Love Island's Sharon Gaffka criticises lack of body diversity in new series

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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 07: Sharon Gaffka at the Boux Avenue 'Girls Night In' campaign launch event on October 07, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images for Boux Avenue)
Sharon Gaffka says Love Island producers could have done more to create better body diversity on the show

Former Love Islander Sharon Gaffka has criticised the show's producers for "not doing more in terms of body diversity" on this year's line-up.

The 25-year-old ex-civil servant, who took part on the show last year, claimed there are 'midsize and plus size people who would make great contestants' but are 'still being overlooked' due to the show's lack of body inclusivity.

Love Island's 2022 line-up was revealed this week, which features the show's first ever deaf contestant, and four people from minority groups.

Speaking to Tom Newton Dunn on TalkTV, Gaffka explained: "Diversity comes in lots of different boxes. It’s not just ethnicity and while I do think it’s great that you know, close to 50% of the cast will be diverse or from a different background I still think we’re not seeing any Asians in the original line-up.

Pictured: Sharon Gaffka, Hugo Hammond, Chloe Burrows, Shannon Singh, Kaz Kamwi, Brad McClelland, Faye Winter, Aaron Francis, Toby Aromolaran, Liberty Poole and Jake Cornish. (ITV)
Sharon Gaffka (front left) with last year's Love Island cast. (ITV)

"And again, there is a little bit of more diversity than other previous series in terms of body size, but again, I’d still think that the producers could have done a little bit more in terms of body diversity."

She continued: "We stereotypically see men with six packs, women being very, very petite.

"There are still midsize and plus size people out there who are looking for love and would make great contestants on the show so I feel like they’re still being overlooked, in the original line-up, we are yet to see the rest of the cast."

Read more: Love Island's Sharon Gaffka had a cancer scare aged 19

However, Gaffka did commend the show for taking a more sustainable approach this year by ending their partnership with fast fashion brands to team up with eBay and provide the contestants with second-hand clothing.

Love Island will also do away with their food challenges, which had featured contestants regurgitating food and was criticised by viewers for being wasteful.

The cast of Love Island 2022. (ITV)
The cast of Love Island 2022. (ITV)

"In terms of fast fashion, I think it’s an amazing move from ITV and from eBay, not just in a fast fashion perspective, but in terms of increasing individuality from contestants having to pick from the same rail of clothes as everyone else.

"It doesn’t really spark any creativity or allowing you to be yourself, there’s a lot of different positives that come with the changes and I’m really excited to see how that plays out."

Read more: Sharon Gaffka says she wasn't accurately portrayed on Love Island

Gaffka has previously called out the the series over what she says has been a lack of Asian representation, claiming she was ‘scapegoated’ to tick a diversity box.

ITV recently confirmed that this year's contestants will take part in inclusivity training, during which they will be offered video guidance "covering inclusive language around disability, sexuality, race and ethnicity, behaviours and microaggressions".

A spokesperson for Love Island declined to comment.

Watch: Sharon Gaffka answers Love Island questions

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