The name Jada Sezer won’t strike you like Kendall Jenner or Emily Ratajkowski.
In fact, a quick Google may leave you scrolling through articles that speculated Jada would be a contestant on Love Island series 5, becoming the show’s first-ever plus-size model in the process.
Yet this model and activist is set on taking the world by storm and hopes to leave an impact far greater than those who simply look good on camera.
With an MA in Psychology, a blossoming acting career and modelling campaigns with Adidas under her belt, Jada is on track to become both a household name and a role model to boot.
Now, grappling with the consequences of becoming ‘instantly famous’ and the impact it has had on her mental health, Jada has carefully packaged every harsh lesson she has learnt into a new docu-series called Instant Fame.
Going back to the start: that Love Island rumour
Last summer, when the rumour mill was churning out potential candidates for Love Island season 5, a name which popped up time and again was Jada Sezer.
Although Jada vehemently denied she was going to appear on the show, she was actually asked by ITV to be a contestant.
Speaking about her brush with Love Island fame, Jada told RTB:
Initially I thought it was a hoax or mistake. There had not been a size 16 girl on the show and as an advocate for things I stand for and believe in; I didn’t think they would want someone like me on the show.
With repeated calls for more diversity on the show, Jada would’ve made a fantastic Islander. However, she withdrew her name from consideration out of concern for her own wellbeing.
Love Island’s effect on mental health
The power that Love Island holds over the public means it can make you or break you overnight.
Something Jada was fully aware of, and the reason she didn’t dive head-first into the villa as she weighed up the “pros and cons” before asking herself on the definitive question:
“What would be the effect on my life, my family’s life and my friends if I suddenly had instant fame?”
One of Jada’s predominant fears going into the world of reality TV was that she would lose the ability to present herself. Instead, someone behind the scenes would be pulling the strings.
Made in Chelsea star Caggie Dunlop shared similar thoughts in Jada’s documentary and she added:
I would show up on set on a bicycle and they would put me in a Rolls Royce. I had fears about letting someone who I might never meet having the ability to edit or shape me to the public.
WATCH EPISODE ONE OF INSTANT FAME HERE
Mental health and reality TV
Part and parcel of the Love Island viewing experience is that for a chunk of time, we are allowed complete access into the lives of others. They offer up every part of themselves for our consumption, in the faith that the receiving end will be as open and accepting.
This, as we know all too well, is not the case.
When touching upon the mental health of reality TV stars, Jada and the Instant Fame interviewees all agreed that you need to have a “solid support system” and to have “made peace with [the] skeletons in your own closet”.
Without having done this, fame and the spotlight will only “magnify” all of your problems.
But is there a solution?
Time and again, people have struggled for a solution to the toxicity created by shows such as Love Island. Some believe any attempt would be futile as we’re too far gone; others, like Jada, believe there is still a chance for change.
Jada argues that we “need more diversity in our stories,” and that “there is a greater need for care.” She also hopes that by watching Instant Fame, viewers will recognise that celebrity life will neither solve your problems nor be representative of who you truly are.
Ex-Islander Laura Crane also had some nuggets of wisdom here, telling viewers:
Do not get famous to find yourself, because you won’t find it there.
Instant Fame shows the need for us all to be a little bit kinder and more understanding of the world which has been fostered for our entertainment. It’s an essential watch going into 2020, with reality TV showing no signs of slowing.
WATCH EPISODE ONE OF INSTANT FAME HERE