FEISTY Geordie Amber Gill won the hearts of the nation on Love Island, but a year on she is struggling to find romance.
The former beauty therapist has been single since Irish rugby player Greg O’Shea cruelly dumped her by text just weeks after they clinched glory on the hit ITV2 show.
Amber has grown tired of the relentless private messages and marriage proposals she gets on social media from men only interested in her appearance.
The 22-year-old beauty told The Sun on Sunday: “I get inundated with proposals in my DMs but I don’t think they mean it and, because of Love Island, I’m now super-careful when I’m dating.
“I don’t want to be thought of as a sex symbol. Oh, God, no! I don’t want to be that because there’s more to my personality than that.
"I know people maybe can’t see beyond the pictures on Instagram, but I would like to think people would realise that.
“I’d much rather someone engaged me in a proper conversation. People might see me as just someone who has been on TV in Love Island but there’s much more to me than that.
“I do have a lot more to offer than my looks, and if somebody complimented my personality then that would mean a lot more to me.
“I would roll my eyes if someone came up to me in a pub or club and started going on about how gorgeous I was, rather than engaging me in a proper conversation.
"I’m always open to relationships.”
Today, in an exclusive interview, Amber insists she is over Greg and no longer speaks to him, wouldn’t be adverse to more reality TV shows “once life gets back to normal”, and wants to use her voice to promote diversity in the entertainment industry.
The star won millions of fans after she was unceremoniously dumped by Scouser Michael Griffiths for another contestant on the summer series of Love Island.
When fireman Michael brazenly asked for a second chance, Amber opted for new guy Greg and just weeks later they beat bookies’ favourite Tommy Fury and Molly-Mae Hague to be crowned 2019 winners.
With this year’s summer Love Island cancelled because of the pandemic, Amber is still the reigning queen.
She has been the face of fashion brand MissPap in a deal reported to be worth £1million and now boasts 2.5million followers on Instagram. But Amber continues to struggle with fame.
She said: “I still feel a bit blown away that so many people seem to know me. Also the fact that there is no Love Island this year just prolongs that I won it.
“It feels like I could still be the reigning winner in the summer for some time to come.”
Amber, who grew up in Newcastle but moved to London after Love Island, was dumped over the phone by Greg in September — just five weeks after the pair had shared the £50,000 prize money.
She was devastated at the time but insists she has moved on from the break-up, adding: “I wish him the best. I only had two people to choose from at the end so it was a bit unrealistic for it to last for ever.
“No regrets. He’s a nice guy but we are two completely different people. Yeah, there’s unrealistic standards to keep when you have fame out of Love Island. The only one of the boys I’ve stayed in touch with is Ovie [Soko].
“I speak to the girls from the show all the time, Anna [Vakili] and Yewande [Biala] and Francesca [Allen].”
Greg recently blamed the split on his rugby career and added he has nothing but admiration for his ex.
The 25-year-old, who is part of the Ireland rugby sevens team who had hoped to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, said: “She’s class and she’s got everything going for her.
“But the issue was, when I came home I stuck myself into training.
“I could have tried harder but that would have made her unhappy. I couldn’t give her what she wants and needs.”
News of their break-up opened the social media floodgates for countless flirty comments and some very indecent direct messages from Amber's admiring fans.
But she refuses to let it go to her head.
She said: “I really can’t start saying stuff like, ‘Ooh, I’m lush now’, because you’ll get one nasty message and it will just send your self-esteem into the ground. So I don’t focus too heavily on the good ones and, if I do get any haters, I’ll just reply with a funny or sarcastic response.
“When I get propositions, I think about people’s intentions because quite often people DM-ing me are just desperate for Instagram followers.”
Unlike other celebs who turn to exclusive dating apps to find love, Amber is in no rush to navigate the minefield that is online dating.
She said: “I’m just not familiar with that world. I’ve never really fancied it. No, definitely not. Relationships aren’t the main thing for me right now and I don’t think they will be for a while. I’ve got so many exciting things I want to do.”
But she does reveal that if the right man turned up wanting to sweep her off her feet, she “definitely wouldn’t turn him down”.
The beauty spent most of lockdown away from London, holed up with her parents in the family home.
She added: “I only went back up to Newcastle when Boris eased the restrictions a bit. I was enjoying spending the time learning to speak Spanish and cook properly, but like everyone else I’m over lockdown now.”
As well as her modelling work — which is starting up again post-strict lockdown — Amber would love to return to reality TV.
Top of her bucket list, if the ITV1 show returns this November, would be a stint in the Australian jungle on I’m A Celebrity.
She added: “I’d definitely try it, but I can’t tell you what I’d be like at eating a crocodile’s penis. I’m a bit squeamish. I don’t like insects, but once I get my head into doing something, I’ll do it.”
Amber is also keen to follow in co-star Maura Higgins’ footsteps and try her luck on Dancing On Ice. Both the Love Islanders had talks with ITV about appearing in the 2020 series earlier this year, with Irish Maura eventually picked for the line-up.
Amber said: “It would be good to try a load of different things, but the Dancing On Ice training does seem intense.
I know Maura was struggling on it and, watching her, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I don’t know how she’s doing that’. ”
The other issue occupying Amber’s time in lockdown has been the Black Lives Matter movement.
Amber, whose dad is from Trinidad and Tobago, was trolled after attending a march in London last month when the UK was in full lock-down.
My dad is black and my mum is white so I’m aware I’ve had more privilege. It’s important I use my voice.
Amber is hopeful the TV industry will continue to tackle the lack of diversity in reality shows.
She said: “Love Island is more diverse than a lot of other shows, but I wouldn’t say the balance is proportionate — it’s not there yet.”
On the summer show being cancelled this year, she added: “I was so gutted.
"I was really looking forward to seeing it from the other side of the camera.
“Oh well, they’ll just have to call me the reigning summer champion for a bit longer.”
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