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Love Island bosses have defended the lack of body diversity in the show’s latest line-up of contestants.
ITV previously suggested that the new cohort of singletons would reflect the “experiences and diversity of [the] audience,” but fans and former participants were left confused as the class of 2019 appeared to conform to a specific body type.
Former contestant Alexandra Cane, who appeared on the show in 2018, asked “Where the curvy girls at?” while 2016 star Malin Andersson wrote: “And I thought they would have some diversity. Meh.”
Sharing photos of pharmacist Anna Vakili, presenter and actress Jameela Jamil wrote: “The producers of Love Island think this slim woman counts as their new token ‘plus size’ contestant? Are they drunk?”
Discussing the show’s line-up in an interview with The Sun, Love Island’s Richard Cowles said that the hopefuls had to be “a group of people we want to watch.”
“We try and be as representative and diverse as possible but first and foremost it’s an entertainment show,” he told the paper.
The producers of Love Island think this slim woman counts as their new token “plus size” contestant? Are they drunk? pic.twitter.com/sam4AqzzQw
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil)
“It’s about people wanting to watch and them reacting and falling in love with another. Yes, we want to be as representative as possible but we also want them to be attracted to one another.
“I’m not saying everyone that’s in there is how you’re supposed to look, what we’re saying is they are a group of people we want to watch for eight weeks and we want to watch them fall in love.”
This year’s hopefuls include a scientist, a former professional rugby player and a gym owner, along with boxer Tyson Fury’s younger brother Tommy and Strictly pro AJ Pritchard’s brother Curtis.
Show bosses have also defended the series' use of lie detector tests, with ITV Studios' managing director Angela Jain claiming that it is "entirely normal" to "test" islanders' relationships.
"The lie detector is one episode, one element, it's not even a big deal in terms of the format of the show," she told The Sun.
"What we do in terms of format twists - as this is ongoing casting - we're trying to mirror real life and relationships do get tested, that's entirely normal."
Love Island returns to ITV2 on Monday, June 3.