Love Island's Ovie Soko has given an adorable response to the love he's received since participating in the reality TV show.
The 28-year-old basketball player earned third place in this year's show, alongside India Reynolds, but won the fans' affection with his chilled out vibes, hilarious egg-making antics and fashion sense.
Amber Gill and Greg O'Shea were crowned king and queen of 2019's series, but Ovie Soko is possibly the true winner.
Ovie joined the series during Casa Amor, and immediately showed interest in Anna Vakili, who brought him back to the main villa after a recoupling.
The fans fell in love with his demeanor, good vibes and hilarious catchphrases, not to mention those stylin' bucket hats.
When asked by MailOnline how he felt about garnering an onslaught of fan affection, Ovie responded in the most Ovie way possible.
On a serious note it’s been amazing watching Ovie on TV. Majority of black men I know are like Ovie but are never represented like that on telly. He’s shown the UK that black men can be loveable gentle giants and not just violent and angry. #LoveIslandpic.twitter.com/HELHDWGKhI
"I don’t really get it," he said, before admitting: "I haven’t seen anything yet. We’re just closing up over here, I am overwhelmed by the love."
Asked about where his chilled-out nature comes from, Ovie commented,
"When I was in primary school I had a lot of energy and been bouncing off the walls but I’m just a chilled person really. I just don’t get ahead of myself. We’re in a huge villa in the sun in Spain, you don’t have much to worry about."
Maura's mum wants to grab him for herself, so he may need security coming home to Heathrow airport. Every age group and gender want some more Ovie in their lives, and brands are already flocking to nab him for deals.
There'll undoubtedly be a massive crowd waiting to catch a glimpse of their hero, but we're just overjoyed that he made it out of Casa Amor onto our screens. For Amber's sake too, seeing as he became her 'guardian angel.'
Eyal Booker was catapulted into fame last year after taking part in the phenomenon that is Love Island, the ITV2 reality show that's become beloved all over the world.
The 23-year-old appeared on Celebs Go Dating after his stint in the Spanish villa, and definitely knows his stuff when it comes to reality TV romance.
We caught up with the model and TV star at the launch of a massively-exciting essence lip collection. Their Lip Saviours range features 52 fabulous products including lipsticks, lipglosses, lipliners and liquid lipsticks.
Oh, did we mention that they're all under €4? essence have also created the ultimate lip look book to offer you dozens of options to create your signature look.
essence also prides itself on it's cruelty-free status, so you can mix and match to find your glamorous, natural, vibrant, glossy, understated or matte lip looks without worrying about animal testing.
Eyal Booker is representing the ground-breaking beauty brand, which sponsors both Love Island on Virgin Media player as well as the biggest pageant in the country; Miss Ireland 2019.
Of course, we simply had to ask him his opinions on our Irish exports, namely Longford lass Maura Higgins.
“I love the Irish contestants, I love Maura. I just loved her from the start. I think that the way she’s entered the villa, the way that she’s held herself, the things she comes out with; I think she’s a powerful, independent woman who’s proud of who she is and stands up for what she believes in and says what she wants. I think that that’s really inspiring for young women out there, and she’s a good influence and good person to have within the public eye and society”.
“She’s going to have a good career. At first, it took a little time to get used to her but now we can’t get enough of her. She’s contagious and just says it how it is. That goes a long way in this show.”
The latest controversy to shake the villa is, of course, the meltdown between Anna Vakili and Jordan Hames.
The model asked Anna to be his girlfriend only days ago, yet pulled India Reynolds aside for a chat (on Curtis' advice) to confess his feelings for her, while Anna was only metres away.
What does Eyal think was going through his head? The pair were dumped from the villa last night, but were they authentic?
“I don’t know where that’s come from (Jordan’s feelings for India), I don’t know what Jordan was thinking. They’ve screwed each other over within the process, you know when Anna left him for Ovie and then came back to him and now Jordan’s about to do the same. As much as they’re trying to make us believe their relationship, I don’t buy the reasons that they’re in the villa. I just think they want to be genuine but they’re actually just not that into each other.”
ITV bosses have faced numerous accusations that the reality show is a 'fix', with claims made against the honesty of each character.
In Eyal's time in the villa, he denies that the show every forced anyone into a certain narrative of hero or villain, womaniser or gentleman;
“They don’t try and create something that’s not there. They highlight some things over others, in terms of the edit. I wasn’t just this spiritual, tree-hugging guy but that’s a lot of what I was made out to be. You can’t all be the same, and they edit everyone a different way. There’s no one there saying ‘You should do this’ or ‘You should do that’.”
