I was the most short-lived Love Island star – trolls ruined my life over infamous bust-up but I've had last laugh | The Sun

SHE made Love Island history by becoming the show's most quickly evicted star – lasting just three hours in the villa.

Bombshell Malia Arkian, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, was escorted out by security after pushing co-star Kady McDermott for spilling wine on her.

The scenes echoed a bust-up this week when Haris and Shaq had to be pulled apart in a huge fight.

Malia, who appeared on the show in 2016, was banned from returning to the villa after her feud and says it "ruined" her career.

The 33-year-old was devastated as upcoming music deals and brand partnerships were cancelled, while she was also viciously trolled by fans of the ITV2 show.  

Remarkably she bounced back, now owning superfood business The Plant Boost which she claims has now made more than £1million.


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‘I regret pushing Kady – I can't watch footage’

Malia was excited to go on the show but after being introduced, her time went far from how she imagined it. 

“I wanted to make a good impression, I didn’t want to find love straight away. I wanted to get comfortable and to know everyone,” she said.

“I think I went into the villa at around 12am or 1am to start filming and everyone was really drunk. They were all trying to find out the gossip and get updates.”

Things soon turned sour when tension brewed between Malia and Kady, which resulted in an altercation. 

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She said: “I gave Kady a hug and she was murmuring things under her breath about me, I knew she was going to start on me.

“She was tipsy so when she sat next to me – when I knew she didn’t like me –  I saw the glass of wine in her hand and knew she was going to pour it over me.

“I pushed her. I could never punch anyone. As soon as it happened security came and took me away. 

"I didn't have time to go to the toilet or take my clothes of out my suitcase, I got kicked out within probably an hour of the show.

“It was heartbreaking because I worked so hard to be on the show. I reacted badly and find it embarrassing, I can’t even watch the footage now.”

'24-hour wait with security outside'

After the incident, Malia was taken out of the Love Island villa and moved to a hotel with security outside the door for a 24-hour wait while it was decided whether she could return.

She said: “I wish Kady the best but I think I was treated unfairly by the people on the show, not the people running the show.

“I sat with the executives and they were devastated. They had their heads in the hands and said, ‘We had so much planned for you’.

“Back then I was a little light full of energy and jokes. I feel like I would have done well if I stayed but what happened happened.”

'Reunions feared to be like Mayweather fight'

Malia was excluded from attending the Love Island afterparty and other events where Kady would be making an appearance.

She said: “There were so many restrictions, I wasn’t allowed got to certain parties with the other cast members, which was a blow.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘It’s not going to be a [Floyd] Mayweather fight. It’s just Love Island, nothing’s going to happen.’”

Malia didn’t just lose out on the publicity from appearing on the show and subsequent events but also a number of lucrative deals.

For the previous eight years, she had been trying to get a break in the industry and had collaborated with record labels and worked as a songwriter – however, when she left the show lots of new opportunities were cancelled. 

Malia recalled: “My manager told me there was a lot of people who wanted to work with me, lots of deals and collaborations but they were all pulled after what happened.

“I lost all of them because I was kicked out. I remember when I told my manager what happened she went, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no!’ she must have said ‘no’ about 100 times.”

‘Fan threw drink to antagonise me’

It wasn’t much easier on social media because Malia became the target of cruel internet trolls who spouted vicious comments about her appearance and racist bile. 

She recalled: “Some people said it was good that I stood up for myself, but there was a lot of backlash and nasty comments. I became one of the most trolled Love Island stars.

“They would say things like ‘Who do you think you are?’, ‘You’re not even all that’, ‘You’re ugly’ and there was racist abuse too.

“I quickly came off my socials and deleted Instagram where I had between 60,000 and 70,000 followers.”

Malia recalls one particularly bad incident while making appearances on the nightclub circuit where Love Island fans tried to goad her. 

She said: “I was minding my own business and this girl threw her drink on my dress as a joke to antagonise me and see if I’d react how I did on the show.

“I chose not to let it affect me, I carried on with the night and let it dry. I’m glad I didn’t do anything and should have reacted that way on the show.” 

'I hit rock bottom'

Malia claims her experience on Love Island initially “ruined” her career and took a toll on her mental health.

She said: “I lost my spark, all of my confidence, I hit rock bottom and started to think, ‘I’m not anything am I? I’m nothing’. It took a long time to regain what I lost.

“Mentally it was difficult coming off the show. I wasn’t getting any opportunities and watching everyone else’s career flourish while they landed endorsements.”

Malia focused on rebuilding herself and in 2017 her fortunes changed during a holiday to Dubai, when she met her partner Hope Apkan, now 31.

She credits the former footballer, who played for teams including Everton, Blackburn Rovers and Hull City, with helping to rebuild her confidence.

'£1m business visited by big stars'

In 2019, Malia gave birth to daughter Halo, now three, and credits motherhood for inspiring her to found superfood cafe The Plant Boost.

She explained: “When you have children it’s really hard to eat well, especially when you’re so sleep-deprived. I wanted something healthy, fresh and nutritious that I could grab and go.

“I started making smoothie bowls with acai and other superfoods for myself and my daughter, she loved them too because they were colourful and tasty.”

Malia launched the company during lockdown and was “overwhelmed” when she was inundated with between 300 and 400 orders a day.

It led to partner Hope taking a break from football to help out and the business went from strength to strength – despite Malia struggling with her health due to endometriosis, which required an operation.

She said: “We opened our flagship store in Cheshire and in the first year turned over more than £1million in revenue, now we’re opening a new location at the Trafford Centre.

“I never knew it would happen, it’s hard to believe now but there’s so much work that goes into turning over a million in revenue.”

Malia claims Manchester United and Liverpool FC players visit her business, which sells superfood smoothie bowls, as well as some other familiar faces.

She said: “Molly-Mae Hague and Tommy Fury come in, which is quite ironic, but I never say ‘Hi, I was on Love Island in 2016’ or ‘I own this’ because it’s not my style.

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“I prefer to keep my head down, I’m not getting sucked into all of that. I’m focusing on building my life and my business. 

“At the minute, I’d rather be on something serious like The Apprentice than Love Island.”

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