Tasha Ghouri Opens Up About Facing Ableism During Her Time In The Love Island Villa

"I was painted out to be this girl who's not a great person"


When Tasha Ghouri entered the Love Island villa in 2022, it marked an important moment. She was the show’s first ever deaf contestant.

And from the very start Tasha didn’t shy away from representing her disability. In the first episode we saw her opening to her fellow islanders about being born deaf, rocking her cochlear implant by the pool side, and using sign language with her dad during meet the parents.

While her appearance raised a lot of awareness, and she used her new found notoriety to advocate for greater inclusion, it wasn’t an easy journey.

Opening up to The Sun, Tasha confessed that life in the villa wasn’t made accessible meaning she had to lip-read most of the time, which lead to a lot of exhaustion and frustration, and left her struggling to express herself.

“I was painted out to be this girl who’s not a great person, at the start. When I look back it was annoying for me because I couldn’t say to the cameras ‘this is why I’m feeling this and that’, and I feel that got manipulated in some ways,” Tasha confessed.

Pic via @tashaghouri Instagram

During her stay, there were many issues, particularly with her fellow islanders, as many of the boys were quick to lay on harsh criticisms and placed her under an intense amount of scrutiny when Tasha got emotional. As a result the dancer was label as dramatic, which was very rough for her.

“I wasn’t being dramatic. I wasn’t being over the top or making drama for no reason. I was exhausted and being in the sun all day as well it is a lot. I wish that was highlighted more 100 per cent,” Tash shared.

“On the show, going to sleep at 3 or 4am, waking up just before lunch, we’re so sleep deprived and we’re always having to have conversations. That’s why a lot of the time I was quite emotional because I was going through my own stuff at the time, having to listen to conversations, lip-reading; it really does take it out of you. That’s why by the end of the night I was so out of it.”

“We didn’t really have that place to escape to. There wasn’t a place I could go and be emotional, cry my eyes out and just nap to get my energy back. Maybe that’s something they could change.”


Tasha also felt a great amount of pressure, wanting to represent her community well, and after landing in the bottom three several times felt quite emotional as she worried she was letting her community down.

“In there I was really doubting myself,” 23-year-old said.

“I was in the bottom three so many times and I was really battered down quite a lot. The reason I was so emotional is I felt like a failure. I felt like I was letting down my mum and dad and the deaf community, especially.”

However, the public rallied around Tasha, with she and boyfriend Andrew Le Page coming fourth in the series, and exisiting the villa the Thirsk native was overwhelmed to see all the support.

As she explained “To come out of the show and see so much positivity and the impact me going on the show made. I don’t think I realised that until I came out.”


“There’s not enough awareness. That’s why I had a lot of ablesim while I was on the show, purely because people couldn’t understand some things.”

“Me coming out, doing what I’m doing now, has massively opened people’s eyes like ‘OK, that’s why she was like that in that moment on the show’, all the dots start to link up,” Tasha explained.

But even with all the positivity outside the villa, the model still faced a lot of exhaustion and burn out. But Tasha is learning where her limits are, recently skipping out on events during the Coachella music festival, knowing the loud performances and shouting would take their toll.


Still her fight isn’t over, as she shared: “It’s something I struggle with everyday, but because I’m so used to it I don’t feel sorry for myself,”

“I’m here to educate people we do have negative we deal with. The constant migraines, the headaches, going to events, having to always do interviews at events, having to always be active sometimes my brain wants to shutdown completely.”

As for the future of disability representation on Love Island, Tash said: “I hope they keep the change going. It’s important for representation.”


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