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When we speak to Olivia Attwood, it’s one of the hottest days of the year, but Liv is used to sizzling temperatures after finding fame in the Love Island villa.
Since finishing third on the hit ITV2 show in 2017, she has become a staple of reality TV – starring on The Only Way Is Essex and going on to land her own show, Olivia Meets Her Match. The programme, about her life with fiancé, Blackburn Rovers footballer Bradley Dack, is currently in its second series.
“The second one’s more exciting than the first because you know people liked it,” the 30-year-old tells us. “It’s always a good sign when they ask you back.”
After celebrating her 30th birthday, Olivia has a lot on her plate following the most recent lockdown – welcoming her rescue dog Lola, nursing injured Bradley, 27, back to health, and launching her second collection with fashion line ISAWITFIRST.
Here, Liv tells us how she is managing to juggle her many jobs, gives her advice to the new batch of Love Islanders and reveals her heartbreak at having to postpone her big day…
Hi Olivia! How excited are you for the new series of Love Island?
I’m really excited! I think it’s just what we all need right now – a bit of escapism and light-heartedness.
What advice would you give to the contestants?
It’s such clichéd advice but just enjoy it. It goes really quick and, when you’re in there – as I demonstrated quite well – you can get caught up in the moment and stressed out! Go in with the attitude that whatever will be will be. It’s out of your control so just embrace that and enjoy it.
Do you have any regrets from your time on the show?
No, I look back on it really fondly. I try not to live life with regrets but I think hindsight is a nice thing! I definitely dealt with things in ways and made choices I wouldn’t now but that’s because I’ve matured. I was impulsive and reckless when I was younger but it made great TV! So no regrets.
What do you think of Laura Whitmore as the host?
I think she’s really good for the show. It’s lovely that she’s got that connection with Iain [Stirling, her husband and the show’s voice-over], she’s just a good fit. It was a very difficult job that she had to do, to come in and fill [previous host] Caroline [Flack]’s shoes. She’s doing a great job.
What qualities do you think make a great Islander?
I love a sassy girl. I love a girl who’s daring and goes in there ready to mix it up. It’s a TV show, we want to see people push the boundaries when they make decisions or it’d be boring.
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Are there any Islanders from other series that you wish you had been in the villa with?
I get on really well with Megan Barton-Hanson. I think we would have got on well because we have quite a similar energy. I love that she was really ruthless. I like Amy Hart but in a completely different way, I think she’s really funny and an interesting character. Those are the two that stand out in my mind.
How have you managed to stay in the spotlight?
By being open and giving an honest portrayal of myself. It’s easy to look at some of the things that I’ve done and think it’s all just fallen into my lap but I’ve had a lot of “nos” before I’ve had “yeses”. If you have a goal you can get there, just don’t be afraid of having a few knock-backs before you do. In the first six months after the villa, everything happens so fast and it’s like a blur, you never know how long it’s going to last. So to still be doing these jobs four years down the line, I feel really grateful.
Have you experienced trolling?
I like the quote, “If you don’t let water onto a ship, it can’t sink.” I try to live by that. I don’t let it in, I don’t take it on because then it can’t affect you. But then there’s the odd day where I get really annoyed. You just have to try to not let it take your emotional energy because once you let it suck you in, it’s game over.
How are you balancing the new range, moving house and getting a dog?
Some days I cope amazingly and some days I’m not coping at all. I go from one extreme to the other. I try not to beat myself up too much as I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel overwhelmed at the moment. It’s a weird transition that we’re all going through.
How has your mental health held up during the pandemic?
At the beginning of lockdown I really struggled, but once I got used to it I was OK. I found it harder adjusting to life going back to normal and things being so busy again, to be honest.
You have chosen to postpone your wedding…
It was a hard decision to make but definitely the right one. Now we’ve done it and made the call, we can just look forward to having it next year without all the uncertainty.
How are you finding life with Lola as a dog mummy?
She was a stray dog so when she came to us, she didn’t know anything. She had some bad habits that she’d picked up from her not-so-great start in life, but she is just amazing now.
How is Brad’s recovery coming along after his knee surgery?
He’s doing well. He’s in the club every day doing rehab and he’s fully mobile now and off the crutches. The hard part will be him getting back on the pitch. He really struggles with not being able to play, I feel so sorry for him. The other night he was just saying how much he misses just kicking a ball, even in a park.
Congratulations on the launch of the ISAWITFIRST collection! How does it feel to have a second range?
It’s really exciting! I love working with ISAWITFIRST, so I’m really happy and I really love this collection. It was designed with the idea of people hopefully going on their holidays. The weather’s getting warmer, we can have going out-out nights that we haven’t been able to in so long. After such a miserable year, we need some colour on the streets!
Olivia’s collection with ISAWITFIRST is available to shop now at isawitfirst.com
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