Love Island’s Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu on how lockdown made her stronger
Love Island winner Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu has shared the details of her tough COVID lockdown in Turkey, saying she used the time to make herself mentally and physically stronger.
Cülcüloğlu had moved to Istanbul from the UK in 2020 and was beginning a career on a Turkish soap opera when the pandemic hit.
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She told The Guardian: "I was stuck in my flat for a year in Istanbul, couldn’t leave. No family, no friends. It was very strict out there – if you left your flat you would get a fine. Everything was closed.”
The TV star, who won this summer's ITV2 dating show Love Island with Davide Sanclimenti, said that after becoming concerned about the mental health of her friends when she saw their behaviour during Zoom catch ups, she decided to bolster her own resilience.
She said: "I took the opportunity to read books about self growth, psychology, the human brain. Why we feel sad, why we overthink. I really got into it, like it was my job. I started to do gym at home. I ordered these dumbbells, a treadmill. I was doing workouts, talking to myself in the mirror. I became my own friend. That’s when I realised I don’t need anyone. It’s really weird. I didn’t go crazy, I promise, I was just very independent."
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Love Island has been criticised for its effect on the mental health of contestants, many of whom have spoken openly about their struggles on and following the show.
But Cülcüloğlu seemed unfazed by her time in the villa, which included a battle to get to know her partner Sanclimenti, who she is still in a relationship with.
She said: “Davide was very hard work at first. He was very closed. We would try and get to know each other, I’d get one-word answers. I thought, ‘What’s going on? This is Love Island. I’m gonna have to try someone else.’”
Cülcüloğlu recently announced that she has joined the cast of Dancing On Ice 2023 and will compete on the ITV show from January.
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