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Love Island’s Montana Brown calls for greater racial and body diversity on the show

She appeared in the 2017 series of the ITV2 reality show, which follows the antics of attractive, toned single people, mostly spending their time half-dressed in a sunny villa. 

And, Montana Brown has called for greater diversity on Love Island as she insisted it’s ‘unhealthy for people to just see size 8s chomping around in their bikinis.’ 

The swimwear brand owner, 25, also stated: ‘I wanna see more people of colour’ while concluding that ‘with regards to racial diversity and body diversity, there’s always room for improvement’ on the programme. 

Making a stand: Montana Brown, 25, has called for greater diversity on Love Island as she insisted it’s ‘unhealthy for people to just see size 8s chomping around in their bikinis’

Speaking on the latest What Day Is It? podcast, Monata was quizzed about how progressive Love Island is.

She admitted: ‘I feel like, as a mixed race person, you’re always in a minority, especially on a show like that. It’s not something that I necessarily thought of while I was in the show.

‘I’ve had quite a privileged upbringing. I grew up in quite a white area so I’ve always been in the minority anyway. So it’s something that I didn’t feel uncomfortable with.

‘But I definitely think with regards to racial diversity and body diversity there’s always room for improvement.’

More diversity! The swimwear brand owner also stated: 'I wanna see more people of colour' (Pictured with the starting line-up of the 2017 Love Island series)

More diversity! The swimwear brand owner also stated: ‘I wanna see more people of colour’ (Pictured with the starting line-up of the 2017 Love Island series)

Saying it how it is: 'I feel like, as a mixed race person, you're always in a minority, especially on a show like that' admitted Montana

Saying it how it is: ‘I feel like, as a mixed race person, you’re always in a minority, especially on a show like that’ admitted Montana

Real talk:u00A0' I definitely think with regards to racial diversity and body diversity there's always room for improvement' said the reality star (Pictured the 2018 Love Island starting line-up)

Real talk: ‘ I definitely think with regards to racial diversity and body diversity there’s always room for improvement’ said the reality star (Pictured the 2018 Love Island starting line-up)

Montana went further, explaining why there’s a need to have a more inclusive cast, which is better representative of society. 

She said: ‘I think it’s so important, because that [Love Island] so gets so many millions and millions of views. People wanna see themselves on the screen, people wanna feel like they’re being represented. 

‘So it’s really important that they are having curvier girls on there. I think there’s a degree of – not everyone can be cast for love island.

Better representation: Montana went further, explaining why there's a need to have a more inclusive cast, which is better representative of society (Pictured: The 2019 Love Island cast)

Better representation: Montana went further, explaining why there’s a need to have a more inclusive cast, which is better representative of society (Pictured: The 2019 Love Island cast)

‘There is a really fine line of: you want it to be entertaining, you want it to be aspirational, you wanna see a bunch of good looking people on television having fun and you wanna live vicariously through that.

‘But then you also wanna represent the UK and everybody who is a size bigger than a size 8.

‘I do think that’s unhealthy for people to just see size 8s chomping around in their bikinis, because then people perceive that the only way to be beautiful is to be a size 8, or be a smaller size. So there’s definitely work to do.’

Size-inclusivity matters:u00A0'People wanna feel like they're being represented. So It's really important that they are having curvier girls on there' insisted Montana

Size-inclusivity matters: ‘People wanna feel like they’re being represented. So It’s really important that they are having curvier girls on there’ insisted Montana

More diversity! Asked what she'd like to change on Love Island, Montana revealed: 'I think I'd wanna see more people of colour' (Picturedu00A0Amber Gill, Yewande Biala in the 2019 series)

More diversity! Asked what she’d like to change on Love Island, Montana revealed: ‘I think I’d wanna see more people of colour’ (Pictured Amber Gill, Yewande Biala in the 2019 series)

Tokenism? 'I feel like there's literally only maybe two or three people of colour on the whole series. And I do think they are like token people' said Montana (Pictured: Leanne Amaning in the 2020 series)

Tokenism? ‘I feel like there’s literally only maybe two or three people of colour on the whole series. And I do think they are like token people’ said Montana (Pictured: Leanne Amaning in the 2020 series)

Asked what she’d like to change on Love Island, Montana revealed: ‘I think I’d wanna see more people of colour.

‘I feel like there’s literally only maybe two or three people of colour on the whole series. And I do think they are like token people. And it shouldn’t be like ticking a box.

‘And I know it’s so hard because, I’m thinking back, and there was one researcher called Coco who was black, but as you get further up, it’s a white dominated industry.

‘It’s just a case of the heads of ITV being really really being focused on being diverse. It might be subconscious for them, but they definitely have to open their eyes and make sure that they’re being more diverse, racially.’

Former contestant:u00A0On the 2019 series, Yewande Biala (pictured in a show still)

Reality star: Malin Andersson in the 2016 series (pictured in show still)

Forner contestants: ‘It shouldn’t be like ticking a box!’ insisted Montana (Pictured left: Yewande Biala on the 2019 series; Pictured right: Malin Andersson on the 2016 series

It must be a focus :u00A0'It's just a case of the heads of ITV being really really being focused on being diverse' explained Monata (Pictured 2018 contestant Samira Mighty at an event in 2019)

It must be a focus : ‘It’s just a case of the heads of ITV being really really being focused on being diverse’ explained Monata (Pictured 2018 contestant Samira Mighty at an event in 2019) 

Elsewhere on the podcast, Montana confessed that she struggled with anxiety when she came out of the Love Island villa in 2017 – but was ’embarrassed’ about her mental health problem. 

