It’s hard to believe that it’s been just over a year since Liberty Poole stole the hearts of the nation by bravely calling off her relationship with Love Island’s Jake Cornish and quitting the villa just days before the grand final.
Catching up with OK!, the 23-year-old model and influencer insists she has "no regrets" about her early exit, adding, "I wasn’t going to fake anything for the sake of TV. It wasn’t right for me and Jake to stay in the villa."
But life after Love Island hasn’t all been plain sailing. Calling us from her Dubai hotel room, where she’s enjoying a sunshine break with her mum Jo, she opens up about the horror of being held at knifepoint while in Los Angeles with her Love Island gal pal Kaz Kamwi, 27.
The ordeal – in April – has had a lasting impact…
Hi Liberty! It’s been five months since your ordeal in LA. How are you feeling?
I do get a lot more anxious on nights out. It’s really sad. When it happened, it was completely unexpected, so if I’m out and I see someone acting suspiciously, the memories come flooding back. I go into flight mode and remove myself quickly. Saying that, it hasn’t affected the way I live my life. I never miss out on anything out of fear, but it’s made me more aware of my surroundings.
Has the incident changed your way of thinking?
Me and Kaz have tried to turn the negative into a positive, because what happened made us realise that life is way too short. Before, I used to really care what people thought about me, but now I put myself first, because it’s my life. I’ve got to live it and do what I want to do, when I want to do it. It was a horrific experience, but a bit of a blessing in disguise.
Speaking of Kaz, have you both been enjoying single life since Love Island?
Yes! She’s happily single like me. I dated one person out of the public eye for a while when I first left the villa, but that didn’t work out, so now I’m focusing on myself. I’m not going to lie, I’m just bored of boys! I’m sick of going through the same s**t with a different boy. I don’t know whether it’s my age group, or whether it’s just dating in general, but I feel like social media has such an impact on dating. Boys can have an amazing girl but feel like they’re only getting 80% from them, so they look on Instagram for the [other] 20%. The cheek! They always think the grass is greener. I’d rather be an independent boss lady than settle for that. I’m not closing the door on my dating life, though. If the right person comes along, I’ll be over the moon.
Too right! Do you ever catch up with your Love Island ex, Jake?
No, we have absolutely no contact at all. I have no issue with him – if I ever saw him I’d be civil. But for now, we have no way of getting in touch with one another.
Are you glad you left the villa when you did?
Yes, 100%. The vibe between me and Jake had changed. It was time to go.
How do you look back on your time on the show?
I absolutely loved my time on Love Island. The whole experience made me a much stronger person and leaving the show and becoming independent was a huge moment in my life. That was the first time I’d ever stood up for myself and thought, “No, I deserve better than this.” My whole attitude towards my self-worth has changed.
Who else are you close to from your season?
I’m friends with everyone! A couple of different girl groups came from my series, so I’ve got Faye [Winter], Sharon [Gaffka] and Abigail [Rawlings] on one side, who I see all the time, and then Millie [Court], Lucinda [Strafford] and Chloe [Burrows] are another group who I love spending time with. We don’t see each other very often, but we do message all the time to show each other support.
Would you ever sign up for another dating show?
Maybe Celebs Go Dating? I just feel so rusty when it comes to dating now – I’ve hardly had any practice! So I’d need some reminders before I went on a show like that.
You appeared on Dancing On Ice earlier this year. Have you got any more TV plans?
I’d love to complete a presenting course of some kind. Everyone asks me if I’d go on I’m A Celeb and even though I’m a big fan of the show, I’d last no longer than five minutes because my worst fears are insects and wasps. I’d scream the house down!
Any other exciting plans you can let us in on?
I want to get my first mortgage and I’m looking at starting another business, like getting a property portfolio under way. I’ll continue to elevate my Instagram, showing off what I like to wear, so possibly more fashion work – but with a focus on sustainability and fair pay. I’d also love to let people know my story, so I’d be interested in releasing my own book. And I want to complete my university degree! It’s going to be hard to balance everything, but I think I can do it.
Are you grateful to Love Island for giving you these opportunities?
Definitely! It’s a year on and I can’t believe that people still want to work with me. I’m so lucky. But I’m using my platform for more meaningful things now.
You’ve collaborated with Skinny Tan, which has worked with breast cancer charity CoppaFeel for the T*ts and Tanning Thursdays campaign, which promotes checking yourself regularly. What has that been like?
Amazing! One in seven women in the UK gets diagnosed with breast cancer [in their lifetime], but so many have admitted to not checking their breasts for lumps on a daily basis. So we’ve been working on the T*ts and Tanning campaign to remind women to check themselves every week in the most fun way possible. Skinny Tan has created a limited edition Self-Tan Mousse Booby Bottle which has a special QR code containing information on how to check yourself properly, and £1 from every sale will be donated to CoppaFeel! to help it continue its amazing work.
Skinny Tan Limited Edition CoppaFeel! Self-Tan Mousse, RRP £24.99 (£1 from every sale goes to CoppaFeel!). From skinnytan.co.uk.
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