexy adds that she hopes she’ll achieve her dream of becoming an actress one day.
She says, “It was never about becoming a reality star. I’ve always wanted to do acting and my dream would be to be in a Netflix series or a film. Playing a Bond girl would be the ultimate goal!”
By Zara Zubeidi
● Tyne-Lexy is an ambassador for Meningitis Now and has launched a raffle site called Raffleaid. Visit Raffleaid.co.uk, with a proportion of ticket sales donated to Meningitis Now