Bombshell Andrea-Jane: what happened to diversifying the villa?

They're not even trying anymore

Blonde diversity love island

by Marianna Manson |
Updated on

Every year we enter into Love Island with the same misguided hope that this will be the year that we finally see some diversity in the line-up, but the 2021 series seems to be lacking even more than usual.

With two blondes in the original line up and a further four blonde bombshells in the first three weeks, we can’t help feeling like producers simply aren’t reading the room when it comes to the kind of people we want to see on TV.

Or maybe, in fact, they are. While slim, blonde and blue-eyed has long been the idealised beauty standard, maybe producers are simply appeasing our desire to watch beautiful people on TV over the diversity we claim we want.

Andrea-Jane Bunker
The newest bombshell is also a blonde ©ITV

But with Love Island’s colossal platform as a TV show watched by virtually an entire generation, doesn’t it have a responsibility to change the narrative? While people of colour, plus size and differently abled influencers work relentlessly to diversify the kinds of people we consume on social media, Love Island could literally turn the tide on what we think of as ‘beautiful’ in a mere eight weeks – yet it continues to propagate, seemingly shamelessly, the same tired tropes.

They’re not even pretending to be diverse anymore.

But when it comes to supply and demand the men that have been cherry picked for series aren’t exactly making it easy for them. Both Hugo and Jake have specified they like ‘blondes’ and Toby made his feelings clear when he spent weeks spurning Kaz’s attempts at affection but quickly changed his tune after Chloe made a play for him. Two women of colour have been sent home just days after arriving.

CHECK OUT: Love Island stars who were friends before going on the show

Gallery

Love Island stars who were friends before going on the show - slider

Amber Gill and Ellie Brown1 of 10
CREDIT: ITV

Amber Gill and Ellie Brown

It turns out Amber and Ellie were pals before Love Island 2019. In fact, Anna Vakili described Ellie as Amber's former "best friend". However things turned sour when Ellie started dating Amber's ex Michael Griffiths...

Chuggs and Hugo Williams2 of 10
CREDIT: ITV

Chuggs and Hugo Williams

When it was announced that Chuggs was heading into the villa, Hugo was quick to reveal that they actually know each other. Turns out they're friends after going to Oxford Brooks university together.

Georgia Steel and Amber Davies3 of 10
CREDIT: Getty Images

Georgia Steel and Amber Davies

Okay so technically they were not friends but after Georgia spotted Amber on a night out, she asked the Love Island 2017 star for some advice."I saw her in a bar and she said to me, 'Can you put me forward?' I said, 'Yeah, that's fine, I'll do it.'"Her mum just said to me it was actually me, then I put two and two together," Amber explained on Lorraine.She added, "It was perfect. I'm a little scout. ITV need to give me a job."

Wes Nelson and Aaron Francis4 of 10
CREDIT: ITV

Wes Nelson and Aaron Francis

Again, Wes and Aaron were not pals before the latter stepped into the villa in 2021 BUT they did know each other... kind of. Wes did an Instagram competition where he gave one of his followers a PS5 and it turns out it was Aaron.

Alexandra Cane and Megan Barton Hanson5 of 10
CREDIT: ITV

Alexandra Cane and Megan Barton Hanson

During the Love Island 2018 series, contestants were left shocked when it came to light that Alexandra and Megan had KISSED before going on the show... Turns out, they starred in a music video together and that's why they kissed.

Adam Collard and Ellie Brown6 of 10
CREDIT: Getty Images

Adam Collard and Ellie Brown

When Ellie (alongside Zara McDermott) arrived in the villa as a bombshell, Adam revealed that he already knew her. Turns out, Adam dated one of Ellie's friends outside the villa and dumped her.

Lucie Donlan and Arabella Chi7 of 10
CREDIT: ITV

Lucie Donlan and Arabella Chi

During Love Island 2019 it came to light that Lucie and Arabella kind of knew each other before going into the villabecause they were talking to the same guy... Love Island 2018 star Charlie Frederick. However their awkward past didn't stop them from being friends in the villa.

Molly-Mae Hague and Kendall Rae Knight8 of 10
CREDIT: ITV

Molly-Mae Hague and Kendall Rae Knight

It's well known that Molly-Mae was an influencer before her time on Love Island and it turns out she went on a press trip with Kendall just a few months before going into the villa.

Anna Vakili and Sherif Lanre9 of 10
CREDIT: ITV

Anna Vakili and Sherif Lanre

They may not have been friends before meeting in the villa but Sherif revealed that he actually slid into Anna's Instagram DMs before going on the show.

Maura Higgins and Curtis Pritchard10 of 10
CREDIT: ITV

Maura Higgins and Curtis Pritchard

They were the 2019 couple no one saw coming but after Maura and Curtis went official with their romance, there wereclaims that they'd known each other for YEARS. It all came about after a Dancing With The Stars pro claimed they'd 'cast eyes' at each other backstage years before, back when Curtis was on the show as a professional dancer and Maura visited the set a few times. Hmm.

Rachel Finni
Rachel Finni and Shannon Singh were sent home within days ©Love Island

When bombshell Andrea-Jane Bunker was introduced last night as the ‘prize’ for the boys after winning a game of Stags V Hens, Twitter’s collective eye-roll was trending.

“Just what we needed another blonde! #LoveIsland” said 2019 series winner Amber Gill – a sentiment echoed by many.

“Just rename this sh-t Blonde Island and be done with it man ffs,” tweeted another, with one more writing, “Another blonde. Casa Amor better be full of so much melanin #LoveIsland.”

Love Island have defended themselves in the past by explaining that the nature of the show means that Islanders need to fancy each other, which feels like a not-so-thinly veiled suggestion that diverse bodies are not attractive – which is clearly untrue, but if it’s the case within the villa then doesn’t that say more about the men they’re putting in, or the ones casting them?

WATCH: Shannon Singh spills the tea on her 'deleted scenes' in the villa | Love Island Secrets

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As many mentioned at the beginning of the show when Kaz was picked last of the original line up, Love Island has fallen into a pattern of tokenism, with the single woman of colour in the initial line-up usually pitted as the ‘least desirable’ and ‘blonde hair and blue eyes’ more often than not code for ‘white’.

And it’s not a pattern that seems to be mirrored with the guys. ‘Types on paper’ has become part of the fabric of Love Island and wouldn’t it be fairer to include some lads in the villa whose type on paper isn’t blonde and blue eyed?

Love Island is hardly a reflection of real life but it does place traditional dating rituals under a microscope, and while these specific physical attributes are universally acknowledged as ‘hot’, it can never be truly diverse.

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