While love is the aim of the game on the ITV2 dating show, the success of former contestants such as Molly-Mae Hague and Amber Gill has led many to apply for the show in the hope of cashing in on lucrative influencer advertising deals and brand partnerships.
However, appearing on the Channel 4 documentary Life After Love Island, 2022 contestant Ekwonna said that his experiences post-show haven’t been all he hoped they would be.
The 23-year-old worked as a pharmaceutical sales rep before quitting his job, but said the money he made through content and advertising in his first three months after appearing on the show, amounted to between £3,000 and £4,000.
According to the show, this was “less than half than what he was earning” before appearing on Love Island, with Ekwonna admitting he found it “demoralising” not being approached by brands.
“You come out thinking, ‘Oh, it’s Love Island. Everyone after Love Island is set,’” he told presenter Will Njobvu. “And coming out of it, you’re like, ‘Where is it?’”
Asked if he had been approached by any brands to work with them, Ekwonna said that he hadn’t and had questioned whether his race had played a role.
“I have questioned, is it me?” he asked. “Is it my face? Is it my skin?”
Elsewhere in the documentary, Coco Lodge, who also appeared on the series this year after joining during the Casa Amor episodes, said that she had hoped to amass one or two million followers after the show in “the perfect scenario”.
“But I came out with 30k followers,” she said. “I just didn’t really understand, because I was like, ‘why does everyone hate me?’”
Lodge added: “You don’t go in there to find love. It’s a bonus if you do, but you know in there because you know what you can get after.”
Lodge has since returned to her previous job serving shots in a nightclub.
According to the documentary, of the 259 contestants who have appeared on the show, 28 islanders have landed brand deals worth over six figures, 65 have appeared in other reality shows and 27 have set up an account on OnlyFans.
More than 130 are said to have returned back to their day jobs.
Life After Love Island is on Channel 4 now.