…By Lola Smith for TDPel Media.
The upcoming series of Love Island will feature a cast that includes a semi-professional footballer who is deaf in one ear, a musical theatre performer, and a girl who dislikes guys who show off their lunch boxes.
Joining them will be an estate agent, a model who has appeared in a Burna Boy music video, and a boy who finds it unappealing when a girl counts out coins to pay for a drink.
The popular ITV2 reality show is set to return next week, with a twist.
Fans will have the opportunity to vote for which contestants will be paired up before the first episode airs, giving them the power to choose the initial couplings.
In previous series, the contestants made their own coupling decisions, but last year marked the first time viewers had the chance to influence the pairings.
Among the contestants seeking love is 24-year-old Tyrique Hyde from Essex, a semi-professional footballer and childhood friend of Toby Aromolaran, a Love Island contestant from 2021.
Hyde, who is deaf in his right ear, expressed his desire for his fellow contestants to know about his hearing impairment, mentioning a tattoo symbolizing strength and power next to his left ear.
Following in the footsteps of last year’s trailblazer, model and dancer Tasha Ghouri, who wore a cochlear implant, Molly Marsh, a 21-year-old musical theatre performer and social media creator from Doncaster, will also join the cast.
Marsh has already visited Love Island villas in South Africa and Majorca on press trips, thanks to her online following.
Jess Harding, a 22-year-old aesthetics practitioner from London, will also be looking for romance.
She revealed her turn-offs, including guys who flaunt their money with designer clothes that are likely fake and when a boy misses a train after running to catch it.
She also mentioned her dislike for lunch boxes, suggesting a preference for a simple meal deal from Tesco.
Completing the line-up are Catherine Agbaje, a 22-year-old estate agent from Dublin, model Ella Thomas, 23, from Glasgow, and gas engineer Mitchel Taylor, 26, from Sheffield.
Taylor shared his aversions, mentioning food stuck in teeth and a girl counting coins to pay for a drink at the bar as turn-offs.
The final contestants include Mehdi Edno, 26, from Bordeaux, France, beautician Ruchee Gurung, 24, from Sutton, business development executive George Fensom, 24, from Bedford, and business owner Andre Furtado, 21, from Dudley.
Maya Jama will host her first summer series of Love Island, following her debut during the winter series in South Africa earlier this year, where she replaced Laura Whitmore as the host.
Voting for the first coupling up will be open on the Love Island app starting at 8 am on Thursday and will close at 9 pm on Friday.
The new series of Love Island will premiere on ITV2 and ITVX on Monday, June 5.