Love Island’s Maura Higgins has said she is often “misjudged” because of the impression people get of her on social media.
The Irish ring girl, 28, said people tend to be surprised when they meet her in person.
“I’ve always been misjudged, my whole life,” she told Grazia magazine.
“I think people look at my Instagram and think of me as a completely different person – because when I meet people out, they always say, ‘You’re so much nicer than I expected’.”
Higgins, who fell for Curtis Pritchard during her stay in the ITV2 villa, said when the show ended she was stunned to discover how popular she was.
“I honestly couldn’t believe it – I was in shock,” she said.
“Because I’m so opinionated, I was like, ‘I’m going to come out to so much hate’.”
But she added: “Do you know what? I don’t actually care what people think of me, so I wasn’t really bothered.”
Higgins has become something of a feminist hero, partly because of the way she confronted fellow contestant Tom Walker when she heard him talking about her behind her back.
“I mean, obviously, I’m flattered,” she said.
“I never realised I was a feminist! I just stand up for myself, and I won’t let anyone talk s*** about me. And you know, I do talk about sex, but so do guys.”
She said she hopes younger women will take a cue from her experience.
“Stick up for yourself,” she said. “Don’t let anyone walk all over you. Voice your opinion. There’s no point hiding away.”
Higgins is still with Pritchard and said she is confident about their future.
“Obviously, we’re going to be busy now, but I feel like if we both like each other enough we will make time for each other,” she said.
“I’m not a girl to be on edge all the time thinking, ‘I wonder what he’s doing?’
“I trust someone until they do me wrong, and if they do me wrong, that’s it. There are no second chances with me. You’re gone.”
This week’s Grazia is on sale now.