Other criticisms made against the show involve the noteworthy emphasis on physique and appearance. Does Eyal think the show has contributed to the continued popularity of beauty pageants like Miss Ireland?
“Pageants have always been popular and I think with social media and the world that we live in, they can grow even quicker and bigger because there’s accessibility to a wider audience. I think Love Island showcases the fact that it can reach such a vast and big audience. It encourages other people to get on social media and get on platforms and use that platform in order to further themselves."
Amy Hart recently posted an Instagram snap of a charity who she works with closely, but trolls commented that the image was 'boring'. Social media presence is a huge part of Love Island stars' careers when many of them leave, but do they control who they work with and their brand?
According to Eyal; “We have complete control. When I came out of the villa, I got a management because I needed to manage everything that was going on. They try and guide you in a direction that they see fit for you but also a direction that you see fit for yourself. It’s just a discussion that you have. We have incredible platforms when we come out, and I think charity is a big thing on people’s minds and people want to use their platform for good as well. It’s something that a lot of people go into and become ambassadors for because, as much as you’re reaping the rewards of having such a huge platform and getting all of these brand deals, you also want to give back to people in less fortunate positions."
He continued; "Charity is a nice thing to do, I’ve always worked with them but now I’m doing on them on a bigger scale because I’ve got a bigger audience.”
“I work with World Vision, very closely. I’m an ambassador for them, and I also work with the RSPCA and Dog’s Trust. I’ve always loved animals, all animals, and animal welfare. World Vision is to do with young children and their families in areas of conflict or disaster, and it’s about sending emergency response and helping them further themselves. Children are the future, they’re the generation who are going to shape our world and who are going to be here when we’re not. Providing them with the best possible tools in order to have the best and brightest future is essential for our world to get better and better.”
Another problematic aspect of the show, arguably, is their continuous sponsorship from fast fashion brands. The stars wear different ensembles every day in the villa, with companies like I Saw It First working with the reality show.
I love Love Island, I just do, (call me a sucker for a fairytale in a thong) but I hate its sponsorship & promotion of fast, throwaway fashion – which surely can’t have been made by people paid enough or treated… https://t.co/R1zEKyk8w8
Once the Islanders leave the villa, many of them will work with branding constantly, showing a materialistic lifestyle via their social platforms. Does Eyal see an issue with this side of Love Island life?
“It’s an interesting one, I actually hadn’t heard that until now. I think there’s two sides to this story. I think that everyone’s individual style and fashion showcases the fact that you can self-express and be who you want to be, and dress and wear what you want to wear. I think fast fashion is affordable for people, but at the same time, fast fashion is one of the biggest polluters of our environment. It contributes to huge amount of emissions and pollution and adds to climate change."
He continues; "It’s one of those things where we want instant gratification and we want to be able to purchase all the things that we want for a low price but we don’t really see at which cost we’re getting them at and how detrimental it is to our environment. I’m in a Catch 22 about that one, I work with some fast fashion brands and I would like to think I’m an environmentalist and I care about our planet. I think there’s a balance that we can find within it. Although fast fashion, although it’s been around for a while, it has only just come into play and become as popular as it is. It’s about us starting to regulate that and coming on board with how we as a society consume things and over-consume things.”
Does he do his homework on the brands that he associates with, when it comes to ethics?
“essence is cruelty-free which is part of the reason I’m at this event. I couldn’t be an ambassador for, let’s say the RSPCA who campaign against animal testing, and then a brand who test on animals. We’re only human and we make mistakes, we overlook things, but we try as hard as we can to highlight the things that align with me and then we go from there.”
The show is undeniably heteronormative, and excludes the majority of the population.
"The fact that it would be such a big deal is testament to the fact of how far we’ve got to go." https://t.co/oV0USsKTYs
With Love Island spreading Stateside and now to South Africa for the winter edition, does he think these expansion moves could mean an LGBTQ+ version could be in the pipeline soon?
“I think it would take some time for people to catch on to. I’ve grown up within an entertainment, performing world, I don’t differentiate between anyone; your sex, the colour of your skin, your appearance; whatever you are, you are. But I think we, as a society, whether we like it or not are still evolving and still changing and becoming aware of the LGBTQ+ community. I think as much as I’d like to say that there’d be no stigmas attached and no judgements, if we see what judgements come from Love Island and how much stick people can get as heterosexuals, then we have to be realistic at what the response would be. I think that that’s the way it’s going to go, and eventually there will be all kinds of shows for all kinds of people, but we have to ease it in slowly.”
"I feel, like, over the past couple of days I've found myself gravitating towards you and looking forward to bumping into you in the kitchen, washing up and stuff."
