AN Innishannon woman who is appearing on Netflix’s latest reality TV show Too Hot To Handle has said life has been surreal for her since the series dropped on the streaming service last weekend.
Former Coláiste na Toirbhirte student and UCC graduate Nicole O’Brien (24) – who moved to London over a year ago – told The Southern Star that she has been waiting a year for the show to be broadcast.
‘Because we filmed it a whole year ago, I’ve been waiting to see it since then. I had only told a small handful of my friends, so it was hard to keep it a secret. When I uploaded the trailer then for it two weeks ago, my friends from school and college couldn’t believe it,’ said Nicole, who worked at Alice Taylor’s Gala store in Innishannon when she was younger.
‘It’s been a breath of fresh air in terms of reality TV and it’s so different and uplifting. It’s definitely something people need in a time of negativity.’
With most of the world in lockdown, the timing of the programme couldn’t have been better, It’s become a ratings winner all over the world.
‘The eight episodes are now online and since last Friday my following on Instagram has shot up to 198,000 followers. It’s such an overwhelming response and I’ve got loads of positivity and lovely comments too which is great and I’m very happy about the way I come across.’
Unlike Love Island, the premise of this show – which was shot in Mexico – is for the contestants to remain celibate in order to claim the €100,000 prize. However, they were only told that when they got to the luxury villa. They also found out that the money pot drops if anyone breaks the intimacy rules.
Nicole was actually approached by Love Island producers to appear on their show in 2016 but she said she is glad she turned it down at the time. ‘It worked out for the best in the end as I got to be in an even bigger TV show that is broadcast in 190 countries. I was definitely too young then.’
Nicole said her parents, Helen and Michael, and all her family and friends are so proud of her. ‘They are all so happy about the way I came across and I was just myself, bubbly and happy and I didn’t want to get involved in the drama or negativity going on.’
Nicole – who worked in publishing before the show aired – is hoping to make the most of her television success and is set to sign with leading London agency, Off Limits Entertainment, which also manages Love Island star Maura Higgins from Longford.
‘I hope to do more work in television and radio and I have done interviews for magazines like Cosmopolitan and Grazia. That’s like a dream for me – it’s so surreal,’’ added Nicole. ‘Go big or go home,’ she joked.