Love Island star Zara Lackenby Brown’s family have responded to the dare game bullying storm that erupted after Friday night’s episode.
In the game, Zara became frustrated after her partner in the show, Tom Clare, revealed he thought she had the best body and her love rival Olivia Hawkins had the best face.
Viewers took to Twitter questioning if Zara was being bullied by the rest of the cast after other islanders picked her as their top choice for unfavourable personality traits – from being the most incompatible with Tom to the most likely to backstab.
‘She is a very strong woman who knows her own mind – she can handle the drama’: Love Island’s Zara’s family respond to dare game bullying storm
Although the game is a regular fixture in the show, the segment sparked controversy as fans claimed Zara was being bullied – and now her family have spoken out on the furore.
Speaking to the Mirror, her brother Alex, 28, said: ‘She is a very strong woman who knows her own mind – she can handle the drama.’
Zara’s mother Denise added: ‘We understand people’s concerns when they see she is visibly upset. We know the show is highly edited and that Zara is free to leave at any time.’
Controversy: In the game, Zara became frustrated after her partner in the show, Tom Clare, revealed he thought she had the best body and her love rival Olivia Hawkins had the best face
Drama: The property developer, 25, had earlier branded ring girl Olivia the least trustworthy – deepening their rift as they compete for Tom’s affections
She explained: ‘Zara went into the villa with her eyes wide open, and warned us that we’ll be seeing 24 hours condensed into 50 minutes each night.’
Fans had questioned if Zara was being picked on by the cast after she was seen getting angry about Tom’s response to the dare game in a teaser clip for Sunday night’s show.
One wrote: ‘I honestly feel like the island are bullying Zara, like the environment is hostile’.
Backlash: Fans had questioned if Zara was being picked on by the cast after she was seen getting angry about Tom’s response to the dare game
Another viewer added: ‘That game of dares was so hard to watch, they’re actually bullying Zara at this point like? Everyone repeatedly going after her and laughing after every answer is so mean’.
A third chimed: ‘This isn’t cool they’re bullying Zara’.
The property developer, 25, had earlier branded ring girl Olivia the least trustworthy – deepening their rift as they compete for Tom’s affections, with a teaser for Sunday night’s show revealing the beauty was clearly upset.
When asked by Lana if she was ok, Zara said: ‘No, I just can’t be a***d. All the girls picked Tom. Liv picked Tom like twice. He picked Liv’s face. I’m not just some f*****g booty to you.’
Zara’s family speak out: Although the game is a regular fixture in the show, the segment sparked controversy as fans claimed Zara was being bullied
Despite her friends trying to reassure her, Zara became angrier and fumed over Tom, while things also look set to get tenser between her and Olivia.
She said: ‘I came down tonight for no drama and who gave me the drama? Him. If you don’t like me, move from me!’
Furore: Fans took to Twitter after Friday night’s episode to claim that Zara was being bullied by her fellow islanders and Tom and Olivia
In Friday’s episode, Olivia also claimed her family would want her to couple up with Tom because he is ‘respectful’ and said her ‘mum would love him’, with Zara looking unimpressed as tensions continue to rise between the pair.
‘Tom has never really left my mind,’ Olivia admitted in the Beach Hut.
It came after Olivia was asked who she is most attracted to during the game and kissed Tom and Spencer, further fuelling her rift with Zara.
Tom also risked putting his romance with Zara on the rocks during the episode when he admitted he would like to get to know Ellie Spence despite being coupled-up with her.
On the rocks? Tom and Zara’s relationship looked shaky on Friday’s Love Island after he said that she had the best body and Olivia the best face
Semi-professional footballer Tom, 23, pulled law firm Business Development Executive Ellie, 23, for a chat after she entered the villa as a bombshell this week.
As they chatted privately, Tom assured Ellie that he wanted to get to know her, insisting that he is not ‘exclusive’ with Zara.
‘I ain’t exclusive, do you know what I mean,’ he said when Ellie asked him how to felt about his current partner Zara and Ellie’s fellow newcomer Spencer Wilks, 24, talking.
When Tom said he wasn’t ‘bothered’ by it, Ellie replied: ‘That’s a bit of a red flag.’
But Tom hit back: ‘She’s not my girl, how much do you fancy me?’
Turning his head? Semi-professional footballer Tom, 23, pulled law firm Business Development Executive Ellie, 23 (pictured), for a chat after she entered the villa as a bombshell this week
A flirty Ellie then referenced Zara’s row with Olivia, saying: ‘You’ve really surprised me, you’re so funny and we just get each other’s banter. I thought after the drama you’d be like no.’
But Tom insisted that he is interested in getting to know her and told Ellie to be ‘honest’ about it if Zara asked her.
