Former Love Island contestants Adam Collard and Zara McDermott have opened up about the negative online criticism they’ve faced – predominantly regarding their appearance – since leaving the villa.
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The duo appeared on ITV’s Lorraine on Wednesday to talk about the effect internet bullying has on its victims – including Adam’s friend and 2016 Love Island contestant Sophie Gradon, who took her own life earlier this year.
In recent weeks, the pair have been targeted by online trolls, some of whom have suggested that Zara get plastic surgery.
“I think, in Love Island, it’s an overnight fame you find,” Zara said, when asked about the negative comments. “This is like you are catapulted into this world where all of a sudden people feel they have the right to comment negatively on everything you do, just because you are in the public eye.”
“I don’t think it’s the comments that are so tough for me because I understand people have opinions. But it’s actually the fact I can’t empathise with someone else who chooses to comment negatively on my appearance because I would never do it to anyone else. I can’t understand why anyone would do it.”
But while Zara says she has toyed with biting back at the commenters, Adam says he tries his best not to engage.
“I try not to look at them as much,” he said. “I try not to get involved.The people who are commenting are usually insecure. I think some of the people that are commenting would probably regret some of the things they say the instant they are sent.”
He added that he saw online bullying take its toll on his friend, Sophie Gradon: “She was in my friendship group as well. When I knew Sophie, she was one of the strongest girls I knew. It proves it can get to anyone and people need to really think.”