Love Island: What it’s like having your friend in the final
image sourceHashtag United
As with every series of Love Island, there have been break-ups, bust-ups and plenty of drama to keep us entertained over the last eight weeks.
The show draws to a close on Monday night and viewers will get to decide whether they want Faye and Teddy, Millie and Liam, Kaz and Tyler or Chloe and Toby to be crowned winners.
While this year’s show had a number of storylines, one of the most interesting has been contestant Toby Aromolaran’s transformation from villain to hero.
One of his close friends, Lewis Preston, 26, has been running his social media since he joined the show and says Toby has been “incredible” to watch.
“People have got to see him and all aspects of his personality and they’ve got to grow with him,” he tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.
Lewis met Toby at Hashtag United, the social media driven semi-professional football team they both play for.
“It started off with ‘he’s a villain’ and now they’ve realised he’s harmless and he does care about people,” says Lewis.
Toby was one of the original contestants, entering the villa on the first day but he’s been criticised online for getting together with four different islanders during his time on the show.
Chloe was the second islander he decided he liked, but after dating two others he eventually went back to her and the couple have been together ever since.
Lewis says he was “embarrassed” by Toby but knew “he didn’t mean to be malicious”.
When asked how he feels Toby would cope with any negativity on social media Lewis replies: “Just because someone makes a wrong decision it doesn’t mean they’re a nasty person and I think people have learnt that, probably more so with Toby than anyone else on the show.”
The mental health of Love Island contestants has come under increased scrutiny in recent years, following the suicides of former contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis.
Before this years series ITV announced contestants were going to be taught how to handle the “potential negativity” of social media as part of the show’s duty of care protocols.
Lewis says that Toby has to deal with “really good and really nasty comments” as a semi-pro footballer so he thinks he’ll be ok.
“They’ve seen him be this really kind person who’s not made the wisest decisions,” adds Lewis, “but he’s done some learning and been one of the funniest people in the villa.”
He says Toby has come “full circle” and thinks he’s been one of the “best contestants” the show has ever had.
Despite some of Toby’s actions on the show, Lewis also thinks the public are now behind him.
“With Chloe and Toby we’ve seen them grow together and they’ve probably provided the most laughs for the whole series.
“I know it’s going to sound biased, but I actually think they’ve carried this series to become probably two of the funniest contestants to have been in the villa”.