Our time on Love Island is nearly at an end, and, though we don’t yet know the winners, there is only one champion in my mind: Laura Anderson.
Who else would you rather go for a drink with? Who else would break up with her man to save her female friendship or comfort you when a man hurt you – even if that man was her own ex? There’s certainly no one I would rather be on a long-haul flight with. After all, she does know all the emergency exits.
This woman has gone through more in eight weeks than many of us have in a lifetime. Her heart’s been broken, her trust has been betrayed, her insecurities shoved under the glare of national TV and she has coped with it all with her head held high, her dignity intact and her heart wide open.
It’s hard to have dignity on a show where you have sex on camera and regularly engage in challenges which serve as thinly-veiled attempts to get you to jiggle your boobs while covered in cake, but somehow this twenty-nine-year-old air hostess has managed it.
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Let’s start with her age. After all, it was the first thing the press unkindly shredded her for; dredging up her birth certificate like we were in the middle of the Obama Birther conspiracy all over again and all to prove that she is, in fact, twenty-nine. I am also twenty-nine which- thanks to Love Island – I have now realised is old. Really old. Old as the hills. Too old!
We could unpick the problematic assumptions this has thrown up for days. Simmering underneath this entire season of Love Island has been the repeated insistence that Laura needs ‘a real man who folds his laundry’ or someone who wants to settle down. The fault for her relationship breakdowns have been, largely, squared at her feet. For, despite Wes’s dramatic leap to Megan and Jack’s ethical euthanasia of ‘Jaura’ – both failed relationships have been unanimously viewed by the other islanders as the inevitable result of two people ‘at different stages of life.’ In other words: Laura is too old.
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But her maturity is her USP. When Wes jumped ship with Megan she handled it like a superhero. Even her, understandable, slip-ups were patched up with pure class. After she called Megan a slag, she apologised. She fixed their friendship – twice- and then proceeded to sleep in the same room, whilst Megan and Wes cracked on. She then even gave advice to Megan on how to ask Wes to be her boyfriend.
If further proof were needed that Laura may actually be a saint for all womankind, then look at her behaviour towards Georgia. So desperate was she to believe her fellow woman, and maintain her female friendship, that she initially broke up with Jack. Then, when Jack moved on to the unfortunately-named ‘new’ Laura, it was original Laura who comforted her replacement, drying her tears in a moment of astonishing tenderness.
Despite multiple re-couplings, Laura is in the final week, and that’s a testament to how much the public have warmed to her as an individual. Like 2017’S Camilla Thurlow, they empathise with her heartbreaks and are begging the island to cough up a man worthy of her. Yet unlike her land-mine operative predecessor, Laura is not a fish out of water whom we pity (that mantle goes to Dr Alex) but the true everywoman of the villa.
In Laura, we can see every heartbreak we’ve ever experienced, every time a man has knocked our confidence and forced us to pick ourselves up. We can relate to her. She represents the friend we all wish we had and wish we could be – someone who cares and consoles even those who have done her wrong.
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Laura also holds up a vital mirror to our view of women and ageing. She is a woman unabashedly in the villa to find a husband and, through her, many women can see the uncomfortable reality of their own need to beat their body clocks and start a family. Hers may not be the wokest of aims, but she should be praised for openly discussing the very real fears so many women face when it comes to their own fertility.
It seems unavoidable now that Jack and Dani are walking away with £50k to do up their new house and spend on baby daughter Kiki; skipping off into the sunset with their own reality show, Boohoo contracts and, for Jack, please God a Colgate teeth-whitening sponsorship deal.
But I think Laura deserves her own award for MVP of Love Island 2018. I hope Paul turns out to be The One. I hope Britney Spears is godmother of their kids. But most of all, I hope she wants to go out for a drink sometime. Us old gals have to stick together.