She confessed: ‘I used to never speak about coming off the show because used to feel really embarrassed about how I felt at the time.

‘It’s supposed to be the time of your life. You’ve suddenly shot to fame every wants a piece of you, everyone wants you to do brand deals, you’ve got money coming in and everyone wants you on their TV show

Truth: Elsewhere, Montana confessed that she struggled with anxiety when she came out of the Love Island villa in 2017 - but was 'embarrassed' about her mental health problem

Truth: Elsewhere, Montana confessed that she struggled with anxiety when she came out of the Love Island villa in 2017 – but was ’embarrassed’ about her mental health problem

The struggle is real: 'I really struggled mentally coming off that show' said Montana, explaining how she 'got really bad anxiety' from the pressures that came with overnight fame

The struggle is real: ‘I really struggled mentally coming off that show’ said Montana, explaining how she ‘got really bad anxiety’ from the pressures that came with overnight fame

‘I really struggled mentally coming off that show, because I was just a student chilling in chamber choir and doing my thing, wearing trackies everyday.

‘Then I went into world where I had to wear heels everywhere – or at least that’s what I thought – I had to wear make-up every day, I had to always look presentable. I had to be really careful about what I said in public, to other people, to strangers.

‘And I got really bad anxiety from it. I didn’t wanna go out in public, I didn’t wanna go out to clubs, because people just grab you in the street. They have no decorum. It’s unbelievable. People just run up to you and they actually scream in your face. Or they’ll jump on you, or they’ll hug you.’

Reality star life:u00A0The University graduate also explained that being famous without having a talent is something which all reality stars struggle with

Reality star life: The University graduate also explained that being famous without having a talent is something which all reality stars struggle with

The University graduate also explained that being famous without having a talent is something which all reality stars struggle with. 

She continued: ‘At the time I was only 21, and I just felt I really out of my depth. I did not feel comfortable with it at all.

‘And you’re in this weird limbo of like famous because so many people know who you are but also you’re not that famous on a scale of skill, if that makes sense?

‘You’re not a famous actor, being talented at acting. You’re not a famous singer for being an amazing singer. You’re kind of famous but you’re not really famous for anything.

‘So the only thing that you can share is that – about your personal life – because you’ve got nothing else to share, really. 

Famous for what? 'You're kind of famous but you're not really famous for anything... that's something that I think people will always struggle with coming off reality TV' she admitted

Famous for what? ‘You’re kind of famous but you’re not really famous for anything… that’s something that I think people will always struggle with coming off reality TV’ she admitted

‘And that’s what I really really struggled with. You are sharing the intricate details of your life and people having an opinion is not based on your skill, it’s based on who you are as a person. And that’s something that I think people will always struggle with coming off reality TV.’ 

Montana also got candid about the difficulties which can be encountered by going onto Love Island, given that the show churns out new batches of reality stars each year. 

Asked if ITV provides mental health support, she explained that she thinks the main focus of care should be on managing expectations.

She said: ‘I think it’s a case of making people aware, going on that show, that you might be amazingly successful, you might do do amazing things, but you might have to go back to your day job. I think this is where people do suffer really badly with depression and anxiety.

Not everyone is going to be able to do well!u00A0Asked if ITV provides mental health support, Montana explained that she thinks the main focus of care should be on managing expectations

Not everyone is going to be able to do well! Asked if ITV provides mental health support, Montana explained that she thinks the main focus of care should be on managing expectations

‘They come off this show, they’re getting all this money, they’re getting all these deals, they’re popular they’re amazing and everything is going really incredible for them. They’ve leased a new car and they’ve bought a new house – or leased a new house.

‘And then after the next year, there’s obviously a new Love Island. and a lot of those people drop off from the previous season.

‘So, they’re used to having all this attention and all of these deals coming through the door suddenly it’s gone – just like that. And that’s really difficult for someone to deal with.’

Manage expectations:u00A0'The channel needs to support realistic expectations of coming off a show like that. Not everyone is going to be able to do well, it's just not feasible' she said

Manage expectations: ‘The channel needs to support realistic expectations of coming off a show like that. Not everyone is going to be able to do well, it’s just not feasible’ she said

When Montana came off Love Island in 2017, she had short-lived presenting stints with This Morning and MTV, before setting up her swimwear brand.

She continued: ‘I think that the channel needs to support realistic expectations of coming off a show like that. Not everyone is going to be able to do well, it’s just not feasible –  especially for a show that runs every single year with different people.

‘There is support there. You have chats with a psychologist. You have to go through a psych test before you go on the show anyway, and she’s available when you’re out of there as well.

‘But now, I think it’s mandatory to have a check in after you leave the show and I know that they do provide therapy for people that have left previous shows and are suffering with mental health illness.’

Glorifying fame:u00A0Montana insisted that she believes it's important that ITV don't promote the idea that being famous equates to having wealth and success

Glorifying fame: Montana insisted that she believes it’s important that ITV don’t promote the idea that being famous equates to having wealth and success

Montana – who is currently in Barbados creating content – insisted that she believes it’s important that ITV don’t promote the idea that being famous equates to having wealth and success.

She stated: ‘They need to stop glorifying being in the public eye, to young girls. Because girls just see cars and money and they’re like ‘omg what an easy life it’s gonna be amazing’ and then reality sets in after the show.

‘And some people just don’t do well after the show, they just have to go back to their normal job and no one’s prepared for that because no one even mentioned that that’s a possibility.

And then there’s the fact of the pressure to keep up with the lease payments : you’re paying for flat that you’ve tied into for a year. And then suddenly you’ve got no money, because no one’s told you to save your finances. So you’ve got nothing show for it. It’s really difficult.’


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