‘I’m the Luca Bish I was before the Love Island villa – I’m me again’

Twelve months after setting foot in the Love Island villa, Luca Bish describes the past year as a “whirlwind”. From working with Scott Disick’s brand Talentless to splitting from his girlfriend Gemma Owen, the former fishmonger, 23, has plenty to reflect on when we catch up with him. It’s safe to say Luca didn’t have an easy ride on the ITV2 dating show. He was accused of “controlling” behaviour and was reluctant to ever work on TV again due to the toll the programme took on him mentally. But it becomes clear when we chat that filming his latest venture, BBC’s Celebrity MasterChef, has given him his mojo back.

“Making that show has brought me back to being the Luca before the villa,” he says. “I felt myself again, it made me feel comfortable to do TV again. I was still very unsure if I wanted to be put in a situation where you can be shown in a certain light, but it made me feel so happy.”

Luca survived recouplings and vote-offs to make it all the way to the Love Island final with Gemma. However, filming the show came with confrontations, intensity and doubts over who he could trust. By the end Luca was at breaking point.

“I was like a battery and most of my juice was gone by the end of it and I was just ready to go,” he recalls. “I was mentally not there. When my mum and dad came in [as part of the Meet the Parents challenge], they even said they weren’t looking at their son. And that’s sad to hear, but thanks to MasterChef I feel back and if not better than I have before. It’s just learning, but I feel amazing. I’ve embraced it.”

So why are thousands of singletons around the country applying for the show? Is it the hope of finding “The One”, for
a mega-bucks clothing line deal, a boost in followers or even a Molly-Mae Hague-style empire?

“I didn’t go there for a swim and to fall in love,” Luca says. “I went in there for the experience on the whole, if I found love then that was a bonus and if I came out with a load of followers and opportunities then obviously that’s a bonus too. Having said that, I’m not really cut out for that influencer life and actually shy away from it. If someone tells me they’re going in there and going to fall in love because five people have had babies off it and they’ve been married, they’re watching the Disney Channel and believe in happy endings all the time. I’d say 99.9% of people go in there for a change of life and hopefully come out with a few followers.”

Despite being runners-up on the show, Luca and Gemma’s relationship sadly didn’t go the distance with both confirming their split last November. That must have been tough for Luca.

“Any break-up is hard,” he says. “The only thing I’d say about being in the public eye is you forget how many people are actually invested in your relationship and how much support is there. If anything, it was a nice feeling – not the break-up – but having those people there supporting you.”

However, Luca does admit the lack of privacy that has come with his new-found fame can be challenging at times.

“The other day, a neighbour had some building work going on and they broke a gas pipe, so I had to let loads of gas people in. I came out in the morning, because they asked me to move my car, and I was in my pants and straight away they asked me for a picture. It’s the privacy thing, but it comes with it and I had to expect it when walking through those villa doors.”

But the benefits outweigh the negatives and the connections and business opportunities Luca has been given are a couple of the reasons he says he has “no regrets”. He’s also made a few friends in the business, one being MasterChef judge John Torode, who gave Luca “a lot of advice”.

“We were in a little room, just me and him, and he said, ‘I don’t know what happened on that island, but you really need to follow and do what you want to do. It feels like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders.’ He said, ‘I expect really big things for you.’

“I got a bit emotional, as it was the first person from that world, and he’s been in it so long, who saw that I wasn’t myself or lost and it gave me a right kick up the a**e. And I don’t know if he’ll ever know what it did, him saying that, but it went a long way.”

Looking to the future, keen boxer Luca’s goal is to work in the sports industry or the ultimate dream would be to have a chat show like James Corden’s The Late Late Show. But for now, he’s grateful for his time on Love Island.

“I don’t look at life as regrets, I look at it as lessons,” he says. “I don’t look back and think, I wish I didn’t do that. I think if you do that you’re not learning.”

And so it’s no surprise that Luca, who hails the show’s aftercare as “brilliant”, says he’d go back at the drop of a hat.

“You wake up there, you have to make breakfast, I’m not going to lie, nine times out of 10, I never cleaned anything up, so that was left to the other boys. Lunch, made for you, dinner, made for you. You’ve got a 12m swimming pool, sun loungers everywhere. The only thing I’d like is a couple of days a week where we could go for a little walk.”

And when we probe him on his love life, Luca laughs, “Put it this way – this interview is the longest conversation I’ve had with a girl since my break-up.”

Luca is OK!’s Love Island correspondent and will share show secrets on OK’s TikTok every Monday and Wednesday


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