There’s no point denying it: Love Island is the hit show of the summer so far.
And whether you’re an avid fan who is now a little too emotionally invested in the love lives of the cast (guilty), or a naysayer who is yet to watch a single episode, you have to admit it’s a fascinating concept.
After all, what could be more gripping than watching a group of single people living in a remote villa trying to find their soulmate?
Now, as we enter the penultimate week of this year’s series, the intrigue in the show and its cast members is really ramping up – and we know it’s hit the big time, because Primark has even released its own line of Love Island clothing, which is totally our type on paper.
But even better, a Love Island insider has just spilled a number of behind-the-scenes secrets about the show to vogue.co.uk.
Here, we list some of the best reveals to be shared by the anonymous production team member, from everything we know about the contestants’ clothing allowance to just how “real” those on-screen relationships really are...
What happens before the contestants enter the villa?
The contestants aren’t simply picked up from the airport and dropped off in the villa – there is a whole process that takes place before they can leave the country, including being put into hiding and having their phones taken away from them.
As the insider explains, “Before the show [the contestants] will be put in hiding and have their phones taken away from them. This makes sure that they can't see any of the press about who could be joining them in the villa or about what's to come in the show.
It also protects them from unknowingly speaking to press or outsiders in case this ruins the surprise of them entering the villa.”
The process also helps the contestants to adapt to the transition from their real lives to their villa lives, with the insider adding that it “gently breaks them into the process of what it will be like to live in the show environment”.
Where do the contestants get their clothes from?
How many times in an episode do you find yourself lusting after a dress or piece of jewellery worn by one of the cast members?
As luck would have it, the items worn by the women in the villa are probably still available to buy in the shops, as they are all given a clothing allowance to overhaul their wardrobes in the days before they enter the villa.
The insider revealed: “Contestants are given an allowance before going into the villa to make sure they have enough clothes for the duration. Also as some clothes can get damaged in tasks, they will be asked to bear this in mind when packing (although anything damaged can be replaced by production).
“The allowance also allows them to buy enough unbranded clothing as they aren't allowed to wear obviously branded clothes."
And if any of the outfits donned by the contestants do catch your eye, this handy Instagram account tells you where to shop all the clothes on the show.
How real is the drama?
Believe it or not, the insider insists all the drama we see on our screens is real – no reality TV scripting here.
“All of what you see is real,” the insider said.
Naturally, however, some scenarios on the show might be constructed in order to encourage the cast members to open up about their feelings, such as being sent out of the villa on dates or tasked with various tests and games.
“Obviously there are situations constructed to test the cast on whether their feelings are genuine,” the insider added.
“The cast may also be encouraged to talk about their feelings more to their partners or to other islanders so viewers are able to engage with the feelings of each contestant. They are encouraged to remember the purpose of the show: it is 'love' island not 'friend' island.”
What support is offered to the contestants?
Obviously, living in a villa in the middle of nowhere with a group of complete strangers while being watched 24/7 by a camera crew is an intense situation – and emotions can be heightened, as we saw with Gabby and her recent confidence crisis.
If the contestants ever feel overwhelmed, or need to talk to someone, the show has trained professionals on hand to help.
"In the villa, [the contestants] are allowed to speak to a counsellor if requested,” the insider said.
“But usually their concerns are handled by a producer who will go into the villa to chat to them alone or through a private beach hut chat that would not be recorded. They also have access to an on-site medic.”
And it’s not just the current castmates who are supported in their Love Island journey.
“The company support all of the cast after they leave too, there is a team of people who look after their welfare on and off the show,” the insider added.
You can read the full interview at vogue.co.uk
Images: Rex Features / ITV2