Here’s what Yewande and Marcel said in their Love Island evidence to MPs

Is this real life?


It was a relief to see Yewande and Marcel arrive in Parliament yesterday, but sadly the former Love Island contestants weren't there to sort out the absolute dumpster fire going on in the main chamber.

Instead, they spoke for over an hour to the inquiry into reality TV, telling MPs what it's like behind the scenes on Love Island.

The pair revealed who applied, what lockdown's really like, and the extent of racist abuse they received after the show.

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Marcel didn't go on as a 2016 bombshell because he didn't think the show was diverse enough

Marcel had been approached through his agent in 2016 to go on the show but didn't because he felt entering the villa as a bombshell would have been playing up to a stereotype. "I wasn’t too sure I wanted to go onto the show at that time because the show didn’t look very diverse to me," he said.

"I had a feeling from watching that I was going to be alienated on the show," Marcel said. "I kind of felt like I didn’t want to be a character going on there stealing someone's girl because that’s going to make me into a negative caricature."

And he didn't actually mention Blazin Squad all that much

The next year, Marcel agreed to go on the show from the start. Then, his habit of dropping Blazin Squad in at every opportunity became a meme. In fact, "they edited it together to make it sound like I said it all the time, but I actually didn’t," he said.

Yewande and Marcel gave evidence to the Digital Culture Media and Sport Select Committee as part of an inquiry set up to investigate how reality TV shows care for their contestant.

Established after the death of Steve Dymond, a guest on the Jeremy Kyle Show, the inquiry has also been releasing behind-the-scenes documents from Love Island, including official behaviour forms, medical documents and warnings from the producers.

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Yewande was one of the only ones this year to apply

Yewande revealed she applied to be on the show because she "wanted to do something different". Only six of this year's 36 Islanders put themselves forward.

Unaware of this, Yewande told the MPs she thought around 40 per cent applied. She replied with a stunned "really!" when told only a handful of this year's Islanders applied.

Lockdown's fun if you've got the right chaperone

In lockdown, Yewande said, everything depends on your chaperone. Although your phone and watch get taken, if you're lucky you can go out and about. "My chaperone was very up for going out and doing drinks," Yewande said.

Producers might not be the puppet masters we think they are

Yewande says the producers don't have a heavy hand. "One of the producers could come up and say 'well, if you feel like that, why don't you come up and speak to that person'," she said, but felt it was necessary.

"There were times where they’d ask you to hold off talking about something until they could set something up to capture the moment," said Marcel.

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Racist abuse forced Marcel and Yewande to change how they use social media

The pair also spoke about racist abuse received after the show. Yewande stopped checking her message requests after abusive messages. Marcel says Gabby was getting "the most vulgar things" sent to her after she came off the show with him because she was white.

Marcel said he filtered out certain words and started blocking people after a point. "They do it behind the shield of their phone, and probably wouldn't say it to your face," says Marcel.

The aftercare process has been ramped up recently

Speaking about the aftercare he received, Marcel said he was happy with it, but that it wasn't as extensive as recent years. "Once you've done the show, some people in my year did a few more conversations. But if you weren't doing that, you're left to your own devices."

Meanwhile, Yewande describes this year's experience as "totally different". She had social media training, extensive care after the villa, and built a relationship with her support staff.

"They follow your social media, ask you how events were. I think the support is really good."

Whilst in the villa, welfare staff came in and chatted to them during breakfast and lunch. "They nearly became our friends even though they were welfare," says Yewande. Marcel added this wasn't something he had during his year.

Both want a bit more body diversity on the show

MPs also asked about body diversity on the show – a hot topic after a producer claimed cast members wouldn't be attracted to plus-size contestants.

"It would definitely add more to the show, because it’s not just athletically built people who fall in love," said Marcel.

"It would be good for them to have a bit more variance in the figures and shapes of people they put on the show."

Meanwhile, Yewande argued the lack of body diversity on the show reflected a wider issue in what society saw as attractive. "It would be nice if people of different body shapes applied to the show," she said.

"That would make a massive difference in terms of casting."

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