20 June 2019 | Abigail Duncan

With the fifth series of Love Island starting this month, we take a look into how the reality stars have already shot to stardom…and how they became hot targets for brands before they even went into the villa!

It’s no secret the wildly popular reality show propels contestants into overnight fame, with some seeing an instant increase in social media followers after just one episode, as brands queue up to partner with them as soon as they leave the villa. However, it appears that all but one of this year’s Love Island contestants may have purchased followers to help them make it on to the show, with it being revealed that over half of their social media followers are, in fact, fake. Touting your high follower count is no doubt a sure way to get your foot in the door.

It’s not surprising that the fame hungry entrants do anything they can to make it onto ITV2’s most watched show ever, after all, a successful stint can see you set for life. But how many are doing it in a quest to find love?! Although, not one of the couples from last year’s series are still together, couples from previous series have gone on to get married – such as Jess Shears and Dom Lever, who have just announced their first baby is on the way, Olivia Buckland and Alex Bowen, who have just celebrated their first wedding anniversary, and Nathan Massay and Cara De La Hoyde, who are set to wed this year. Despite some successes, it does start to raise the question as to whether contestants are really looking for love…or merely stepping into the limelight.

Previous contestants have gone on to make millions with their own clothing lines and beauty ranges, or become ambassadors for big brands, with the show’s richest stars having been revealed earlier this year – something that’s served to underline the wealth that can be accumulated.

It appears that this year, some brands have started to become savvy to the fact that contestants are hot property from the off, and are working with them before they even enter the villa so keen are they to secure their star appeal. Award-winning haircare brand, Umberto Giannini, for example, has already been showcasing Lucie Dolan with its popular Beach range on its social media channels. There’s no doubt the brand will see a spike in sales by working with the Cornish Surfer whilst her popularity is at its height.

Evidence for this can be found in the fact that last year, Missguided saw a huge increase in sales as it provided contestants with all of their outfits and made them available for the public to buy directly through the Love Island app, as well as having a dedicated section on the Missguided website. This year’s fashion partner is Manchester-based I saw It first, making it possible for viewers once again to be able to shop the looks straight from their screens. I wonder how long it will take other brands to work with the Islanders that have already left the villa following a short stint on the show? And who will become this year’s highest earning contestant? Watch this space.