Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu has drawn on her Love Island experience to give some expert advice to the new stars ahead of the summer series launch on Monday.
Television personality Ekin-Su, 28, won the series last summer with boyfriend Davide Sanclimenti, also 28, but she has warned newcomers to the programme that the road to love may be bumpy.
The actress admitted her arrival in the villa wasn’t too pleasant as she was very aware the other Islanders were reacting to her in a hostile manner.
She explained to new! magazine: ‘You don’t have to look like a model or Barbie to go on there, as I didn’t! When I looked in the mirror, I felt b**tchy vibes [around me].
‘I am not going to lie, and I was older [than the others] so I just said it straight. I am not just that girl who is nice to you. I wasn’t there to make friends, I wasn’t there to mess around.’
Wisdom: Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu, 28, has drawn on her Love Island experience to give some expert advice to the new stars ahead of the summer series launch on Monday
Champs: Television personality Ekin-Su, 28, won the series last summer with boyfriend Davide Sanclimenti, also 28
She added: ‘I was just myself the whole time, the whole time. It felt very overwhelming to win, it was good to be accepted for who I actually was.’
Former Dancing On Ice contestant Ekin-Su told how she found the environment intense as she never had a moment to herself.
She said there were cameras and microphones all over the villa, including mics under the bed, while she was unable to go to the toilet properly for three weeks because she hated being watched.
However, she insisted staff were on hand to listen to her any time she needed, with the Islanders having daily check-ins to ensure their wellbeing.
Back in January, she said during a speech at the Cambridge Union: ‘It is a very mentally hard place to be in, you have to be strong to apply and I am not just saying that, you have to be.
‘You just have to be yourself, that is all I can say. If you don’t know who you are, then that is something else you have to work on.
Once Ekin-Su was settled in to the villa, she grew more comfortable with Italian businessman Davide, and the couple are still together today after winning their series.
She said: ‘Your best friend could be your partner, you never know. They could be your soulmate, but maybe you won’t try because maybe you will think he is not that fit.
Speaking out: Ekin-Su has warned newcomers to the programme that the road to love may be bumpy (pictured on Love Island last year)
Looks fade and as you get older you realise that this [heart] is more important than this [looks].
‘Love is linked to yourself, so I think you have to love yourself to love someone else. When I was 19 or 20, I wanted the years to speed up. Don’t go looking for love and don’t pretend to be someone else, and you never know.’
It comes after Ekin-Su claimed she ‘lost every friend’ she had after appearing on Love Island.
She said finding both love and fame has come at a cost as she has ‘deleted’ people from her life after seeing their ‘true colours’.
She told Cosmopolitan UK: ‘I’ve lost every friend I had. I don’t have any friends. I have one friend and that’s it.
‘Unfortunately, with the fame, you see people’s true colours. People just want to be your friend because of your status, and it’s a hard industry to trust.
‘No, I don’t actually have friends left.
‘People I’d known for 10 years who were in my life… Selling stories is not very nice. I wouldn’t do that to someone.
First Love Island stars REVEALED: Beautician Ruchee Gurung, 24, from Sutton and Tyrique Hyde, a 24-year-old semi pro footballer from Essex, were the first on the the list of sexy singles revealed to be entering the villa for 2023 summer series
Stunner: Actress Molly Marsh is also headed into the villa
He’s in! Following on from the trio is George Fensom, 24, a Business Development Executive from Bedford, 24, who is also looking for love on the show
Hunky: Upping the hunk factor on the show is French model Mehdi Edno, 26, who producers are said to be will be the next Davide Sancliment, after the Italian Stallion won the last series with Ekin-Su Cülcülo¿lu
‘If they were happy, I would support them. Unfortunately, I had that coming out of the villa, I had to delete people out of my life.’
However, she insisted she is ‘happier’ now because she prefers to have only a small number of people in her life.
She added: ‘But I am happier this way.
‘Sometimes keeping your circle small is the best, and you don’t always need friends. So long as you know who you are, that’s fine.’
The daughter of a soap actress, a beautician, footballer and French model are among the first of the new Love Island cast.
Their names were released on Monday by ITV2 ahead of the contestants entering the villa next month for the summer run of the dating show, which starts 5 June.
The entrance of Molly Marsh – whose mum Janet has had roles in a string of British soaps – was first reported earlier this month, and confirming she had signed up, she said: ‘With my job being in social media, I’ve had some amazing opportunities to go on press trips and I’ve actually been out to the LoveIsland Villas in Mallorca and South Africa.
‘Having the experience to walk around both was amazing but to now actually live in the Villa is going to be incredible.’
Stunner: Glaswegian model Ella Thomas 23, is also set to bring her award-winning looks to the villa while hunky Mitchel Taylor is vowing to bring his gentlemanly charm
Fill it up! London-native Jess Harding, 22, is an Aesthetics Practitioner
Here he is: Economics graduate and clothing brand entrepreneur Andre Furtado, 21, from Dudley has signed up
Doncaster-born Molly, 21, boasts 26,000 followers on her Instagram and she is thought to have caught show bosses’ eyes after taking a tour of the winter villa in January.
She added when asked why she wants to go on Love Island: ‘I think it’s ideal timing and the perfect way to find someone.