Zara makes out like you are solid,’ Ellie said.
To which Tom said: ‘I’m only in here once and you’re fit. I want to get to know you 100 per cent.’
Tired: It comes after Love Island viewers took to Twitter to complain that they are ‘bored’ of the drama between Olivia Hawkins and Zara (pictured)
Zara was then seen catching to Tanyel Revan, 26, fuming that she didn’t want any ‘mixed signals’ from him.
‘I don’t need mixed signals, I don’t need any doubt. I don’t think I should be allowing it in here,’ she said.
But Tanyel told her that she had ‘nothing to worry about’ as she reassured her friend about the situation.
Played out: The two girls have been at each other throats from the start as they compete for the affections of Tom (Olivia pictured)
Love Island viewers previously took to Twitter to complain that they are ‘bored’ of the drama between Olivia and Zara.
The two girls have been at each others throats from the start as they compete for the affections of Tom.
They have had several run ins during their short time on the show so far, with their most explosive row yet erupting at the weekend, leaving viewers convinced that the pair had history.
Love Island continues on Sunday night at 9pm on ITV2 and ITVX.
LOVE ISLAND 2023: MEET THE CONTESTANTS
Name: Tanya Manhenga
Occupation: Student and model
Something not many people know about her: ‘I have Vitiligo, which is a skin pigmentation, you may not even notice it.’
‘It’s on my lip and I have a stripe on my hair. Not many people know that but I think it’s quite cute.’
‘I don’t care about covering it up all the time, I think it’s a vibe.’
Name: Lana Jenkins
Occupation: Makeup artist
Something not many people know about her: ‘In my work as a makeup artist I’ve worked with lots of celebrities.
‘Also, when I was 6-years-old I used to live in Spain and I was in an episode of Benidorm as an extra.’
Name: Tanyel Revan
Location: North London
Occupation: Hair stylist
Something not many people know about her: ‘My celebrity crush is Channing Tatum – I don’t like pretty boys, they give me the ‘ick’ because they always have a crap personality.’
‘Channing Tatum is handsome but not too pretty. He’s manly and he can dance.’
‘If a man can dance I’m in love with him straight away.’
Name: Olivia Hawkins
Occupation: Ring girl and actress
Something not many people know about her: ‘I did a film with Jason Statham and had a nice 10-minute convo about life.’
‘I’ve been a ring girl for KSI, I played a waitress in James Bond with Daniel Craig and I’ve also been a body double for Michelle Keegan and Emma Watson.’
Name: Tom Clare
Occupation: Semi-Pro Footballer
Something not many people know about him: I’m a High School Musical fan
Name: Aaron Waters
Something not many people know about him: He thinks his appearance on Love Island UK was ‘diving timing’
Name: Ellie Spence
Occupation: Business Development Executive at a law firm
Something not many people know about her: “When I was drunk I climbed over the gates of my friend’s house, fell and almost lost my leg.”
Name: Kai Fagan
Occupation: Science and PE teacher
Something not many people know about him: ‘I’m a Jamaican citizen. Because of that I played rugby 7s for Jamaica.’
‘I play semi-professional rugby now for Burnage RFC.’
‘I’ve technically got three different degrees and went to three different unis.’
Name: Ron Hall
Occupation: Financial advisor
Something not many people know about him: ‘On meeting me, you’d never know I am blind in one eye.’
‘It was the result of a football injury when I was 8. I’ve got two different coloured eyes, one blue and one green.’
Name: Will Young
Something not many people know about him: ‘Every night I light a candle and meditate for 20-25 minutes.’
‘A girl I was seeing told me to meditate, I tried it and loved it. I stopped seeing her and carried on meditating!
‘It’s a nice way to self reflect.’
Name: Shaq Muhammad
Occupation: Airport security officer
Something not many people know about him: ‘I’m a very emotional person. It can be a blessing and a curse.’
‘Every time I watch Dear John I cry.
That’s my favourite film. Any time I’m with someone and they say, ‘Let’s watch a romantic film’, I’m like, ‘How about Dear John, how does that sound?’
Zara Deniz Lackenby-Brown
Name: Zara Deniz Lackenby-Brown
Occupation: Model and property developer
Something not many people know about her: ‘I’ve gone onto do lots of modelling and dancing for music videos for UK and global artists, I’ve worked with people like Hardy Caprio, Headie One, Aitch, Tione Wayne and more.’
Name: Jessie Wynter
Occupation: Personal Trainer
Something you may not know about her: She was on series two of Love Island Australia
Name: Spencer Wilks
Occupation: E-Commerce Business Owner
Something not many people know about him: He loves Justin Bieber