SHE was in the eye of a storm of “toxic femininity” on Love Island but yesterday evictee Olivia Hawkins insisted she has a big heart.
After being booted off the ITV2 dating show last week she faced a public backlash stemming from hundreds of complaints to telly watchdog Ofcom about the women reducing the men to tears.
Olivia, 27, insists the scenes where the girls were — in the words of viewers — “cruel and manipulative” to the boys in the name of “sisterhood”, a trend dubbed “toxic femininity”, were misleading.
She said: “It was never about the girls bashing the boys.
“I had many times when I was in tears that wasn’t shown on TV. There were real emotions.
“Maybe it was a case of big personalities clashing, it was so intense and arguments are inevitable when we were in a confined space together 24 hours a day.
“But it was definitely not a case of toxic femininity.
“When people meet me they will see the real me, I’m definitely not a villain. Now I’m out of the villa I’m looking forward to people seeing my fun side and my big heart. I’m a genuinely lovely person.”
Many viewers accused outspoken Olivia of being the ringleader, but student Tanya Manhenga, 23, and Australian Jessie Wynter, 26, also came under fire.
One man on Twitter, Linden, wrote: “The toxic femininity in that villa is wild.”
Raven tweeted: “Olivia is the definition of toxic femininity — gaslighting almost everyone, hypocrisy, weaponising crocodile tears, fake nice and fake in general.”
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Sophie wrote: “I’m sick of this ‘boss bitch’ mentality these girls have, it’s actually so toxic.”
A men’s domestic abuse charity called on Love Island to apply the same welfare standards to the men as women.
Mankind Initiative added “manipulation and gaslighting affects men as well”.
Olivia and her “sisters” drew 337 complaints to Ofcom after ripping into the men for their behaviour in Casa Amor, where the islanders in South Africa were separated and tempted with new partners.
Olivia had been coupled up with teacher Kai Fagan, 24, but they both chose to recouple.
She returned to the main villa with student Maxwell Samuda, 23, while Kai picked social worker Sanam Harrinanan, 24.
Rather than accept they had found new partners and move on, Olivia exploded at Kai, sniping: “Can’t say I’m shocked. Missing me already? Clearly not enough” — and later demanded he apologise.
Accused of hypocrisy by viewers, Olivia now understands why she was labelled “toxic”, saying: “I can see how it could be perceived in that way. It was never anything where I wanted to make Kai upset, that’s the last thing I would have wanted.
“It does look hypocritical of me, emotions were high.”
Then in a later episode, viewers were up in arms when Will Young, Tom Clare, both 23, and Shaq Muhammad, 24, were left in tears after their antics in Casa Amor were played on a big screen for Movie Night.
Loyal airport security officer Shaq was shown sobbing outside the villa after watching a clip of Tanya, 23, kissing her new man, software engineer Martin Akinola, 27.
Footballer Tom and farmer Will were also in tears, agonising over their betrayal of Samie Elishi, 23, and Jessie — the girls they had had been coupled up with during the villa swap.
But Olivia insists viewers didn’t get the full picture.
She said: “Shaq may have been upset but there were several times I saw Tanya very upset. All the girls in there went through it. You only see such a small amount of the day.
“Us girls had a very strong bond — we’re big on female empowerment — but all the girls and the boys really got on and sometimes the girls were just as upset as the boys.”
Viewers branded this year’s female line-up the most “manipulative and toxic” in the show’s history.
But Olivia insists that is just what producers are choosing to show on screen.
Where fans of previous series watched couples romping in bed, airtime is now devoted to arguments between the sexes.
Not one to hold back, Olivia also turned on Villa pal Ron Hall, 25, calling him a “fake friend” at the emotionally charged Movie Night.
She was angry the financial adviser was seen on camera discussing Olivia’s relationships, yet a later clip showed her doing the same to others.
She says that is all in the past and she wants him to win the ninth series alongside his make-up artist girlfriend Lana Jenkins, 25.
Olivia also rejects accusations from many in the villa that Ron has plotted his way to becoming one of the strongest couples after talking openly about how previous contestants made it to the final.
She said: “I don’t think that means he’s playing a game. I hope not because Lana’s my best friend. I’m rooting for them to win.”
It wasn’t just the boys Olivia went to war with.
Viewers were so mystified by her fierce rivalry with model Zara Deniz Lackenby-Brown, 25, that many were convinced something huge had happened between them in the outside world.
She finally explained: “We worked together once on a music video and kept in contact over social media, so when she came in it was nice to have a familiar face.
“I didn’t expect to fall out with her, out of everyone in there.”
Olivia was horrified when Zara stole footballer Tom off her in an early recoupling, saying “she stepped on my toes”.
But she insisted: “I thought she was a great girl and I still do. Being in a triangle was so hard. But looking back now I feel like we were played against each other.”
And it wasn’t just Zara. Ellie Spence, 25, who has left the villa, claimed Tanyel Revan and Olivia isolated her when she entered the villa as a bombshell because she was forced to couple up with one of their men.
The business development exec said she lost a stone through the stress of the “girl feuds”.
Olivia and Maxwell’s chances of making the final ended when they came bottom in a public vote.
After they were reunited with their phones she learned viewers had called her a “snake” and started a Twitter campaign to have her kicked her out of the villa.
Olivia said: “I was shocked at the backlash but people are open to their opinions. They only see such a small amount of time. You don’t see all the funny parts.”
She also insists she did not draw on her acting experience, a job that saw her appear alongside Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas in Bond movie No Time To Die and in EastEnders, saying: “You saw my true self . . . raw emotions.”
Now she wants to focus on her romance with Maxwell and getting back to work, with dreams of appearing on the West End stage.
It is perhaps no surprise that Olivia is in no rush to return to reality TV, saying: “I’ve done Love Island and that’s it for me.”