When producers of the hit reality TV show Love Island announced back In the summer of 2019 that there was to be a new winter series of the hugely popular programme scheduled to take place later that same year, die-hard fans of the global franchise couldn’t believe their luck!
Whilst the format of the show predominately remained the same, bosses decided the January 2020 edition of the show was to be filmed in Cape Town, South Africa, with ‘islanders’ including Luke Trotman, Priscilla Anyabu, Siânnise Fudge and Callum Jones all taking up residence in the now infamous, luxury Love Island villa, hoping to find love…
Meet Callum Jones: Our sexy scaffolder | Love Island Series 6
As one of the seasons breakout stars, Manchester native Callum found himself winning a legion of fans throughout his 6 week stint on the show, with viewers enthralled by his budding relationship with Molly Smith, and warming to his down to earth personality, positive energy and dry sense of humour.
18 months on from the shows grande finale, that saw Paige Turley and Finn Tapp crowned the winning couple, few people could have predicted just how much the world around us would change. But despite the obvious traumas and troubles faced by all of us in 2020, when we meet up with Callum, we find a content young man, very much grateful for his position in the world, happily living in the moment, happy in his relationship and clearly relishing in his new life, post Love Island.
Welcome to your new reality…
Unfortunately just weeks after Jones arrived home following his time away in the South African sun, the U.K. was plunged into lockdown, with the entire nation encouraged to stay at home and self isolate in order to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
With everyday life grinding to a halt and life as we once knew it no longer our own, coming off the show on such a high to then experiencing such sudden quiet and stillness must have been quite a shock to the system for the islanders.
“I like routine… I’m someone who needs routine actually!” Callum admits. “I’m not one of those people who can sort of fumble through the day and be happy just seeing what happens – I have to have some sort of plan and know something about what I’m doing. So during those months of lockdown I’d get up most days at 7am and I’d go to the gym, do my work workout and then divide the rest of my day up into the things I knew I had to do. So overall I’ve been alright really, my lockdown experience hasn’t been that bad to be honest.”
Taking into account everything that has happened over the course of the last 12 months, it seems unfathomable to think that it was just last year that Callum was a full-time resident of the now infamous Love Island villa. A point of which the 25 year-old can’t quite believe when we ask how he views the experience now.
“It’s mad! Time has gone by so quick…” Callum muses. “It literally feels like I was only in there about three months ago – when you think everything kicked off for us on our season of the show last January, and now it’s June 2021 – it is pretty insane when you really think about it! I know everyone’s life has had to change over the year, and mine definitely has too.”
“I’m not one of those people who can sort of fumble through the day and be happy just seeing what happens – I have to have some sort of plan and know something about what I’m doing.”Callum on how keeping a routine helped him to manage life in lockdown.
Being a contestant on one of the biggest, most talked about shows in the country and the attention that that inevitably brings must have come as somewhat of a shock to Jones, who before his stint of the programme was working full time as a scaffolder. With this in mind, we wonder if the Manchester native has managed to process everything that has happened to him since the show ended.
“I’m not too sure, you know! I’m kind of one of those people who just sort of takes things as they come, and I’m very chilled out about life in general, so I think a lot of it I take in my stride and just wait it out to see what happens (laughs). I’m still the same person I was before I entered the villa, I feel like nothing about me has changed… ok maybe my lifestyle and relationship has, but I don’t think I’m personally any different from who I was before.”
Pondering further, Callum adds: “It is a bit mad to think that so many people are watching you, I will say that, but… at the end of the day, it’s a massive programme isn’t it? So you can’t be all that surprised that people are talking about you! There’s lads I used to work with that tuned in to watch it and they’re in their 40’s – it’s mad how it sort of takes over peoples lives.”
Was it surreal to think that family, friends and the public were all at home tuning in to watch him on national television, forming an opinion and scrutinising everything that he was doing? “Erm… do you know what, not really because I just don’t think of it like that, and I crack on with what I’m doing – you can’t think about what others are thinking or saying, it’s a waste of your time.”
“To be fair though, I didn’t really have any problems in there, so I felt like there was nothing for me to really worry about if that makes sense? But everybody’s experience is different and people react to things in different ways don’t they? I was pretty lucky I guess.”
“You can’t think about what others are thinking or saying, it’s a waste of your time.”Callum on how he managed to keep a straight head whilst living in the notoriously volatile Love Island villa.
