Note: This interview was conducted ahead of the onset of the SAG-AFTRA strike.
“Love Island USA” host Sarah Hyland is returning to the villa with some wise words for female islanders entering the reality dating show: “Don’t put blame on other women.”
“I think it’s really important to be able to build a strong foundation and relationship with your girls and really be there for each other,” Hyland told TheWrap ahead of hosting the show’s fifth installment. “I know that sometimes on these types of shows like women can be pitted against each other and what I really love about our show is [what] you saw last season — the girls — they’re still friends.”
Hyland pointed to “Love Island USA” alum Mackenzie Dipman and Deb Chubb, who she says she still sees going out together, applauding islanders who not only found love, but also built “lifelong friendships” at the same time.
“My advice would be to stick with the ladies, ladies, and just be vulnerable,” Hyland continued. “It’s okay to get hurt — It’s not going to be the end of the world — and if you have that type of sisterhood, no matter how hard you hurt, how badly you’re hurt, your girls are going to be there for you and you’ll always have that.”
Returning to host her second season of the U.S.-based dating series, which moved from CBS to Peacock for its fourth season last year, Hyland admits that she would love to kiki with the islanders even more than she already does, imagining that she could be the mother of the house.
“You know how sororities have the mother of the house, can I just be the mother of ‘Love Island?’” Hyland suggested. “I’d just sit back and like have a piña colada while [the islanders] figure out what’s going on and come to me for advice.”
Production on “Love Island USA,” which begins streaming on Peacock July 18, will continue amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike due to its competition gameshow status, which is contracted through a separate SAG-AFTRA agreement that is unaffected by the current strike.
TheWrap: Why did you decide to keep up with the hosting duties this season?
Sarah Hyland: I just love “Love Island” so much, not only as a female fan, but to be able to be there and watch these relationships grow and the drama unfold and the sexy makeout some challenges — it’s really fun as a fan of the show to be able to partly be a part of it.
Did Wells give you any advice from his time bartending on “Bachelor in Paradise” before you took on this role?
The way that “Love Island” works versus the way that the “Bachelor” franchise works, it’s very different. The advice that he gave me — he’s just such a warm and kind person that I think he would just give this advice to anybody in any situation — but he said, “listen to these people, invest in them and and let them know that you are there and that you care, and just let them talk it out.”
Last season — the first season of “Love Island USA” on Peacock — have definitely caught more interest with an uncensored version of the show. What can you tease about this year’s plans to get even more eyes on the show this year?
We have a lot of twists, a lot of sexy, steamy things going on [and] fun challenges on the beach. Our first episode will be a special 90 minutes [and] I think people are going to lose their minds for this first episode. We have a completely brand new way of coupling people up, which is very exciting, so I can’t wait for everyone to see that.
We’re going to be filming in Fiji, so we will be on an island and we’ll have a lot of fun sexy beach challenges. So get ready boys and girls, it’s going to be a summer full of love, fun [and] a little bit of cheekiness. It’s gonna be sexy, it’s gonna get hot in there.
Did you ever find yourself wanting to spend more time in the villa like as the drama and different challenges as we’re going on?
Yes, of course. You kidding me? I got to sit down with all the ladies and have chats with them, and it was so much fun to be able to build that personal connection with them and really get to know them as women and to know where they come from and why they are where they are. I know we didn’t show a lot of that but it was really special to me — they’re all so fun and full of life.
Our villa this year is insane. There’s things that have never before [been] seen in our villa this upcoming season and I think people are going to be gobsmacked at it — it is so gorgeous.
If you didn’t get to come into the vila as “Mother of ‘Love Island,’” what would your intro be like?
I would love to ride on the Jeep like [the islanders] do when they come in, how iconic … [but] probably a slow motion walk with a glass of wine and in a bathrobe with my dog.
“Love Island USA” begins streaming July 18 at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET on Peacock.