Love Island star Shaughna Phillips has said that upon appearing on the programme “overnight, no-one cared about what I wanted to say”.
The influencer, 28, featured on series 6 of the winter version of the hit ITV2 show which saw the contestants spend up to six weeks in a South African villa.
Phillips became a fan favourite after being dumped by fellow islander Callum Jones, 25, when he decided to form a couple with Molly Smith in the rival villa, Casa Amor.
During the re-coupling scene that followed, Phillips uttered the two words – “congrats, hun” – that caused her to become an internet sensation, with the phrase instantly trending on Twitter.
However, for Phillips the hardest part of becoming a reality TV star was being regularly asked questions about her appearance.
Originally working as a democratic services officer for Lambeth Council in south London, Phillips said she had always “focused on being the smartest person in the room”.
“When I walked into an office or meeting, no-one cared about what I looked like because it was about what you were about to say,” she told the PA news agency.
“I always tried to be the smartest person in the room and suddenly overnight, no-one cared about what I wanted to say – no-one cared about my opinion.
“It was about what I was wearing, or if I have my make-up done today or have I had a new filler put in.
“I don’t like it. And that’s one of the reasons I do what I do now, because it absolutely doesn’t matter what you look like.”
Phillips has been vocal about her journey to body confidence – culminating in the launch of her sport, fitness and nutrition app, Be You With Shaughna.
She has also publicly documented her battle with the condition lipoedema, an abnormal build-up of fat in the legs or arms, and her surgery to remove the fat in September 2020.
“I always say that my body is the least important part of me,” she said.
“That’s not me saying ‘I hate my body’, it just means that there’s so much more to me than what I look like.
“As a young woman, the pressures that you’re under… men just don’t have that.
“I’ve never looked at a man with his top off and gone, ‘oh my God, he’s a bit overweight’. We don’t do that for men, so why would we do that to each other?”
Phillips, who now has an Instagram following of more than 1.5 million, described herself as the “worst influencer going” and said she tries not to read negative comments online.
“I’m probably the worst influencer going because when I go to events, my phone stays in my pocket,” she said.
“If I could not be on social media, I wouldn’t be (because) I’d rather experience it than be stuck on my phone.
“When I came out (of Love Island) I didn’t look for stories about myself, although it was very tempting, because I knew for my own self it would serve no purpose.
“There is always going to be people that don’t like you and that’s fine. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.”
Phillips said she is worried about the effect social media is having on young people.
“Thank God I was never bullied, but if you were, it stopped at school, you’d go home, and then it would stop,” she said.
“And that just isn’t the case anymore.
“Kids go home and they’re still being tormented and tortured, and that’s just so alien to us.”
The reality TV star added that she believes schools should teach young people about self-confidence and how to “love yourself”.
“You’re taught the periodic table in school and you’re taught algebra,” Phillips said.
“But you’re not taught to love yourself, you’re not taught that the most important relationship in your life is you.
“I think that’s a British thing that we’re scared to say that we think we’re amazing, but why can’t we think that?”
For more information about Be You With Shaughna, visit https://thebeyouplan.com/