Sometimes life can run away with us, and we lose sight of who we are, who we want to be and what we want to do with our lives. With this in mind, on a personal level, does Callum feel like the experience of being away from familiar surroundings, provided him with a time out for self reflection, where he was able to ponder his place in the world and learn some vital, real life lessons?
“Honestly… I don’t feel like I learnt all that much about myself whilst I was in the villa – I was too busy having a laugh with everyone (laughs). I mean, yeah I guess with relationships and stuff I was sort of tested a little bit in there, but I’d say it’s afterwards, when you’re ‘out’ and you’re back in the real world that you start to learn about yourself and how you react to things.”
“And I say that because before I went on the show, I had a normal life and I was like everyone else! I worked Monday to Friday, I’d go out with mates at the weekend and that was just what I did. So when you’re sort of thrown into this new world, there are some challenges you face afterwards and you have to deal with things that you never thought you’d have to, but it’s good – you learn a lot.”
Callum Jones reveals how he’s feeling… | Love Island Series 6
In and amongst all of the chaos, relationship dramas, coupling / re-coupling and scrutiny that comes from taking part in a show like Love Island, nobody can deny that contestants also have a pretty good time living it up in absolute luxury throughout their time on the programme. Also one to try and find the positive in a situation, Callum admits he has a lot of fond memories of that life-changing six weeks in the sunshine.
“I’ve got so many good memories of being out in South Africa you know!” Callum says, his voice sounding animated the more he talks. “I had so much fun and pretty much enjoyed myself everyday that I was there – yeah I got a bit of stick at one point, but I think overall everything worked out fine for me.”
“Let’s be honest, you’re away for six weeks, you’re in the sun, you’ve got no real responsibilities – you don’t have to pay for anything and you don’t really have to do anything, you’re just literally there to have a good time. That was my experience and my thoughts on it anyway – I can’t speak for anyone else.”
With the 7th series of reality juggernaut set to launch on ITV2 this coming Monday (June 28th), we can’t help but ask Callum what advice he would give to this years set of contestants…
“I’d just say go in, take things day by day and just see what happens because I think when you do that, and you don’t try to outsmart the show, you end up doing pretty well.”
Reflecting further on his own lived experience of life in the notoriously unpredictable villa, Callum adds thoughtfully: “It’s all about your mindset and not overthinking things, you might feel like you have an idea of what’s going to happen to you in there, but trust me, you really have no clue what’s in store, so don’t ruin it for yourself by getting too in your head about everything because it’s an experience of a lifetime, that you’ll never get to have again, so just enjoy it!”
And when it comes to dealing with the court of public opinion, Callum has very clear views on how to best deal with the sudden heightened level of interest contestants face when it comes to all aspects of their lives.
“It can be hard for some people afterwards, but it depends on who you are as a person and what your ambitions are. I just think you’ve got to be authentic and you can’t worry about what other people think or waste your time trying to impress everyone because when you do that, I think thats when things can start to go a bit wrong.”
“It’s all about your mindset and not overthinking things, you might feel like you have an idea of what’s going to happen to you in there, but trust me, you really have no clue what’s in store, so don’t ruin it for yourself by getting too in your head about everything because it’s an experience of a lifetime, that you’ll never get to have again, so just enjoy it!”Callum’s advice for this years set of Love Island contestants
We found love…
The original premise of Love Island was for normal, everyday people to find love in quite an extraordinary environment and circumstance. And whilst although not the official winner of his series, a year and a bit later, Callum seems to have pulled off the ultimate win with his blossoming relationship with Molly seemingly stronger than ever, with the loved up couple having recently moved in with one another in Manchester.
“Yeah, I’ve got a house with Molly now! That’s a bit mad isn’t it?!” Callum laughs. “But you know, I sort of went into the villa, thinking to myself – if it (love) happens, it happens. And if it doesn’t, it doesn’t and… you know, things worked pretty good for me. I know I got a bit of stick at one point for the decisions I made, but I feel like that decision paid off and I’m really happy now.”
With lockdown restrictions in the U.K. set to ease over the course of the next few months, Callum says he feels good about the future, and is excited to explore some of the opportunities presented to him following a year that saw much of his industry placed on pause due to the global outbreak of COVID-19.
“My outlook was always if I lasted 5 days in the villa, got booted out and was back in work doing my old job three months later, then so be it!” Callum says with a sense of maturity. “You can’t expect anything, or to have this brand new life and career just because you’ve been on Love Island. So my I’ll just do what I’ve always done, keep being me and see what happens.”