“Love Island” viewers witnessed history on 13 March when new host Maya Jama announced that Kai Fagan and Sanam Harrinanan were the winners of the winter 2023 series. Not only are they the first Casa Amor couple to win “Love Island”, but the loved-up pair are the first couple of colour to take the top spot in the show’s 8-year history, too. Viewers were quick to comment on the moment, writing on Twitter they are a “breath of fresh air” and have proven that POC can win the show.
This is a significant win as, for too long, fans of the show have been left disappointed at the portrayal of Black Islanders on the ITV2 series. The reality show has been criticised for underappreciating Black women, using them as placeholders until white bombshells enter the villa, and of failing to give Black Islanders the same airtime as others.
You might be shocked to hear that it took until 2018 for a Black woman to even walk through the villa doors, despite the show premiering in 2015. Samira Mighty, the first Black Islander, is a Kai and Sanam supporter, stating that their win on the show is also a win for people of colour across the UK. “I think it’s really good that they won because it just represents a lot,” she tells POPSUGAR. “It can show that people of colour can go on these shows and win them. Whereas before, it was always quite obvious who was going to win.”
“I think it’s really good that they won because it just represents a lot. It can show that people of colour can go on these shows and win them. Whereas before, it was always quite obvious who was going to win.”
Mighty’s series was won by Dani Dyer and Jack Fincham and, while she is grateful for her time in the villa, she found herself bouncing around friendship couples, with no romantic connections. “It’s turned over a new leaf, you know?”, she adds. Amber Gill’s 2019 “Love Island” win marked her as the first and, until now, the only person of colour to have won the show, alongside Greg O’Shea, but never has a couple of colour been crowned the winners before this series. “I think everyone wanted them to win, which was great. They had all of the public’s back, so I’m glad that Love Island actually responded to it and actually saw that they were loved,” Mighty says.
Leaving the villa was a big shock for Mighty and admits she is one of very few people who know what it’s like for Kai, Sanam, Ron, Lana, and co. “No one will ever understand. One second you’re Samira that not many people know and then you come out and you’ve got a lot of people that know you. So, it’s quite a weird experience, but you get used to it, especially being five years deep now,” she says.
Since leaving the show, Mighty has been busy cultivating a career in music. She formed a “Love Island” group with fellow Islanders Zara McDermott, Wes Nelson, and Eyal Booker and they competed on “The X Factor: Celebrity” in 2019, although it disbanded soon after. And now she has just released her debut single, “Like This, Like That”, as she hopes to cement her position as one of the “big pop girlies”.
Working with Danish music producer Cutfather on the synth-pop track, Mighty explains how she had to pinch herself after following in the footsteps of the international superstars who worked with the same producer. “I’m in Cuts’s hall of fame now,” she quips. “Obviously with the likes of The Pussycat Dolls and Kylie, I did feel quite honoured. They know pop music out there so well, and he and his team just threw everything into it, and that’s what I absolutely love. We’ve made a good partnership,” Mighty says. Check out her new single below.