Navigating life as a young person is hard enough as is. Following your passion and calling can also be very tricky. As a 20 year old performing artist and student, I applied for Love Island in hopes to make a magical connection and simultaneously get a taste of what set life and the industry could be like.
Was I ready for this abnormal, emotional and challenging endeavour?
This was my question leading up to life in the villa.
Out the gate my intentions were pure. I aimed to go about my business in the most transparent, confident and convincing way possible.
Journey with Thiala
I had my eyes on one girl from basically the beginning – Thiala. I had told producers that I was keen on going on a date with her and that’s exactly what happened. My first activity as an islander was to enjoy a date outside the villa with Thiala. I remember being overwhelmed by all the crew members, cameras, lights and the pretty blonde girl standing 100m away with her back towards me (she wasn’t allowed to see me until the initial greeting). The date went well and I was pleased with my opening appearance.
A bit uncomfortable? Yes ? A bit rigid? Yes – but still very hopeful for the upcoming days and weeks with Thiala.
The next few days proved to be very difficult as I started discovering the dynamics, routines and behaviours of everyone in the villa. I think for my first 4 days on set I struggled eating due to apparent stress. Navigating life in the villa and with Thiala was tricky because there is a lot of chatter, stories and comments being thrown around. I tried my best to keep conversations transparent and real. Attempting to block out external voices and expectations was also very difficult. I remember reminding myself that no matter how much you ‘play the game’ do not compromise on your identity and values. I believe I achieved this 80% of the time but I also find myself making decisions in order to keep certain people happy. Whether that was the audience, fellow islanders or even my friends and family.
Thiala was then dumped from the island – I needed to accept the reality that she was no longer on the show. I didn’t leave with her because I didn’t feel that magical spark of love we all so desperately crave.
Journey with Tania
I then ended up coupling up with Tania. Someone I really respect and value. We got along really well and our friendship served as an amazing foundation for romantic exploration. As days went on I realised that I also wasn’t feeling the warm, fuzzy feelings I long for with her. To add to the drama – I began to eye Dané and wonder if I could perhaps feel that special emotion with her.
I made it to the final with Tania and ended it as friends. We were both happy to actually finish what we started and to be on good terms at the end of this messy process was also a blessing. I made some really cool friends on Love Island and the whole experience was so enriching not only from an industry standpoint but also as a personal learning experience.
A lot of growth took place during the show and I’m currently so happy and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the show. I really had so much fun and I will never forget the moments we shared in Franschoek.
Back to reality
I have since returned to studying my performing arts degree and plan to finish that next year along with a course in digital marketing. I am so excited for more chances to work in tv, film and storytelling. I am also pushing a lot of music out right now and pursuing that dream unapologetically. The support as been astounding and I’m so thankful for those who are close to me and who care about me. The difference they make in my life is unbelievable.
As for Dané and I. We have been getting very close to one another and are actively pursuing friendship although there is definitely chemistry and emotional gravitation. Both of us are focussing on ourselves, our careers and our spiritual development. If it’s meant to be we will certainly form a beautiful partnership as a couple but for now it’s all about growth and self-love before we enter into a formal relationship. Who knows…I might be able to say that I really did find love on love island. Let’s wait eagerly and patiently.
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Life is only starting for me and I cannot contain my excitement for the future. My passion and conviction for entertainment, creativity, storytelling and ministry is driving this indescribable journey. You’ll definitely be seeing a lot more of Ross Marshall in years to come. Keep an eye out.
Peace and love – Ross