Love Island 2021’s contestants have been confirmed as Nando’s waitress Liberty Poole, civil servant Sharon Gaffka, the show’s first ever disabled star, PE teacher Hugo Hammond and glamour model Shannon Singh.
On Monday, show bosses began dropping names of the stars headed to the villa, with a slew of sizzling singletons preparing to soak up the sun while looking for love ahead of the launch of the show next week.
The list of rising stars headed for the famous Majorca villa, include Hugo, who previously played for England Physical Disabilities Cricket squad, as well as love-seeking Liberty and self-professed party girl Shannon.
Talking ahead of entering the famous Majorca villa, Sharon, 25, who is Operations Lead for Department of Transport and beauty queen, joked that she is the most ‘outrageous’ one out of her group of friends.
Hugo, 24, spoke about his disability saying: ‘I’ve actually played cricket for England PD (Physical Disability). I’ve been to Bangladesh, Dubai, I’ve been everywhere to play cricket. I was born with clubfoot…
‘I had lots of operations when I was a kid. You can only really tell when I walk barefoot.’ I’ve got a really short achilles heel. I walk slightly on my tip toes.
Discussing what he is looking for in the house, he said: ‘I’ve been single for a while now. With the current climate, it’s been really hard to get back into dating. I saw it as an opportunity to have an amazing fun summer’.
Wow! Glamour model Shannon Singh has been confirmed for the line-up
It comes after MailOnline revealed on Friday that model and luxury events host, Aaron Francis, 24, who worked on Princess Beatrice’s wedding, was the first Islander to be unveiled – with the news also confirmed on Monday.
Waitress Liberty, 21, who is also a marketing student, admitted that she has never had a ‘nice’ or ‘happy relationship’ – something she is hoping to experience in the villa.
While Aaron, 24, said he has been single for about ‘six or seven months’ due to the dating world being a ‘little bit off’ during the pandemic, with Hugo, 24, admitted he has been single for a ‘while now’.
Speaking about her decision to take part, Sharon said: ‘It’s been a bit of a running joke between my friendship group for a while that I should apply, probably because I’m the most outrageous one out of the group.
‘But also because of COVID and the lockdown, I’m the only single one in my friendship group. They’re either married or planning on getting married. I don’t want to be the only one in the group chat that is single anymore!’
LOVE ISLAND 2021: MEET THE CONTESTANTS
Sharon Gaffka, 25
Name: Sharon Gaffka
Occupation: Civil Servant – Operations Lead for Department of Transport
Who is their type on paper? ‘I tend to date someone who is taller than me, even though my last long-term partner, he was actually someone who was shorter than me.
‘I’m quite an intellectual person so I want someone who can kind of match that.’
Aaron Francis, 24
Name: Aaron Francis
Occupation: Luxury Events Host
Who is their type on paper? ‘I need someone that is passionate about what they are doing – from scientist to anything – you can tell when someone is speaking about something and they are actually smiling while they are talking. I love that.
‘I don’t like when people are doing a job just to make money and then they kind of just live for the weekend. Especially because I work on the weekends.’
Liberty Poole, 21
Name: Liberty Poole
Occupation: Nando’s Waitress and Marketing Student
Who is their type on paper? ‘So I like tall, alpha male, confident, a cheeky chappy sort of guy.
‘But obviously that’s always usually combined with player types, which is where I go wrong. So I am trying to change my ways and go for more of a nicer guy that is going to treat me right.’
Hugo Hammond, 24
Name: Hugo Hammond
Occupation: PE Teacher
Name: Shannon Singh
Occupation: Glamour model
Who is their type on paper? ‘I don’t feed off looks, I feed off energy, I need someone with personality. Just someone I can have fun with. I’m a party girl, I love going out, I’m very social. For me it’s quite hard to find people who are genuine and looking for what you’re looking for.