Despite his dashing confession (LOL), India wasn't having any of it; "Obviously I talk to Ovie and I talk to some of the other girls. But other than that, you're my mate," she replied.
He repeated the word: "Mate?" and viewers were CACKLING. The rest of the villa discovered what was going on after Curtis dropped the bomb on Maura, who was understandably fuming and told Anna immediately.
Do the boys just have little meetings every now and then to discuss who’s turn it is to be the fuck boy ? #Loveisland
ITV is set to air two seasons per year of Love Island, as the broadcaster looks to tackle a five percent fall in total advertising revenue by adding a winter edition of the hit reality TV show.
From 2020, an additional series will air during the British winter, with the original summer series continuing to be filmed in Europe.
The first season of the winter show will be shot in South Africa, so a few safari challenges might not go amiss. Love Island remains to be the most watched programme of the year for adults aged 16 to 34 across any channel.
The show hit new heights in its fifth series this summer, and recently broke an astonishing six million viewer barrier for the first time, according to The Guardian.
ITV’s chief executive, Carolyn McCall, credited the show for saving their drop in advertising revenue;
“ITV delivered another good viewing performance in the first half of the year,” McCall said.
“Online revenues grew strongly, up 18 percent, despite tough comparatives, with Love Island providing a strong finish to the half. This was reflected in better than expected total advertising revenue.”
Amy has been open about putting her mental health first, which has earned her fans from all over the world and celebrity support alike.
The former Islander also claims she "cannot fault" ITV for their improved after care, saying: “I’ve got 14 months of therapy guaranteed, but if I need it afterwards I can still have it.
"People have had a lot of bad things to say about them and they might have upped the aftercare, but it’s the same team who’ve worked on the show for five years. I don’t agree with the criticism – they are amazing.”
“Derry Girls’ Nicola Coughlan said that Richard Curtis, creator of Notting Hill, texted her saying, ‘I never believed in the saying it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, until I watched Amy leave Love Island’".
“The king of romantic comedy! I made him believe in love," she adds, saying that she hasn't been disheartened from finding love again. David Walliams even slid into her DMs, which is an achievement.
The forgiving nature of women has also been commented on by fans;
"‘Yes, 100% we shouldn’t have blamed ourselves. But I was willing to hear all of that and work on myself to make it work," she says. "I did feel humiliated."
Her forgiveness of Curtis has moved on to unconcealed frustration, saying, "We’ve seen two different people in that villa, the Curtis that I knew and the Curtis now. I don’t know which one’s real, because they can’t both be."
Amy has wisely decided not to watch Love Island, but she's aware that Maura and Curtis got together just days after her exit. Maura, she says, definitively does not follow Girl Code;
"The thing with Maura is that she has an ever-changing definition of Girl Code. She constantly moves the goalposts to suit her situation. And then suddenly she decided we were never friends. And I will maintain this forever: we weren’t best friends but we did have a close friendship."
A rep for Love Island replied to The Sun's digging, saying:
"As anyone who watches the show regularly would know, Love Island is a combination of reality and produced elements that are reflective of what's happening in the villa, and is a fair and accurate representation of villa life.
"We have always been completely transparent about this and the way the show is produced. This is often acknowledged in the voice over by Iain Stirling," they added.
"The opinions they have and the relationships formed are completely within the control of the Islanders themselves," ITV bosses continued.
"As we have said since series one, Love Island is a combination of reality and produced elements."
Now that was some seriously scalding hot tea, we wonder if ITV know which former employee is spilling their secrets?
As the 27-year-old walks over to tell the Newcastle beauty how he feels, Joanna says;
"So obviously I've had to just pause the TV purely because for me being stand-offish is more me having respect for those in in the villa because someone else is hurting in there," Joanna told her followers during the show, referencing Amber's heartbreak.
"It's hard for me to watch this right now I'm not gonna lie."
Ovie Soko has irrevocably changed our lives, that's a fact. The six foot seven basketball player has taken over the internet after bursting onto Love Island screens in the Casa Amor portion of the show.
He's basically the best thing to happen to the villa, and it appears that In The Style agree. The brand have dropped a range of t-shirts dedicated to the hilarious 28-year-old Islander.
While he's busy treating women with respect and giving long, deep, wise snippets of advice to the useless men in the house, he's also the king of fashion and emits chill vibes only.
Ovie was the only one to school Michael on how badly he spoke to Amber, as well as crying on national TV when his Casa Amor pal George was dumped from the island.
It's impossible not to love the hunk, especially when he dances while he irons his clothes. Or makes eggs. He dances pretty much constantly, it's his thing.
