Fleeing to Love Island: Iranian woman joins Britain's hottest reality show

Fleeing to Love Island: Iranian woman joins Britain's hottest reality show
3 min read
05 Jun, 2019
From marriage pressure to having 'ridiculously' high standards: British-Iranain Love Island contestant Anna Vakili spoke to many fellow Middle Eastern girls watching the show.
Anna Vakili is a plus-sized model and pharmacist [Instagram]

The British nation clung onto their seats earlier this week as the fifth season of Love Island premiered on Monday. The new season has been labelled the most diverse of the series with the introduction of four contestants of ethnic minority origin, as well as one plus-sized model.

Among the cast, is 28-year-old Anna Vakili a British-Iranian pharmacist and plus-sized Instagram model. She’s dubbed as both the British and Iranian Kim Kardashian, who flaunts a Middle Eastern heritage, with her father originating from Armenia.

Within seconds of her introduction, she flaunted her Middle Eastern-ness, saying she’s on the show because her parents want her to get married.

“Having Middle Eastern parents, I am like at that age now where they are on my case like ‘you’re 28 years old Anna, you need to find someone, you need to get married, you need to have kids’” she said in the first episode.

The Persian glam-queen quickly clapped back at such cultural standards, reminding the nation, including the Middle Easterners watching that Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle got married in her late 30s.

Her fellow Middle Easterners took to social media and expressed their views of their Love Island rep.

During the pairing in the first episode, she set her standards and requiments, noting she waned a tall, well put together man and vowed to settle for nothing less. She was the only one to not step forward to show interest in any of her potential matches.

Whilst body language expert Judi James said she was being stand-offish because she was in constant "selfie mode", Middle Eastern women on social media were quick to see themselves in Anna at that moment: refusing to settle for anything but the best.

Marriage is a huge topic in many Middle Eastern households - often women are put under immense pressure to get married before they "expire" and are given a phenomenal amount of suitors to pick from. 

Women are often left resisting their families' wishes in a bid to live their own lives and allow love to find them instead of wasting years hunting for husbands. Naturally, when Anna spoke about this, people were able to relate:

Because she was the last woman to get matched on the show, by default she matched with the last man - 20-year-old Sherif Lanre.

Initially, she was put off by him, especially after finding out his age but took solace in him being taller than her, a non-negotiable condition for her to pair up with anyone.

Later on in the show, they began to hit it off, and naturally, people began to wonder what would happen if Anna and Sherif stayed together: