"There was a sense of panic in the air"
As Love Island‘s heart rate challenge returned, 2021 contestant Priya Gopaldas spoke about the reality of the challenge, revealing it made her feel sick.
The task features Islanders dressing up in racy outfits and performing a lap dance while heart rates are monitored.
Priya revealed what actually happened behind the scenes during her series.
She recalled: “As soon as I heard that we were doing the heart rate challenge, my heart was in my mouth and I felt sick.
“There was a moment when I questioned whether I’d actually do it, but as a medical student I knew that nerves would get me nowhere so I took myself to the bedroom to calm down.
“Before you’re called out, you spend time in the villa with the other girls.
“Some of them were practising their moves, but I knew that I’d forget everything as soon as I walked out so staying calm was my priority.
“I remember sitting on the bed and picturing myself on a beach somewhere.
“Number one, it helped me relax and number two it brought my heart rate down which meant I wouldn’t have a high result throughout the entire challenge.”
Explaining what happened before the challenge, Priya continued:
“There was a sense of panic in the air, but everyone became each other’s cheerleader and you had to do your best to get through it.
“I remember Kaz [Kamwi] was teaching other people different moves while I was the person who was telling everyone that it would be fine.
“One by one, the producers call your name and tell you it’s your turn to dance.
“You aren’t given any warning when your turn is, so you’re constantly waiting to see if it’s you. I was second to last which meant I had seen most of the girls dance and knew I couldn’t live up to what they’d done.”
Priya revealed the contestants have no say in their costumes, with them being handed to Islanders in a bag moments before their performance.
But Priya said she was “lucky” to receive a nurse’s outfit.
“As soon as your name’s called, you’re taken away and a producer hands you a bag with your outfit in it. It’s chosen for you, so you have no say in what you get to wear.
“Not knowing what’s in the bag is very stressful, but I got lucky and was given a nurse’s outfit.
“I’ve still got it to this day and I even wore it for Halloween last year. I know some contestants weren’t as happy about their costumes and there was some disappointment.
“You’re also not told what song you’re going to dance to. I was hoping for a Rihanna song, but what I got was far from it, so I had to adjust quickly.
“As I was walking to the fire pit, I was thinking ‘Priya, you fancy everyone here. Show them your best moves’.
“I think the secret is to pretend that you’re a few drinks into a night out and you have to pretend that you’ve got no inhibitions even though you know you’re on national TV.
“I’ve got two left feet, so the challenge was a nightmare.
“I was given some high heels that were too high for me and I couldn’t walk properly when I went out to the fire pit.
“At one point I even attempted a sl*t drop but I lost my balance and fell backwards.
“It wasn’t my finest moment and those four minutes felt like four hours but luckily I did get Brett [Staniland]’s heart racing and he was my couple at the time.
“As soon as I was done I went inside, lay on the bed and put my head in my hands.”
“Watching the boys dance was a lot less stressful and I couldn’t stop laughing.
“The whole set-up means that the sexiness is somewhat taken away.
“During the challenge, you’re too busy laughing to focus and as soon as it’s done producers come over to take your heart rate and jot it down which isn’t attractive at all.
“To this day, I still haven’t watched my own dance back. I think it’s still on TV but I refuse to watch it back as I’m too embarrassed.
“Maybe one day I’ll see it but for now I’d rather not relive the experience.”