GO wild, have sex – and be selfish.
That’s ex-Love Island star Megan Barton-Hanson’s advice for this year’s band of singletons looking for romance and the chance to win £50,000.
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Megan, who reached the final in 2018, reckons that after a year of Zoom dating, casual sex bans and little chance for holidaying abroad, the new Islanders will be raring to go when the ITV2 show hits our screens again tonight.
She told The Sun: “I hope they don’t hold back and just go out there and enjoy themselves.
“The rest of us can live through them because there’s not much chance of us getting a holiday.”
Bookies reckon the series will be the raunchiest yet, with odds of 2/1 on a romp in the first week.
And Megan is hoping they are right, adding: “It would make great viewing.”
The full line-up was announced last week and includes topless model Shannon Singh, 22, who demands sex eight times a day.
Megan, 27, said: “It’s a very typical Love Island cast. I think we’ll be in for a good series.”
This year is the seventh series, with the summer staple returning after a year’s absence due to Covid.
In 2019, when it was hosted by the late Caroline Flack, it broke previous records by attracting six million viewers.
Megan, who is single and would “100 per cent” go back on the show, said: “I’m super-excited for it. I’ve just missed it so much.
“It’s part of everyone’s summer. From your nan to the married man who insists he only watches it because his wife has it on, everyone deep down secretly loves it.”
The current 11 hopefuls had been quarantining in Mallorca, Spain.
‘I KISSED HALF THE BOYS BEFORE I DECIDED ON WES’
Megan’s biggest tip for the newbies is to forget about appealing to the viewers and for them to go after the person they fancy — even if it means playing dirty and stepping on toes.
She said: “Some people take the easy route and want to be liked by everyone.
“If there’s someone they fancy but that person is already in a couple, then instead of following their heart, they miss their chance because they don’t want to be seen as a bad person. You’ve got to be a bit selfish.”
Megan knows all too well what it feels like to emerge from Love Island as the baddie after she ruffled a few feathers in her quest to couple up with Wes Nelson.
After entering the villa on day eight, she romped with Eyal Booker before catching Wes’s eye while he was dating fellow contestant Laura Anderson.
Megan said: “People had strong opinions about me because I went for what I wanted. I didn’t hold back.
“I kissed probably half the boys in the villa before I decided it was Wes I wanted to be with.
“It’s not nice to read the comments afterwards.
“But if you’re getting with someone you can see yourself falling in love with, it’s irrelevant.
“You’re in that honeymoon stage, in your little bubble together and it matters less if you’re hated. It did with me, anyway.”
This week, Wes defended having sex on the show — or “doing bits”, as he would say — and insisted it hasn’t had a negative effect on his career.
While Megan has been in demand, with her lucrative OnlyFans work and empowering podcast You Come First, she thinks the reaction was quite different for her.
She said: “Men have it so easy. There is still so much stigma around women even saying they enjoy sex, let alone doing it on national TV.
“I hope it doesn’t stop the girls there this year from living their life. Sex is a natural part of life. Yet we still see the stereotype in films that men love sex and women just do it for the husband on their birthday.
“When Wes and I were interviewed afterwards, I would always be asked if I regretted having sex on TV and if my parents were embarrassed. They didn’t ask Wes.
“It’s as if people wanted me to be ashamed, but I’m not going to be.”
For Megan, it would have been impossible to hold back.
She said: “I did think, ‘I’ve had sex with one person in the villa, maybe I shouldn’t have sex with someone else’.
“But my feelings for Wes were so genuine, I couldn’t spend every waking moment with him and not do it.”
Not that she didn’t try to cover up their steamy sessions.
She said: “There are microphones in the headboards. I would try to tuck them away so the producers wouldn’t hear but they’ve got eagle eyes and would shout over the tannoy, ‘Megan, don’t touch the microphones!’.”
Show bosses want to make sure they catch every bit of juicy gossip, which is why they separate the girls from the boys on any of the non-filming days. They also chaperone during the meal times, which aren’t filmed.
Megan said: 'We used to joke it was s**t chat only at lunch'
And if viewers have ever wondered why they don’t see more couples getting it on in that luscious pool, it’s because they have to ditch their microphones.
I hope the new contestants don’t hold back. The rest of us can live through them because there’s not much chance of us getting a holiday
Megan said: “You can go in for a kiss but if you start having a conversation, we would hear, ‘Megan and Wes, out of the pool now’.” While the contestants are not told what to say or how to act, they are sometimes given a little nudge in the right direction. Megan said: “They see everything so they knew I fancied Wes and said, ‘Why don’t you tell him how you feel?’. The crew act like your wing woman.”
Those romantic chats between couples might appear off the cuff, but there is a chance it is not the first time they’ve uttered the words.
If the crew misses a tender moment, they could well sweep over and ask the pair to repeat what happened.
Megan said: “It might have been a really cute moment the first time, but then you have to say it again and it’s so awkward.”
It is just part of the strange Love Island world, in which phones and clocks are barred and booze is rationed. Megan said: “You can imagine on highly stressful days, if someone’s been sent home and everyone’s crying, all you want to do is have a drink. You get one or two glasses of wine a night.
“It’s a good thing though. There would be a lot more tears with more alcohol.”
Fame, social media followers and big-money deals could follow a successful stint in the villa.
Series two champs Alex and Olivia Bowen are estimated to have made £4.4million since leaving the show in 2016.
Amber Gill, who scooped the £50,000 winner’s cheque in 2019, has gone on to get a £1million fashion deal, her own clothing range and can command £10,000 for sponsored Instagram posts. But Megan warns it is easy to spot those who are in the villa for the wrong reasons.
She said: “Sometimes when we were having meals, which are with the crew, some of the contestants would ask how many Instagram followers they had got.
‘IT’S NOT LIKE THE OUTSIDE WORLD’
“I remember thinking, ‘It’s so obvious why you’re here’. You can see people’s true intentions.”
As for having a game plan, forget it. Megan encountered one contestant who had written instructions for a dance routine in her suitcase, prepared in the event they had to put on a talent show.
Megan said: “If you go in there with a game plan, there is only so long you can keep that up before the real you comes out.”
The “real” Megan came out in geeky and awkward moments.
She was stunned to find out when she left the villa that her cheeky request for a kiss from Wes had been made into “cringe” memes.
She said: “I thought, ‘I’m never going to live it down’.
“You have to embrace these things. If you stumble over your words or you’re a bit geeky, I think that’s endearing.
“I am a bit geeky, but I own it. I think, ‘Whatever’.
“The worst thing was when I smiled at Laura after spending the night outside with Wes.
“It must have come across as really catty and bitchy, but I just didn’t know what to do, I was dying inside. I apologised afterwards and said I should have handled it differently.
“You have to get over these things because you’re living together, it’s not like the outside world when you can avoid them.”
Despite the dramas, Megan reckons being on Love Island is like going to a retreat.
She said: “There are no phones, no social media, you don’t know the time.
“You go back to being like a kid again, all your meals are cooked for you.
“It was one of the happiest times of my life.
“I’m jealous of the new people. After the year we’ve had and the lack of holidays, I’d pack my suitcase in seconds if I was asked to go back.”
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