‘I’m not just going to go with anyone because they’re convenient. I need to make sure they’re for me. Looks – obviously, they’ve got to be handsome, but if he’s a handsome hunk but it’s like talking to a brick wall and I’d rather watch paint dry, it’s not going to be great.
Speaking about her work as a civil servant, Sharon continued: ‘I’ve been a civil servant since I was 18. I’ve worked in lots of different departments.
‘I’ve been doing Brexit policy for the last year, I did a stint during the Coronavirus pandemic in the Department of Health so I was helping deliver testing kits and managing the operations. It’s been an intense year!’
WHAT IS CLUB FOOT?
Club foot is a deformity of the feet and ankles that some babies are born with.
It causes the feet to point inwards.
The condition can make walking painful and difficult.
It affects around one in 1,000 babies born in the UK to some extent.
Causes are unknown, but there may be a genetic link.
Treatment should be started within two weeks of birth to be most effective.
Therapy involves gently manipulating the foot and setting it in a cast.
A minor procedure may be required to help the feet sit in a normal position.
Source: NHS Choices
Sharon, who won Miss International UK in 2018, also revealed what she is looking for in her future partner, teasing that she wants someone who is taller and ‘quite intellectual’.
She said: ‘I have this thing where if something doesn’t work out with one person, I’ll try and go for the other extreme to see if that works out.
‘I tend to date someone who is taller than me, even though my last long-term partner, he was actually someone who was shorter than me. I’m quite an intellectual person so I want someone who can kind of match that.’
Meanwhile, Nando’s waitress and marketing student Liberty said of her decision to take part: ‘I’ve never had that nice, happy relationship so I think it will be nice and something for me to experience.
‘Obviously I want the best summer ever because we have been in lockdown for a year so it would be nice to go away and enjoy the sun and make friends as well. I’m excited, I’m a bit of a social butterfly so I love to meet new people. I’m a girls’ girl as well so I can’t wait for the girly friendships. It’s going to be fun!’
Talking about her job as a waitress at Nando’s, Liberty admitted that she has had a few awkward encounters but insisted she has never had a date at the famous eatery.
The Islander said: ‘I’ve had people try and rinse me for a date at Nando’s, get the discount and stuff. But I’ve never had a date in one. I’ve had a few things happen at work. I’ve had a napkin shaped as a rose given to me which was cute, that was when I first started working there and then I’ve been proposed to. It was a bit unexpected!
‘He was on his own, he’d come into the restaurant every week and he got down on one knee and was like, “Will you marry me?”. But in his hand, it was a charity support badge not a diamond ring or nothing. So I was thinking, that’s one way of saying I’m a charity case when it comes to love!’
Liberty also revealed what she is looking for in her future partner, teasing that she wants someone who is taller and a ‘confident, a cheeky chappy sort of guy’.
She said: ‘So I like tall, alpha male, confident, a cheeky chappy sort of guy. But obviously that’s always usually combined with player types, which is where I go wrong. So I am trying to change my ways and go for more of a nicer guy that is going to treat me right. ‘
Alongside the announcements, ITV also released a series of stunning snaps of the confirmed contestants from a photoshoot ahead of the new series.
Decision: Meanwhile, Nando’s waitress and marketing student Liberty said of her decision to take part: ‘I’ve never had that nice, happy relationship so I think it will be nice and something for me to experience’
It comes after MailOnline revealed the first contestant to be officially unveiled by Love Island for this summer’s comeback series on Friday as Aaron.
The news was confirmed by ITV2 on Monday with Aaron revealing he has been single for about ‘six or seven months’ due to the dating world being a ‘little bit off’ during the pandemic.
The luxury events host, 24, also shared that he ‘hosted and chatted’ at Princess Beatrice’s wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi over the summer. Aaron also worked on Princess Eugenie’s big day when she married Jack Brooksbank in October 2018.
He said: ‘Yeah, Eugenie and Beatrice’s over the summer. I hosted and chatted. It was nice and intimate. Everyone’s chill. In my job you meet a lot of famous people… unless you’re Beyonce, I’m not really interested.’
