Paige Thorne placed fifth with new beau and Love Island second-timer Adam Collard, and has gained over one million followers in the process.
Now set up for a career in social media and showbiz, the Swansea native was previously employed as a paramedic, though she says she was forced to resign just before the show commenced – and she was “absolutely devastated”.
Paige says she had to quit her job to avoid bad press for the NHS
The 24-year-old didn’t expect to land the show since she applied purely out of pettiness after a bad breakup. Paige claims her audition video “was not great”, but upon receiving the offer, she had to sacrifice her beloved paramedic position.
Her manager was “so supportive” of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but Paige says higher-ups ultimately didn’t approve of her taking temporary leave. They wanted to avoid “the bad press and backlash” felt by paramedics and the NHS from the public, she alleged on the Girls Know Nothing podcast.
Contestants can stay in the villa for eight weeks, provided they’re in the original line-up and make it to the end, which Paige achieved bar a few days. “I tried taking all my annual leave, an unpaid leave, I tried taking a career break,” she said. “I tried every single avenue possible to be able to keep my job and do Love Island.”
But to avoid the possible criticism for allowing their employee to leave amid understaffing complaints, Paige says she had to resign. It was a huge gamble as she could’ve exited the villa after just one week.
She now has the “best of both worlds”
Paige could be back in her paramedic uniform soon as she was given the option to return as a bank paramedic, giving her the freedom to select her shifts.
“I can still do what I love and keep doing paramedic, and then still have a cheeky pic here and there in London.” By day she’s an essential worker, by night she’s a glam influencer – we love the duality.
She isn’t the first Love Island contestant from the healthcare sector; Alex George was an A&E doctor before his reality show stint and returned to the position after his exit. He has since become a Youth Mental Health Ambassador.