With her pretty looks, good manners and lack of drama, Molly-Mae Hague was tipped to be one of the most popular Islanders of 2019.
Instead she proved to be one of the most divisive, with fans dubbing her ‘Money Mae’ and accusing her of faking her romance with Tommy Fury to win the £50,000 cash prize.
Her co-star Anton Danyluk fuelled speculation that she hadn’t been popular in the house either by unfollowing her on Instagram and telling the whole Love Island Reunion audience that they’d never been friends to begin with – something Molly contested.
But as the nation watched her react to Anton’s scathing attack with dignity belying her 19 years, the tide began to turn and many began to wonder if Molly- who reportedly needed therapy to cope with the trolling – had been misjudged.
Here, author and body language expert Judi James explains how a ‘perfect storm’ caused ‘upbeat and harmless’ Molly to inadvertently become the villa villain…
1. The Attribution Effect
“This term describes how we are judged at first sight and how a negative judgment can lead to attribution bias – whereby people will look for the bad in someone to prove their first negative hunch was right.
“Molly-Mae arrived as a predatory invader after all the big characters were already established with the viewers.
“Sitting in the hot tub with her red lipstick and full make-up as she summoned guys like Tommy, she appeared to be arrogant and over-sophisticated.
“After that, no matter how much time she spent trying to appear sweeter and more childlike, the fact she looked like a soap opera-style vixen to begin with meant no amount of cuddling a stuffed toy like a toddler would stop people suspecting she was playing cute to win.”
2. The Lack Of Drama
“All the strongest women in the villa went through pain and heartbreak on the show, allowing viewers to identify with them and to realise that it doesn’t matter how beautiful you are, you still get mugged off like the rest of us.
“Anna, Amy, Yewande, Amber: we felt all their pain. But not Molly’s. Because Molly never really suffered.”
3. The Relationship Imbalance.
“Molly-Mae seems like a smart woman while Tommy, who can’t even make a cup of tea and has his mother do everything for him, seemed naïve in comparison.
“Protective fans loved the fact they appeared to have discovered a genuine nice guy in Tommy and worried Molly-Mae was spinning him along to win.”
4. Molly-Mae’s job
“For a lot of viewers the job title ‘social influencer’ sounds smug and rather arrogant. Women like Yewande and Anna had ‘proper’ jobs. Molly’s probably sounded vain.
“It would also have added to the idea that she could play Love Island like a fiddle.”
5. Molly-Mae’s body language
While Tommy gushed out some of the cheesiest lines in the business, making open declarations about his love for Molly, Molly was spotted looking distracted or a little lost for a response.
Wanting to wait to fall in love properly was clearly a good move. But Tommy fans felt she was being cool.