It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since Kem Cetinay entered the Love Island villa. While he failed to find lasting love on the show – splitting from fellow winner Amber Davies – Kem struck up a memorable bromance with Chris Hughes. Who could forget their iconic Little Bit Leave It rap?
And with the latest series on our screens, Kem reflects on his own time in Majorca, admitting that he’d love the chance to relive it “one more time”. He then cheekily adds: “My days are gone, though. I can’t get my abs back any more!”
When it comes to the advice he’d give to the new batch of Islanders, the former barber says there’s no point going in with a game plan, as he urges them to “enjoy it and relax”.
Kem has come a long way since 2017, starring in a string of other reality competitions, including Dancing On Ice and Celebrity MasterChef. He also co-hosts podcast Love Island: The Morning After with Arielle Free and has his own clothing line with Primark. Now, he’s celebrating the launch of his grooming collection with the brand.
Here, Kem, 26, opens up about how Love Island changed his life and what goes on in the villa behind the scenes…
Hi Kem! Love Island is back! What are you hoping to see this series?
I think this year will be interesting. I think it will be kind of a bit like our year again.
What advice would you give to the Islanders?
I’m probably not the best to give advice. I didn’t go in there with an idea or a plan. I went in there looking to have a laugh. I always just say, enjoy it and relax. You can’t really have a plan. The tiniest thing can happen and it all changes.
Is there any inside information you can give us about the show?
The most common question I get asked is, “Is it fixed?” It’s quite frustrating because it’s really not. It couldn’t be less fixed if you wanted it to be! That’s one thing that the show does – they keep it as authentic as possible. Everyone always seems to forget how good the show is at casting. They hire a lot of people to cast over six months, maybe a year. If they were going to fix it, they’d just pick who they want in there.
Is it nerve-wracking getting a text in there?
Yeah, we used to have strategies. There was a drone outside and a camera that was connected to a crane. And every time the crane used to move, we used to think it was Caroline [Flack] walking down the stairs. Everyone would go, “The crane is moving!” and they’d start packing their cases. Some of the producers would come in saying, “Please stop packing your things, we’re just moving the crane.” We’d be like, “No, you’re lying!” We were convinced because there were so many surprises.
Do you think we’ll see a bromance this year as good as you and Chris?
Ours was unique. But there’s been other kinds of friendships with boys and girls since us that have being special in their own way. I think ours was kind of the first, and it was a little bit different to others because we were very affectionate. I think it was the first time people saw two men being that affectionate towards each other on TV. We did some really weird things… So I think everyone liked it a lot. I think naturally, it happens every year. You’re in a villa with so many people and you get so close.
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Do you still see Chris often?
I actually didn’t see him too long ago, maybe a couple of months. He’s moved a bit closer now but it’s still not very close to me. I see him here and there. He comes into my restaurant [Array Essex] quite a bit with his girlfriend and we’ll catch up over dinner. It’s probably the easiest way to see him.
You’re part of Love Island’s podcast The Morning After. Do you enjoy doing that?
I feel like a bit of a veteran. It’s nice to still feel a part of the family after all these years. A lot of the contestants will ask for my advice afterwards and its nice that they value my opinion. I get a little bit jealous sometimes, though! I want to get back in there just one more time. My days are gone, though. I can’t get my abs back any more!
How has your life changed since being on the show?
I don’t look at my life being any different. There’s a lot of things that change, but I still get up in the morning and say bye to my mum and dad and go to work. I treat it like work because that’s what it is to me. I’ve had amazing experiences, but I don’t look at myself like a public figure or a celebrity. I’m lucky to be doing what I enjoy and I could never take it for granted.
Are there any other reality shows you’d like to do?
Not really. I’ve done all the stuff I’ve really wanted to do now. I don’t think I could do another competition show, purely because I’m getting older. And I’m getting more competitive, which is quite concerning. I would end up getting myself hurt because I would push myself too far.
Congratulations on your new grooming collection with Primark, Kem Cuts…
It’s been something I’ve been working on for years, so I knew it was going to come together. But I find it mad! I’ve always been a barber and it is my passion.
How did it come about?
It’s been almost three years working on this. When I was in the villa I said to everyone that I was going to do Kem Cuts. It’s so funny because a lot of them have messaged me, saying that they remember me saying it in there and now they see it coming to life. It’s really special that they remember me talking about it.
The new Primark X Kem Cuts Grooming Collection is available now in stores. The collection has 21 products to get you groomed to perfection at the affordable Primark prices we all love
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