Here, Amy opens up about her mental health journey, how she copes with horrific trolling, and why being in the villa has made her more empowered than ever.
Amy Hart announcing she was going to leave the villa around the firepit, sobbing her heart out, has quickly become one of the most iconic Love Island moments of all time.
But behind her tears was a clear decision to put her mental health before fame.
Hi Amy. How are you?
I’m really good. It was 100% the best decision for me to leave when I did. If I had left before or after it would have been horrible but I left on good terms with everyone. Now I’m home, trying to heal and enjoying this weird new life I’ve got.
How did you come to the decision to leave?
When Curtis and I had almost dumped the night before, I was a bit annoyed that we hadn’t been dumped and I feel like when you get to the point where you wish you were going home, maybe it’s time to leave. But I thought, no, my friends have saved me, I need to stay, I can find love again but as a sat there listening to a conversation between the boys about telling the girls they love them, I just thought I’m not ready to find someone new and I’m not ready to watch him find someone new. The decision to leave was completely from the heart.
Did you cry on the way home?
I haven’t cried since I left the villa. I did all my crying in the villa.
Did you pick your mental health over fame?
100%. If you stay in longer, you’ll get more followers and you’ll get more work. I went in there to find love, I found it, it went horrendously wrong and I didn’t want to find love again so I needed to come out.
What was your mental health journey like in the villa?
There is a lot of time to think in there and I’ve always been an overthinker. You say something off the cuff and then you’ve got two hours to sit by the pool and think about it. I went to see the welfare team a lot – about 12 times. Even when times were still good, it was such a great tool to have.
Is the show making a commitment to the contestants mental health?
From the minute I auditioned, I’ve had the best support network ever. If you’re going to go through heartbreak, the best place to do it is the Love Island villa. Although it’s on TV which isn’t ideal, you’ve got the production team, the site team, the welfare team and your fellow Islanders. I have 14 months of active after care and then if I need anything else after that I can always phone the Love Island team. We’re going in as normal people and coming out in this whole new world so it’s important to talk about your life changing.
How have you dealt with online negativity?
I typed in Amy Hart Love Island and the first search result that came up on Twitter was ‘ugly’ with 180 tweets. The old me would have clicked on it, read them all and cried but I didn’t look at it. I’m not interested in knowing what was said about me. I’ve now got so much positivity.
I read it, I laugh, I block it. I understand it’s been a week and in a year’s time it might be harder but I do have the support of Love Island team.
They even provided us with social media training – don’t read trolls, block people and don’t be afraid to report them to Instagram. They also told us you can block words on comments so I’ve blocked words like fat and ugly. Why would I want to have them on there? All these trolls think they’re getting at me by saying I’m blocking the negative comments but they’re just pissing in the wind.
What do you think of Love Island’s approach to body image?
They can’t win. People say ‘they all look like models’ or ‘why can’t we have normal people in there’. I’d say I’m relatively normal, I’ve got a belly and I enjoy my food, and then people complain about why they have to see people like me on their screen. You can’t have it both ways.
What’s the show taught you about your own relationship with body image?
I did feel quite self conscious in there at times. Everyone in the villa is so beautiful but personally I’m happy that I’ve got a bum, boobs and that I’m a bit curvy. I wouldn’t swap it for anyone else.
Has the experience been the most empowering thing you’ve done in your whole life?
Absolutely. My mum keeps telling me I went there a little girl and came out a lady.