Talking about his decision to take part, the luxury events host, 24, said: ‘I’ve been single for about six or seven months and the dating world at the moment is a little bit off.
Upping the glam: Shannon Singh will be sure to up the glamour in the villa – as she revealed: ‘I don’t feed off looks, I feed off energy, I need someone with personality. Just someone I can have fun with. I’m a party girl, I love going out, I’m very social’
‘Everyone’s wearing masks. You can’t really see anyone which makes dating a lot harder. I do prefer relationships than dating.’
Teasing his criteria for a future partner, Aaron said: ‘I need someone that is passionate about what they are doing – from scientist to anything – you can tell when someone is speaking about something and they are actually smiling while they are talking.
‘I love that. I don’t like when people are doing a job just to make money and then they kind of just live for the weekend. Especially because I work on the weekends.’
The 24-year-old Londoner is part of the first bunch of Islanders to feature in the 2021 show to be aired on June 28 and has been described as a ‘sexy ladies’ man with a caring side’.
Aaron, who is also a luxury events host, has no real social media profile – unlike recent Islanders – having just over 2,600 followers on his Instagram, which is littered with shirtless pictures.
A Love Island source told MailOnline: ‘Aaron has no real claim to fame, he’s just a normal guy. However, his job does mean he sometimes moves in glamorous circles and he gets lots of attention.
Exciting! It comes after MailOnline revealed the first contestant to be officially unveiled by Love Island for this summer’s comeback series on Friday as Aaron – with the news confirmed on Monday
‘Bosses think he’ll be a real hit in the house with the girls and also get on with the guys.’
Aaron will have to quarantine when he reaches Majorca, as will all cast and crew, to comply with Covid-19 safety measures.
The pandemic resulted in last year’s summer series being postponed and fans are eagerly awaiting the new series following the ITV2 juggernaut’s extended break.
It’s rumoured the British series may experience a crossover with its US counterpart, as both are being filmed at the same time, but bosses have yet to confirm the audacious move to ensure plot surprises are kept under-wraps.
Each confirmed contestant will be given thorough psychological and medical assessments by health experts before, during and after the series as part of the show’s duty of care protocols.
And every Islander must fully disclose their medical history to ensure the environment of the villa is suitable.
The 2021 summer series will be hosted by Laura Whitmore who featured in the show’s big teaser advert last week.
The hit ITV2 dating show has not aired since February 2020 after both the summer 2020 and winter 2021 editions were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Love Island returns on Monday June 28 at 9pm on ITV2 and the ITVHub.
Love Island duty of care protocols in full – ahead of 2021 series
Pre-filming and filming
- Registered mental health professional engaged throughout the whole series – from pre-filming to aftercare.
- Thorough pre-filming psychological and medical assessments including assessments by an independent doctor, psychological consultant and reports from each Islander’s own GP to check medical history.
- Potential Islanders are required to fully disclose any medical history that would be relevant to their inclusion in the villa and the production’s ability to provide a suitable environment for them.
- Managing cast expectations: detailed explanations both verbally and in writing of the implications, both positive and negative, of taking part in the series are given to potential cast members throughout the casting process and reinforced within the contract so it is clear.
- Cast are told they should consider all the potential implications of taking part in the show and work through this decision-making process in consultation with their family and those closest to them, to ensure they feel it is right for them.
- Senior Team on the ground have received training in Mental Health First Aid.
- A welfare team solely dedicated to the Islanders both during the show and after.
- Bespoke training on dealing with social media and advice on finance and adjusting to life back home.
- A minimum of eight therapy sessions will be offered to each Islander when they return home.
- Proactive contact with Islanders for a period of 14 months after the series in which they have appeared has ended, with additional help provided where applicable.
- We encourage Islanders to secure management to represent them after the show and manage them should they choose to take part in other TV shows, advertising campaigns or other public appearance opportunities.