Zara Holland has compared Love Island to “a posh prison”, speaking about how “controlled” life inside the villa is and why she now isn’t the same girl she was when she entered the ITV2 show.
In an interview with the BBC, Holland, who was a contestant on series two in 2016, revealed that she was taking anti-depressants and had been seeing her own psychiatrist and psychologist since January.
“It was just like being in a posh prison, really,” the 22-year-old explained. “You have two producers that do live in the villa with you, 24/7, so every day we would have talks with them and they would ask how you’re feeling, who you think are the best couples.
“And then they might say to you ‘Right Zara, so now can you go sit by the pool, we’re going to send so and so over and this is what we want you to talk about.
“It was so controlled in there that you got told when to go to bed, when to wake up, when dinner was.”
“I was just not the same girl that I was,” Zara said of her pre and post Love Island self. “I would be so upset all the time, I’d be tired, it was really hard. Really hard.
“Being in the villa, there was so much pressure,” she said. “For me personally, I feel like I had a really tough experience just because, well I went in there, didn’t find anyone, I was never in a couple as such so I always felt very lonely and on my own.
“There was a psychiatrist all the time you could speak to in the villa,” she added. “But you had to ask for it, it was never ‘would anybody like to speak to it today’.”
Responding in a statement, ITV said: “All of our islanders are offered psychological support before, during and after their time in the villa.
“We take our duty of care very seriously and this is always our top priority. We discuss with islanders before and after the show how their lives might change and the difficulties they might face.”
Concluding, Zara said: “If I was saying to any young girl that was going to enter a reality show or Love Island, I would say just really think before you apply.”