Fifteen Minutes With Eyal Booker
by Lynn Carratt
Former Love Island star Eyal, 23, shares his advice for this year’s new batch of contestants – and gives us the lowdown on his life after the show…
By Lynn Carratt
What have you been up to since you left Love Island last year?
‘It’s been a pretty crazy 12 months! I appeared on the E4 show Celebs Go Dating, and had a fantastic experience filming 5Star show Celebs on the Ranch, where I discovered how to be a cowboy! At the end of last year I had a very touching experience when I visited the Philippines with the charity, World Vision UK, and witnessed first-hand their emergency relief for the typhoon that had hit. I’m currently waiting to confirm another TV show, but I can’t say much about it yet.’
Are you looking forward to the new series of Love Island?
‘Yes, I am excited to see what it is like from the outside and see how much hype there is across the UK. I also can’t wait to feel the buzz that surrounds the show.’
Do you have any advice for the new contestants?
‘I would say ‘know yourself’ and don’t try and be something you’re not, as that would be a hard pretence to keep up. Also, don’t be bitchy or snaky – try to respectfully make your decisions. You’re never going to be able to do right by everyone in there.’
After the deaths of former contestants Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon, there has been a lot of controversy about the aftercare the stars receive. How did you find it?
‘I can only speak from my personal experience, and there was always an open door of communication. There was help provided if I needed it, which was nice to know and to feel. I’ve always had a fantastic group of friends and family that surrounded me, and I think that was fundamental when I came out of the show, too.’
How did you deal with the instant fame that the show brought?
‘It was crazy to begin with, but I liked it. For once, everyone could say my name. For 23 years no one could remotely say my name, and now half the nation can!’
Fans are calling this years’ contestant Joe Garrett yours and Kem Cetinay’s love child! What do you make of that?
‘We could be twins in some distant non-identical world. I think it is all light-hearted and I think fans will always make comparisons with contestants from previous series, because that is what they know. You’ve just got to take it with a pinch of salt, and I laugh at it.’
Do you have an early favourite to win?
‘No, I don’t. I need to see some episodes first. I know from my own experience that the public judge you very quickly, so I’m not going to do the same.’
Can you tell us any behind the scenes secrets?
‘Honestly, they aren’t any! I know viewers don’t see us for the full 24 hours in the villa, but everything worth seeing is shown in an episode. There isn’t any hiding from the camera.’
What were your high and low points in the villa?
‘My high point was my ridiculously funny moments during the challenges and the friendships I created in the crazy environment that I am never going to be in again. I guess the low point was the deterioration of the relationships you were in, and not knowing what to do or say. That was always hard.’
Who was the best kisser?
‘I only kissed two girls, Hayley and Megan. Hayley wasn’t really into it, so I’ll have to go with Megan.’
Are you in touch with any of your fellow contestants?
‘Yes, Samira is a good friend of mine, as is Wes, Jack and Dr Alex. We all keep in touch with each other as much as we can.’
We’ve heard you’ve now got a girlfriend who you met at Coachella?
‘Yes, I have, Delilah [Belle]. We met before Coachella in London, but Coachella was when we started to date properly.’
Delilah is LA-based. Does that mean you are spending a lot of time there?
‘It’s a mixture really; I’ll be in LA for a little while and then she’ll come to London. It’s early days, but we are happy and seeing where it goes and we want to make it work. Long distance isn’t easy.’
Delilah’s mum Lisa Rinna stars in The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills. Will we see a cameo from you on the show?
‘[Laughing] I doubt it!’
Last year you appeared on Celebs Go Dating, and your friend Jack Fincham is staring in the new series. Did he ask you for any advice?
‘No, he hasn’t, but to be honest, you get guided by the dating agents so there isn’t any advice I could give him, except to go on there and be yourself.’
So do you have any regrets about appearing on reality TV shows?
‘No, I don’t. It is what you make it, and for me, it has been an amazing and fun experience, and it looks like it is going to continue like that. If I stay true to myself, I’m happy.’
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