Right now, Love Island winner Tayla Damir looks to be the picture of happiness.
With her Spanish tan still holding strong nearly two months after winning the show and the whirlwind that followed, you would never know that the Perth native has been to hell and back.
But as soon as the 21-year-old landed back in Australia from her six-week reality-TV jaunt in Europe—where she fell in love with fellow Love Islander, Grant Crapp, and became a household name as viewers’ favourite guilty pleasure — Tayla had an uphill battle ahead of her.
Grant and Tayla’s blossoming love and subsequent win was clouded in controversy when details emerged of the electrician’s secret girlfriend, Lucy Cartwright, whom it was thought he was dating during his time on the show.
“It’s been crazy since the show, getting out and realising everything that had happened and then going through a fresh break-up," Tayla explains.
"I had to take some time to deal with it how I wanted to, and I’ve come out the other side. Don’t get me wrong, there were days where I wasn't OK, where I was crying and going home to my mum and dad, asking for help. It was a break-up and you go through the emotions of it all.”
When news broke that Grant and Lucy were officially an item, Tayla was not surprised.
“It was no shock to me,” she reveals. “Obviously, there were more reasons as to why we broke up other than just a rumoured girlfriend. There were pretty clear signs they were still talking and I wasn’t going to be the other girl. It was all the lies that got to me, at the end of the day. I’d ask him, ‘Have you spoken to her?’ and he’d say, ‘No,’ but then there were text messages proving that he was. I would see it on his phone. It was one thing after another and stories weren’t adding up. My gut was telling me to get out, so I listened. I knew I had to get out. Everything we’ve seen that’s come since the break-up has really proven my gut was right.”
Tayla says that while she believes Grant’s relationship with Lucy is real, she now knows her relationship with him was a lie.
“At first, I thought maybe he did actually fall for me when we were in the villa, but I’ve been through break-ups before and when you really love someone, they fight for you. They want you back. They’ll do anything to talk to you,” she explains. “All I got was one text message that got read out onKyle and Jackie O—so he never fought for me. That really solidified that there were never feelings there. He was still in love with Lucy—which is fine, if that’s where his heart is, then I really do hope they work. At my expense. But what a charade!”
With nothing but positive vibes surrounding her and a maturity beyond her years, Tayla says she is excited for the future.
“Life’s looking pretty good and I’m focusing on the positives and all the opportunities that have come since Love Island. I’ve moved to Sydney. I can’t complain too much right now. Everything that’s happened has been a blessing in disguise."