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Love Island Producer Defends Contestants' Intelligence: "They’re All Very Comfortable in Their Own Skin"

Love Island USA and Love Island Games executive producer Simon Thomas says their contestants enjoy who they are.

By Tara Bennett
Split of Love Island Games's Liberty and Callum

The return of Love Island USA Season 6 was confirmed for summer 2024 at the Peacock panel at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour this week, and promises lots of exciting new romance. Simon Thomas, the executive producer of both Love Island USA and Love Island Games, said the series would feature a brand-new villa and water feature. 

RELATED: Love Island USA, Queens Court Returning to Peacock Along with New Series Love Undercover

"I think it’s probably the biggest pool that we’ve had yet, which is fun," he teased. "I think we found our stride, so the stuff that’s planned is fun."

The best contestants are "comfortable in their own skin"

Love Island Games's Callum

Thomas was there to speak with fellow Peacock reality producers, and field questions from reporters around the world about their shows. When asked about the casts of the various Love Island series not always featuring the sharpest minds, Thomas defended the sometimes negative perception of their singles. 

"It’s funny because I think that intelligence and banter and flippancy are all sort of slightly intertwined," he said. "For example, I’d say the funniest contestant that we had on Games was actually very smart. But the things that she would say wouldn’t come across that way perhaps, right?"

Lightheartedly, he admitted that he admired that the contestants "actually enjoy" being who they are. "They’re all very comfortable in their own skin and that’s something that we look for," he continued. "People like Callum [Hole] who we had on Love Island Games, is perhaps the sort of person you’re referring to, but he’s the sweetest, nicest, most genuine person. And nothing he’s doing is out of ignorance. Who he is is valid, and I think that he’s comfortable with that.

"And maybe if I was that good looking I would be comfortable with it too," he joked. 

Influencers with an agenda need not apply

Love Island Usa Winners

Finding the right cast is key to building the energy of any Love Island franchise series, so Thomas shared some secrets about how they approach that these days, especially when it comes to the sincerity of their contestants.

"It's someone that you would want to go and have a beer with, like a friend type," he said of their picks. "Someone that you want to spend time with. If you’re in the casting room and you see someone and they’re talking to the person in the back, not trying to lock eyes with who they think is the most important person, that’s really appealing."

RELATED: Here’s Who’s Returning to the Villa on Love Island: All Stars

He admitted that plenty of prospective cast members are now influencers seeking to amp up their brands and followers. "Those hardcore influencers — which is a perfectly valid career move — are just not compatible with being on Love Island," he said frankly. "You have to be present, available, open, and looking for actual love, or love for the week, right? We’re a sex-positive show. You can just have fun. But we’re looking for layers of personality, but not layers of hidden desires or ambition."

Finding "different body types" on Love Island

Split image of three Love Island USA Season 5 cast members Destiny, Marco, and Anna

OK, so you don't need high SAT scores to make the cut for any Love Island show, but Thomas says the beauty standard bar for both men and women will continue to come down to being "ridiculously good-looking," with some caveats.

RELATED: Which Love Island USA Season 5 Finalists Are Still Together 

"I think we’ve had a little bit of body diversity across the years on the show," he mused. "I think it’s something that we are concentrating on right now."

He said being "good looking" in general doesn’t come with a body type. "We just have to be better at finding those people who have the chat, the banter, the ability to hang in a crowd, [be] ridiculously good-looking, and then slot in everything else as well," he said. "We just have to do our job and find those people who have those different body types."

As we all do our 10,000 steps a day, be sure to walk along to full seasons of the Love Island shows streaming on Peacock now!

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