It’s been almost two years since Camilla Thurlow firmly established herself as the nation’s sweetheart in the third series of Love Island.
The 29-year-old broke the Love Island mould with both her relatively shy and retiring nature and her background as a bomb disposal expert – a stark contrast to the Insta-influencers and models that usually dominate the ITV2 programme.
After failing to find lasting romance with a string of new arrivals to the villa, Camilla finally clicked with Calvin Klein model Jamie Jewitt, the pair placing second at the end of the series.
Still happily coupled up with Jamie, Camilla is now returning to her “first love” of bomb disposal as she travels to Cambodia for her new one-off programme, What Camilla Did Next.
And despite not having the easiest ride on Love Island, Camilla says she will “always be grateful” for the opportunities the series has provided her with.
“I felt so fortunate after Love Island because I suddenly had a platform for something that is so important to me,” she told RadioTimes.com. “My new show is quite true to my personal journey post-Love Island, a big part of which was me trying to work out how I reconciled my old life with my new life.
“The ability to share that with people was too good to pass up.”
Camilla decided to enter the sun-soaked reality show in 2017 to “push herself” after having worked abroad for so many years.
“It was really to do with breaking down social barriers I’d put up. I knew it was so far out of my comfort zone, but in my experience I knew that’s how I’d progress,” she said. “It is an incredibly sociable programme as there’s no phones, there’s no TV, there’s no books, it was everything I was afraid of, but in some ways that’s good because it was everything I felt I needed.”
Her experience of the show has led to Camilla fiercely defend Love Island against criticism in its most recent series, telling Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan that he had an “superiority complex” when he said he had no interest “in the thick people of Love Island.”
“I will always be a passionate defender of the show, I will always be incredibly lucky to have been part of the series,” she said. “I am very much against placing restrictions on people or telling people what type of person they are because of the activities they partake in.
“I think it’s really limiting, particularly on young people, it’s basically telling them they can’t embrace all aspects of their personality.
Jamie and Camilla, Love Island (Getty)
“In any way when you’re placing restrictions on people, you’re making it harder for them to be the person you’re meant to be and to be a fulfilled person. That’s why I felt particularly strongly about that. I really don’t believe in labelling people in that way.”
While Camilla teased that we may be seeing more of her and Jamie on our screens later in the year, for now she’s looking forward to watching the new series of Love Island.
“J and I have got a few big trips planned that we’re keeping a secret for the time being, but I’ve got no summer plans [so I can] watch Love Island,” she said.
“The casting team are so amazing at casting that show, I think we’re going to have a brilliant range of people this year, I’m really looking forward to it.”
What Camilla Did Next airs tonight, Wednesday 30th January, at 9pm on ITVBe