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Former Love Island winner Greg O’Shea slams perception contestants ‘have no brain cells’

“They think it’s silly people going around in bikinis and swimming togs and they have no brain cells between their ears.”
Doireann Garrihy and Greg O'Shea

Doireann Garrihy and Greg O'Shea© Fergal Phillips

Bairbre PowerIndependent.ie

Former Love Island winner Greg O’Shea has dismissed the perception that contestants on the show “have no brain cells”.

Three years after winning with Geordie beauty, Amber Gill, the 27-year-old Limerick man is still reaping rewards across many projects, from fitness and TV presenter to social media marketing.

He still watches Love Island regularly - but he says some of the show’s detractors can be dismissive of contestants.

“Love Island has given me opportunities that I never would have gotten otherwise,” said Greg who played for the Ireland national rugby seven teams up until last year.

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“The only reason I’m getting all these opportunities, let’s call a spade a spade, is because I was on the TV show.

“People only really know me because of that so I'm taking the so called following from that, and I use it for what I care about. “I have launched a fitness platform off the back of that.

"I have a lot of presenting gigs on Virgin Media, I have social media brand deals and I do a lot of stuff on Instagram and things like that, which never would have happened without Love Island,” said Greg who is a rugby Olympian and a law graduate.

He said he is the number one fan of the ITV dating reality show “and watches it like everyone else” but he concedes that “a lot of people have a bad kind (of) perception of Love Island.”

He added: “They think it’s silly people going around in bikinis and swimming togs and they have no brain cells between their ears.”

He is quick to argue that point and apart from his own academic studies to become a solicitor, he points to Dr Alex George, from season four of the reality show, who serves as the UK mental health ambassador in the Department of Education.

Greg also name checks Yewande Biala, from Ireland, who was also in season five of the show and who is a scientist with a first class honours degree and a masters in pharmaceuticals .

After all the studying and finishing his law exams does Greg see himself heading to the courts and working as a solicitor?

“No, that's not the path for me. It's my back-up plan,” Greg said.

He says in Ireland people go to school and college, get their degree and start working 9-5.

“I was doing that and even after Love Island, I came home and did my law exams which was very hard because I wasn't motivated to (sic) them.

“I didn’t want to do it. Then again, if Instagram crashes tomorrow, and all the media gigs stop coming in, what am I going to do?

“I will go back to my degree and I'll be a solicitor.”

When it comes to post TV show work opportunities , Greg says, it may sound cliched but he recommends staying “true to yourself and what you care about.”

“I was very lucky and won the show which gave me a massive following but I wanted to go to the Olympics, I wanted to go home, be in Ireland, do my law exams so I stuck to what I knew.

"Another big thing that I'm really happy with is that I still have all the same friends that I had before the show.”

Greg’s social media followers went from 2,000 followers before Love Island to 1.7m after he won and now he is back to 944,000 followers.

“It has been very fluctuating. Obviously I won the show, I had my 15 minutes of fame and then I decided not to stay with the girl I won the show with.”

Greg says himself and Amber still follow each on social media.

“We respect each other from afar but we are in complete different worlds.

"We contacted each other a couple of times. We only knew each other two weeks. We had the maddest experience together that nobody can understand other than other winners.”

As for the buffed body, he was posting shots of throughout lockdown, Greg confirmed he’s never had to resort to fake tan, something people might expect to be part and parcel of reality dating shows.

“I'm lucky enough, my mother's family is from China so we have sallow skin and once I’m out in the sun, I get a nice tan.

"I wouldn't say any of the lads in the villa have fake tans.

"The girls might now but lads, no, not really. I think once you are sitting in Mallorca, and the thirty degree heat is on you, you are going to get a tan.”

Greg and RTE 2FM radio presenter Doireann Garrihy teamed up as judges at the Curragh for the Dubai Duty Free Most Stylish competition in association with the K club.

They were both booked as celebrity judges by the luxury hotel and their cute shared photos at the race course sparked lots of comments about ‘couple goals.’

The winners of the Most Stylish went to Olive Foley from Killaloe, Co Clare and Harry Cowap from Bournemouth.


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