Anna Vakili: ‘I’ve gone back to work – social media made me lazy’

Love Island star Anna Vakili on why she’s returned to her job as a pharmacist, and the downsides of being an influencer

Love Island's Anna Vakili

by closer |
Updated on

She went straight from the pharmacy to the Love Island villa in 2019, and Anna Vakili reveals she has now gone back to her job as a pharmacist having found the life of an influencer was taking its toll.

Anna shot to fame on the ITV show and left to a flurry of lucrative brand deals and sponsorships. She now has 1.2 million followers on Instagram and has launched a successful podcast – Sisters In The City – with sister Mandi, but she recently took the decision to return to work as a pharmacist part-time.

“It played on my mind that I’d studied so hard to be a pharmacist and I wasn’t using it, and forgetting everything I’d learned,” Anna says, explaining that the decision to go back to work a couple of months ago has already given her a boost. “I feel so much better mentally, I’m enjoying keeping my brain ticking and being back in the job.”

Love Island's Anna Vakili
Looking glam on the red carpet ©Joe Maher/WireImage

Anna has a Master’s degree and studied for five years to qualify to be a pharmacist, and she says that while she was overwhelmed with the opportunities that came with being an influencer, the lack of routine started to affect her mental health. While she will continue with her social media work and her popular podcast, she is enjoying being back in a 9-5 part time.

Anna explains, “Being an influencer, you don’t really have a routine unless you are really disciplined, and I’m not. I can be a bit lazy, sometimes I wouldn’t go to bed until 5am and then get up at 2pm and try to squeeze all my content-making into one day. 
I didn’t like not having a routine and it affected my mental health massively, I felt like I didn’t have enough of a purpose.”

Anna says the life of an influencer – although it looks very glamorous – can also be quite lonely. She says, “Mandi and I do all our work together, so we go out and shoot content and do the podcast together and 
we’d feel very isolated. Now, I love working with people in the pharmacy and meeting patients and building bonds. I get to meet a lot of older people and love chatting to them. It’s nice to be able to help and give back.”

Love Island in 2019

And Anna says being an influencer and a professional has its funny moments. “I get so many people that recognise me
at the pharmacy counter and they’re like, ‘What are you doing here?!’” she laughs. “I don’t post much on social media about my job, I keep the two things quite separate so 
I think it’s a bit of a shock.”

She adds that fans will often wait hours for a photo. “People ask for pictures and I have to say, ‘I can’t right now because I’m at work, but if you want to wait, I can after.' And people sometimes wait around until 6 o’clock when I’m leaving!”

Just last week, winter Love Island 2023 winner Sanam Harrinanan announced she was returning to her job as a social worker, despite enjoying the life of an influencer. She said she will still do that work on the side, but said, “I wanted to stay true to who I am, and making a difference to people’s lives was a big part of it.”

It’s something Anna can relate to. She says, “When I tell other influencers or people who have been on Love Island what I do, they are never surprised. They totally understand the industry and how up and down it can be. Instagram could shut down tomorrow, we don’t know. When I came out of Love Island, I was on such a high, I was making loads of money, had loads of brand deals and then it got to a point where it wasn’t as much money coming in. Then I started my podcast and I’m on a high again, but having that moment in between made me realise that you never know what is going to happen. 
I felt very vulnerable at that time.”

Closer magazine cover

Now she’s back to the 9-5 life, Anna admits she does find it frustrating that there is such a big wage gap between what you can make influencing and the salary of a pharmacist (which starts at around £35k).

She says, “It sucks that you study so hard and you are responsible for people’s lives, and then you come out of Love Island and the amount of money you can make just from Instagram posts is ridiculous compared to a pharmacist’s salary.”

She adds, “The podcast has really taken off and we have lots of plans for this year. I also want to start doing more YouTube too, but I’ll always continue to work in the pharmacy – I’m lucky to enjoy the best of both worlds.”

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