Love Island star Savanna Darnell from Sheffield shares regrets as show left her an 'absolute mess'

A former Love Island contestant fro Sheffield has shared how appearing on the show negatively impacted her mental health in a new tell-all interview with OK! magazine.
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Savanna Darnell, aged 26, from Sheffield, was selected out of thousands of hopefuls to appear on the ITV show in 2018.

But her short stint in Casa Amor changed her life in ways she had never expected, and she ended up in a “deep black hole of depression”.

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In the interview Savanna recalled how she first became interested in appearing on the dating show after she was scouted on Instagram. A long-time fan, she agreed to meet producers.

Savanna Darnell before Love IslandSavanna Darnell before Love Island
Savanna Darnell before Love Island

Savanna said: "They told me it was likely I’d be in the original lineup, but there was a small chance I’d be a back up. It was never mentioned that I might only be on the show for three days, but I probably should have thought about the less desirable outcomes myself before saying yes."

Despite her brother's reservations, she signed up. She also joined a celebrity agency, dropping the musical theatre agency she was previously signed to at their request.

Not long after she was soon flown to Spain, where she went "straight into a super strict quarantine".

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It was during her time there, when she was allowed to watch the launch show on her chaperone's laptop, that she realised she would not be an original contestant.

"Three days later a producer came to the hotel to tell me I was going home because the storylines wouldn’t work with my entrance. My heart dropped," said Savanna.

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She returned to the UK, feeling disheartened, until three weeks later, in another reversal, Savanna was flown to Spain again. She was to appear on the show as a Casa Amor contestant, tasked with convincing the boys from the main villa to swap partners in just three days.

"I was working against the clock trying to forge a connection. I ended up spending a lot of time with Wes Nelson, and we shared a bed on the final night. He told me that he was going to take me to the main villa, but the next day he’d changed his mind.

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"I put my whole worth into the show," she said. "I wasted so much time and energy, and had nothing to show for it. I fell into a deep black hole of depression."

Savanna spoke to an ITV psychiatrist but dedicated against therapy. She said: "Looking back I should have enquired about medication as I really needed some kind of help. I covered it up as much as I could, but inside I was an absolute mess."

Keen to offer advice to new contestants, she said: "Be smart and remember there's more to life than just this show. It can’t be your be all and end all because it’s not real life. Some people are going to have their life transformed after taking part, but there's also the people like me who are going to go back to their normal lives."

A spokesman for ITV said there is a series of duty of care protocols in place to protect those taking part in the show, which includes: a comprehensive psychological support, and training on the impacts of social media and handling potential negativity.

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