He definitely knows how to make a woman feel good about herself, and is a constant gentleman when it comes to Amber's feelings. Their friendship lights up the world.
ovie is just an absolute sweetheart.. he don’t chat shit behind people’s backs.. he looks out for his friends and keeps giving us iconic moments of the series.. an absolute deserving winner of this year’s love island #loveislandpic.twitter.com/en6gUzAls2
She's a firm believer in the idea that "everything happens for a reason", but she admits that she'd have coupled up with Ovie if she had been given the opportunity.
"I'm a real firm believer that everything happens for a reason so I feel that if you did change something, I wouldn't have the outcome – it could be worse, it could be better, I don't know – so I think I'd just leave it as it is," she explained.
"I had an amazing experience, I laughed, I cried, it was great."
Ovie is currently in a friendship couple with Amber Gill, but Yewande is convinced that Amber is, "still too hurt from Michael and I don't think anyone's really going to work romantically, I don't think she's ready for anything romantically in that villa."
What about Irish hunk Greg? We saw sparks when the rugby player and future solicitor met her for a date in the Hideaway. Michael rudely interrupted the pair last night to ask Amber for a chat, the devil.
Yewande expressed her shock at Michael's toxic behaviour towards Amber since their split and Casa Amor recoupling with Joanna Chimonides.
"It's shocking how he's treated her from that, because that's not the Michael that I know," she said.
"I really want to be like, 'What are you doing? Can you just explain your thought process.' I just don't understand what's happened. It's just really unfortunate because I really wanted them to win and I thought if they stayed together they were really strong and they possibly could've won."
We desperately hope Amber calls him a 'dead ting' and walks away, because if she goes back to that horrible man it sets an awful example. You wouldn't treat your pet pooch the way Michael treated her.
Yewande also opened up about life in the Love Island villa; “We’ve no concept of time.
“There was a time where Joe (Garratt) found out that you could check the time on the cooker and then they changed it so we’ve no concept of time whatsoever. We always guestimated when the sun came out.”
The contestants are filmed 24 hours a day, and are told to dress up every evening to create a party vibe in the house. They must wait until producers confirm that their filming commitments are over before they go to bed.
Apparently, Love Island star and newly crowned villa villain Michael Griffiths has EVENTUALLY confessed that he still has feelings for Amber Gill.
This random U-turn is pretty chaldish to us, not to mention manipulative. The lad dumped her savagely for Joanna Chimonides after bitching about Amber behind her back, treated her like dirt, blamed her for Joanna leaving and made her cry.
Why is he choosing now to admit he was wrong? Ever since he made his decision to stay in the villa, there have been rumours flying that he couldn't let his ex-flame Amber go.
In tonight's show, Michael finally admits he still likes Amber during a chat with a stunned Curtis, Ovie and Jordan. Ovie called Michael out for telling Amber to "sit down" rudely the other night, because he's a KING.
He says: "Now Joanna's gone I've had time to think about things and I do actually like Amber."
The change of heart comes just days after Joanna's exit, where she called him (rightfully so) a 'snake'. Perhaps he's jealous now that Amber has a hot date with Limerick lad Greg?
Michael replies: "I didn't want to hurt you, I take out all my frustrations on you. I didn't mean to hurt you." He never explained WHY he took his frustrations out on her, though. Suspish.
Michael is later seen pulling Amber for a chat, telling her he got jealous seeing her spending time with the new boy. It remains to be seen whether the 21-year-old beautician gives him another chance.
The pair had a tearful chat in last night's show, with Amber saying to him: "I really have got over the whole situation. I did feel sorry for you after the whole thing and I decided to be civil and nice."
Michael had recoupled after Casa Amor with Joanna Chimonides, who has since been dumped from the island and walked away without Michael in tow.
Viewers have been extremely protective of Amber ever since this devastating blow was dealt, especially after the firefighter became the villa villain and seemingly takes out all of his frustrations on his ex-flame.
New boy Greg O'Shea awaits her in the Hideaway tonight, after Amber receives a text saying; "Don’t worry Amber. The boys aren’t having all the fun. Greg is waiting for you on the Hideaway terrace. #guarddown #openminded”
Greg also describes himself as a "one girl kind of guy", and seems serious about searching for wifey material;
“If I see a girl I tend to fall for her hard. Hopefully, that can happen again. After my last relationship I lost my faith in love so hopefully going into the villa can get my belief in love back," he added.
“I’ve only been single for the last year. I was with a girl for four years before that and in a relationship for five years before that. I’ve always been in relationships.”
Go get our girl Amber, and prove you're worthy Greg. Do your nation proud.