Love Island UK is the show everyones hates that they love to the point that the show's popularity has expanded past the UK and is beloved internationally (often referred to as the best show within the Love Island franchise). While this show is beloved by many reality tv fans it does seem to have had an issued past with representation.
It wasn't until the fourth season that they had their first Black female contestant, Samira Mighty, in the villa from day one. But it wasn't even a week into season 4 when audiences started commenting on her choice to use a weave in 85 degree weather. Wearing a weave (which is tracks of extensions that are sewn into braids of the wearer's natural hair), can be tricky in warmer weather especially if there's a chance it may get wet.
Many people have exclaimed that she and other contestants should be using protective styles that will require less maintenance. But Love Island star Tanya Manhenga explains she feels that protective styles such as braids is not as practical because it is not as easy to maintain on your own.
She explained that, "The people that come in to do your hair, I think it's after every four weeks or something like that. It's very long. Basically, it's not as frequent as people think. So now if there's nobody to refresh my braids and, you know, when they're twisting now or your hair grows quickly out of it now, it's not cute anymore, It's not nice."
Tanya received widespread attention for using glue to secure down her wigs as there were moments that her wig glue was very noticeable in the sun. While Love Island host Madame Joyce exclaimed that she would 'love to see one of the Black Love Island girls maybe do a natural look' it has become the norm for black female contestants to use wigs and weaves on the show.
Some contestants have embraced the conversation of wearing wigs on the show such as Whitney, who came on the show and has openly spoken about her wig business. Whitney tells the islanders that she owns a wig business and brought 30 of her favorite wigs with her to the villa. After receiving compliments on her long hair, which is actually a wig, she mentions that she will be frequently changing her wigs since she owns a wig business.
But the the tide may be shifting on the conversation of wigs being viewed as negative towards acceptance and normalization as the conversation is more upfront. With Love Island UK contestants like Whitney being very vocal about changing her wigs and with contestant Cindy Miranda from Love Island France having her partner on the show help her with her wig. We love to see more steps in popular culture that make wig wearing normalized and accepted!