Inside Love Island audition process as bosses ‘ban filtered pics’ and pick next line-up
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Love Island gives its contestants the opportunity to find love, boost their Instagram followers and land a number of lucrative clothing deals. If they're lucky, it lands them all three.
But an islander's journey begins well before the first episode appears on our screens.
This year's audition process was a little different to previous series, with Zoom interviews replacing group auditions and filters banned from photo uploads.
Singletons trying out for a spot in Love Island 2021 were warned as part of their application that their headshots and full length snaps all needed to be untouched.
Future contestants were asked to upload a one minute video explaining why they would make a great islander.
They were also tasked with writing a dating profile for themselves, accompanied with details of how their friends and family would describe them.
What's ITV's official callout?
A casting call from ITV2 for the show read: "ITV2 are looking for vibrant singles from across the UK who want to head to the sun, in search of a summer of love.
"The chosen cast will spend time in a luxury villa, getting to know one another, but to remain in paradise they must win the hearts of the public and their fellow Islanders who ultimately decide their fate on Love Island."
Having being part of the 2017 cast, Montana Brown told hopefuls to be "really enthusiastic" throughout the whole process.
She previously told Glamour: "Don't just blend into the background. Remember some really funny stories and tell [the executives].
"Don't just say 'Oh I'm really fun'. Yeah, but why are you fun? What makes you different."
What are the group auditions like?
Before the pandemic, one student told The Tab she was called by ITV after applying as a joke.
“I kept getting this call about October time, then eventually I answered like ‘Hi, why are you calling me?’ and someone said ‘Hi it’s ITV, we want to talk to you about something”, she said. “Then they fired a bunch of questions at me like ‘Have you ever been on TV? Tell us funny things about yourself. What do you study? What are your interests? What kind of person would you say you are? What kind of guy are you into?' Then they invited me to a physical audition.”
The student says her in-person audition was a month later, at the ITV studios in London.
"I was a mess," she told The Tab. "I was wearing baggy grey cargo trousers, Doc Marten boots, a grey smock that was big enough to put three of me in and a beret. I had just had my hair cut, it looked gross, and my fake eyelashes were falling off. I didn’t realise you had to dress like you were going on a date."
She says she was taken from reception to the audition room where she was asked to sit with 30 other hopefuls.
“After I had been sat in the waiting area for a bit I was called up to the audition room, which was this massive room filled with women who were just unreal looking," she said. "I feel like we get really desensitised when they’re actually on the screen. You’re so used to people looking good on TV, that they just look kinda normal.
“They were all fake tanned, white teeth, no obvious surgery though but maybe you just can’t tell. Everyone else was wearing bodycon dresses – Missguided, stuff like that. I didn’t realise people’s figures actually looked like that, I just thought they were edited on Instagram. Honestly, there were people there with bodies I didn’t even have when I was a teenager. Teeny tiny waists, super perky boobs."
The student says ITV staff asked the women to fill out a questionnaire which would tell the producers a little about themselves.
Then she and a bunch of other women were lead into separate rooms for screen tests.
As part of the questions in the screen test, the student says the producers asked if she had engaged in any risky behaviour that would reflect badly on her if it came out when she was in the villa.
She also says the area where she was sat with the other hopefuls wasn’t just a waiting room, it was an area for them to assess how the girls interacted.
She says a lot of the women in the room were scouted, mainly from ITV staff finding their Instagram profiles and messaging them on the app.
What do the casting producers say?
Casting producer for the show Lewis Evans says: “We cast our net far and wide by looking at social media profiles (Twitter and Instagram) as it’s always quite easy to gauge on there people who are popular, aren’t afraid to show themselves off and have a big following.
"We also attend events and hold street castings for prospective Islanders.
"The key is that they are over 18, single and looking for love."
"It’s all about having a great mix of desirable, aspirational singletons who have interesting and engaging personalities to keep our viewers glued and entertained by what’s going on in the villa," he adds.
"One of the main questions we ask, from the outset, is if they would choose love or money. It’s always important to us that anyone coming onto the show is open to finding the girl or guy of their dreams."
Can you apply via Tinder?
From March 22 this year, singletons using Tinder spotted Love Island 'Swipe Cards' appearing between potential matches.
If you saw the card and swiped right, your Tinder profile was submitted to the Tinder team for review and verification.
If you were chosen, you were added to a Priority List which meant you were guaranteed to be seen by the Love Island casting team.
What makes you stand out?
Although most people leave the villa with lucrative clothing deals under their belt and millions of Instagram followers, the producers are apparently old romantics at heart and just want contestants looking for love.
Former contestant Sophie Piper – Rochelle Hume's sister – said wanted to go on the show because she'd been single for "500 years", while Niall Aslam from 2018 said: "I made a little video of me basically saying I'd DMed everyone in the city to no avail so now I need to get on the Island to get some action. Obviously they must have agreed with me."
Islander Leanne Amaning said she was "herself" in the video she submitted, but "an exaggerated version", while Laura Anderson from 2018 maintains you should pull out all the stops – because producers told her that her entry was the best of the year.
Laura went to great lengths to make a mini-documentary about her life – and managed to cram it all into one minute.
"Anyone talking to the camera is a bit strange and anyone can be good at the old chat so I wanted to make it as real as possible so I did a day in the life," she said.
Laura filmed little clips of everything she got up to in an average day in Dubai – including filming herself on a plane in her role as an air hostess, doing a workout session in an outdoor gym and even riding on a camel in the desert.
The producers also apparently love contestants who have an interesting story to tell.
For example, Connor Durman worked as a butler in the buff, Paige Turley appeared on Britain's Got Talent and dated Lewis Capaldi and Nas Majeed was a semi-pro footballer.
Islander Hayley Hughes said: "The producers had contacted me via Instagram in previous years but I’ve had boyfriends. Every year I said I’d do Love Island if I wasn’t in a relationship, so I decided this was my year.
"I’m not like an influencer but obviously if you do modelling, like me, you have to show yourself off and look your best on Instagram so that is probably why they contacted me."
Wes Nelson agreed and said Instagram holds the key.
"I am pretty serious about Instagram, I do take it seriously and spend a lot of time on there," he said. "I don’t post as regularly as a lot of influencers do but I do enjoy posting my fitness videos and lifestyle pictures with friends. Maybe they thought: 'He’s in decent-ish shape, he’s an alright looking fella, let’s put him on the show.'"
What about the small print?
To apply, hopefuls have to be over the age of 18, have a valid passport and be available for a minimum of eight weeks in order to film the show.
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