'I never thought I would fall in love on the show but I did ... the fact that I found someone who's the best thing ever is amazing'
Many people thought that Love Island couple Gabby Allen and Marcel Somerville would split after the cameras stopped rolling, but they are now firmly an item, as Gabrielle Fagan reports
Liverpudlian bombshell Gabby Allen catapulted to fame on last year's series of ITV2's Love Island. The 25-year-old dancer was one of 13 singletons living in a luxury villa for a summer of passion, while competing to find love and win £50,000.
Although Allen was branded a 'fake' by some viewers over her romance with ex-Blazin' Squad member and music producer Marcel Somerville, the couple have proved the doubters wrong.
Unlike series winners Kem Cetinay and Amber Davies, who split up in January, Gabby and Marcel (who came fourth), are living together and talking about marriage and children.
How do you look after your health and wellbeing?
"I'm so busy at the moment making personal appearances and doing other projects, I only get to the gym around five times a week. I focus a lot on my abs and core, which is a great help to my back.
"I'm passionate about fitness and I'm using my new app, Shape Up With Gabby Allen, because it has 10 and 15-minute workouts for people like me, who haven't got a lot of time. It's weird listening to my own voice though!
"My diet is balanced and low on carbs, but with lots of protein. I eat fish and chicken, lots of vegetables and fruit. My treats are a weekly roast, Chinese takeaways and chocolate biscuits. It's also brilliant that Budweiser has alcohol-free Prohibition beer."
You're known for your enviable curves and toned physique, but is there a part of your body that you dislike?
"I wish I was taller but, when I was younger, a scoliosis [an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine] meant I had to have metal rods put into my back. It cost me around four inches in height and I had to learn how to walk again afterwards.
"I wish I was blessed with a bigger bust, but it's just something I have to deal with. Love Island made me feel insecure about my appearance compared to the rest of the girls. I've thought about a boob job but don't want to take time out of work at the moment. Marc wants me to do whatever makes me happy and just wants me to be more confident."
How do you feel about the Love Island experience, now nearly a year has past?
"Going on Love Island was so scary, but it's given me a new lease of life and opportunities I'd never dreamt of. I feel like a winner even though we came fourth. I've just released my own fitness app, and I even got to walk the red carpet at the National Television Awards. If someone had told me that would happen a year ago I'd have said, 'Who me? You must be mad!'"
How are you and Marcel?
"I never thought I'd fall in love on the show, but I did. In this day and age, it's a struggle to meet someone and I'm very picky, but the fact I found someone who's the best thing ever is amazing. This is the first mature relationship I've been in, and the most secure I've ever felt. It's all because of him. Living together has brought us even closer.
"Marc is very chilled and calm, whereas I'm fiery, hot-headed and much more messy... so we're a good balance for each other. Overall, I'd describe myself as a strong, independent short-a*** who doesn't take any nonsense. He's hilarious, gorgeous and we have a balance between lust and friendship. We pride ourselves on being together as a couple, but also having our own careers and paths."
So many reality TV romances don't last when the cameras stop rolling - what makes yours different?
"We've lasted because we were so honest with each other and we talk things through all the time. I'm not a game player and neither is he. We sort out any arguments as they happen."
Will you get married any time soon?
"We didn't want to rush anything while we were on the island and don't want to now. I don't want Marcel to feel pressured to [propose] just because we're in the public eye. If he did, I'm definitely in love and I'd probably say yes! We've talked about having children one day, but it's way too early for that."
How did you feel about the racist abuse you suffered from online trolls over your relationship?
"It was horrendous. I was flabbergasted and absolutely heartbroken. I couldn't believe that people would comment on the colour of someone's skin in this day and age.
"I posted a reaction video on Instagram because I felt so strongly about it. I faced the racism head on and after that, it disappeared. People who say those things are cowards and keyboard warriors who hide behind a screen. Marcel's a strong guy who's had [racist] stuff in the past and nothing phases him. He said I should just ignore it, but I was determined to face them down."
What's got you through the tough times?
"I was 18 when I came to London to go to theatre school.
"I worked as a waitress and personal trainer to support myself and got a lot of experience handling rejection, which built up my determination and motivation.
"As a family, we've suffered a lot of loss, which always seems to happen around Christmas and that's left me dreading that season. My father died five years ago - aged 54, last Christmas we lost my grandmother and we've also lost my granddad and an auntie. Luckily, my mum's my angel who's the strongest, most supportive person ever."
Gabby Allen has partnered with new alcohol-free beer, Budweiser Prohibition, to help the nation embrace moderation in 2018. For more information visit budprohibition.com