‘I don’t go out and party and I don’t use dating apps, I’m actually quite old-fashioned, so there’s no better way to meet someone than by going into a Villa in the sun with the potential “one” in there.
‘I live on a farm with my mum, dad, sister, grandma, grandad, aunty, uncle, cousin, cousin’s husband, their baby and chicken.’
Beautician Ruchee Gurung, 24, from Sutton, semi-pro footballer Tyrique Hyde, 24, from Essex, and Bedford-born business development executive George Fensom, 24, as well as Catherine Agbaje, 22, a Commercial Real Estate Agent from Dublin, are also part of the line-up.
Like former contestant Tasha Amber Ghouri, Tyrique is deaf, with the sportsman lacking hearing in one ear.
He has marked his disability with a tattoo, saying: ‘I’m deaf in my right ear. I’ve got a tattoo next to my left one that symbolises strength and power in my good one.’
French model Mehdi Edno, 26, is being tipped to the be this season’s Davide, and Glaswegian model Ella Thomas 23, has also signed up.
Love Island will air from 9pm on 5 June on ITV2 and ITVX.
MEET THE ISLANDERS
NAME: Ruchee Gurung
WHY ENTER THE VILLA? I’m single and looking for love, and it’s the perfect opportunity for me to find someone. I’m a relationship kind of girl, but so far it’s not worked out for me.
WHY DATE ME? I’m really caring, when I’m with someone I’m all about them. I’m also really loyal and love doing nice things for the people that are special to me. My love language is gift giving, so I’m a real giver when it comes to relationships
NAME: Tyrique Hyde
WHAT WILL YOU BRING TO THE VILLA? I’ll bring vibes, confidence, good energy and honesty. I don’t sit on the fence, if I have an opinion I will speak up. I’m also not afraid to go after what I want
CLAIM T0 FAME? Toby Aromolaran is one of my best friends, we grew up together and were in the same class at school
NAME: Molly Marsh
WHY LOVE ISLAND AND WHY NOW? I think it’s ideal timing and the perfect way to find someone.
I don’t go out and party and I don’t use dating apps, I’m actually quite old-fashioned, so there’s no better way to meet someone than by going into a Villa in the sun with the potential ‘one’ in there.
NAME: George Fensom
OCCUPATION: Business Development Executive
HOW WOULD YOUR FAMILY DESCRIBE YOU? I’m the first person to bring the vibe up, I’m always dancing, I’m always the one who wants to go out. My go-to dance move is what I call the Dad Dance, I’m gonna bring dad jokes and dad dancing to the Villa.’
NAME: Catherine Agbaje
OCCUPATION: Commercial Real Estate Agent
HOW WOULD FAMILY AND FRIENDS DESCRIBE YOU? Someone who is fun and a loving character. They know I have so much love to give.
I’m always smiling, I’m always happy, I’m always laughing. You’ll always see me with a smile on my face.’
NAME: Mehdi Edno
OCCUPATION: Communications Manager/Model
ARE YOU READY TO FIND THE ONE? Yes. I’ve been busy for the last few years with work, and doing my Masters degree but now I’m done with the busy schedule, and ready to find love.
THREE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO HAVE IN A PARTNER? Looks are important but they aren’t everything, a good sense of humour and someone who is outgoing and up for an adventure is what I’m looking for.
NAME: Ella Thomas
WHAT’S YOUR CLAIM TO FAME? I’ve been in a Headie One and Burna Burna Boy music video and I was once an extra in World War Z. I was 12 years old when I filmed it and got to meet Brad Pitt which was cool.
WHY SHOULD SOMEBODY DATE YOU? I’m the whole package, I know what I want in life and I’ve got a big heart.
NAME: Mitchel Taylor
OCCUPATION: Gas engineer
WHY SHOULD SOMEBODY DATE YOU? I thrive on being a gentleman. I’ll shower you with flowers, I’ll take you on dates, I’ll fill your bedside drawer with your favourite sweets and chocolate. I’ve been single, I’ve had my fun and now I want to settle down.
WHY ARE YOU SINGLE? I’m just really picky. I’ve got to find the girl that I want to marry and have kids with. I’m nearly 27, I don’t want to play the field anymore, I want to find the one.
NAME: Jess Harding
OCCUPATION: Aesthetics Practitioner
WHY ARE YOU SINGLE? Because every boy is giving me the ick at the moment. I feel like it’s fate because I’m saving myself for Mr Right in the Villa!
WHAT GIVES YOU THE ICK? When a guy stunts for money, that’s an ick. Showing off all their designer clothes because most of the time they’re probably fake anyway! Another one is when a boy runs for the train and the train goes without him. Lunch Boxes also – just go to Tesco and get a meal deal!
NAME: Andre Furtado
OCCUPATION: Economics graduate and clothing brand entrepreneur
WHAT WILL YOU BRING TO THE VILLA? I’m charming, I’m going to bring good looks and some language lessons. I’m going to teach the other Islanders Portuguese, Spanish and a little bit of Creole. I think I’ve got every slice of the pie.
DO YOU FALL IN LOVE QUICKLY? I would say I fall too quickly to be honest. When I look at beautiful ladies, before I’ve said hello to them I’ve already fallen in love. I’m already planning the wedding.