It’s a story we’ve all heard before — a contestant goes on reality show in search of fame and fortune, only to have it all come crashing down.
While the stars of shows like Married At First Sight and The Bachelor may find themselves mobbed by fans and with skyrocketing social media followings, their notoriety rarely translates into full-time TV work.
Last year, Bachelor in Paradise‘s Alex Nation — arguably one of the biggest stars of the franchise — revealed she had been forced to find full-time work after a failed career as an Instagram influencer.
Tracey Jewel and Dean Well’s dysfunctional relationship might have captivated MAFS viewers in 2018, but it didn’t translate into lucrative media careers for either of them.
In fact, both claimed the show — and the subsequent negative attention on social media — saw job offers dry up.
Plus the modest $150 a day salary they received while filming wouldn’t have stretched very far.
But the same cannot be said for the stars of one reality show — a show which, despite having a loyal audience, doesn’t have the same mainstream appeal as other reality TV smashes.
Love Island Australia, a local version of the UK smash hit, premiered mid-2018 on 9Go to modest TV ratings but racked up millions of streams online from its gen-z audience.
It also made its contestants into bona fide social media stars with hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, which they have used to their advantage since the show finished.
Series winners Tayla Damir and Grant Crapp got to split Love Island‘s $50,000 prize money, a pretty nice pay packet for hanging out in sunny Spain for a few weeks.
In addition, news.com.au also understands Love Island‘s appearance fees were higher than what their MAFS counterparts received, making the reality show a comparitively sweet deal for contestants.
While Grant and Tayla’s relationship lasted only a few weeks after the show wrapped, both have gone on to forge lucrative careers in the media spotlight.
At 23, Grant has just bought his second investment property with partner Lucy Cartwright and can command an eye-watering amount just for sponsored Instagram posts.
While Grant tells news.com.au he could never stop working, he plans to be set up so Lucy can retire at 28 — not a bad financial position to be in for an ex-reality star in their early twenties.
“I think for most of the Islanders coming out we didn’t realise actually how big we were going to be in the outside world when we got back … for myself personally it was a big exposure thing; my personal businesses have taken off,” Grant said.
The Love Island star makes the majority of his income from Royal Fit, an online personal training business he started after going on the show and Royal Apparel, an activewear line he had before his reality TV fame.
Paid social media posts are then just the icing on the cake.
“My sponsored Instagram posts, it tends to vary, but I usually charge around two, two plus ($2000),” Grant said.
“The reason being I just know my worth and I’m not doing any cheaper than that, and I only work with brands that I feel work and aren’t scams.”
Grants puts his success down to hard work and not taking his reality TV fame for granted.
“A lot of people sit on that high ego thing where they think I’ve been on TV, I deserve the best job in the world, I deserve a massive income and all that sort of rubbish, and I think that’s wrong,” he said.
“At the end of the day we’re humans. We’re just people that went on a TV show, were lucky to go on a TV show (and) get that great exposure.
“After that show you’ve got to take a step back and go, hey I’m just a normal person, I’ve got to get back into earning an income and having a normal life.”
Grant’s ex Tayla has also found success post-reality TV, with the bubbly and articulate 22-year-old now signed to the same top celebrity management as Love Island host Sophie Monk.
She’s also landed gigs most up and coming media personalities can only dream of, working as an ambassador for online clothing retailer Showpo and beauty brand Model Co.
Earlier this year Tayla also got a taste of her dream gig, landing a guest presenter spot on Getaway.
Prior to appearing on Love Island, Tayla completed a journalism and broadcasting degree at university and had been working at a regional radio station.
“I think if anything, (Love Island) just promoted where I want to be in my life and helped me to have those kinds of doors opened to where I went to be in my career,” she told news.com.au.
Despite having more than 380,000 followers, Tayla doesn’t see herself as an Instagram influencer but uses social media as a “platform and a voice” to reach her fans.
“Coming off the show, I noticed a lot of young girls that I had in my following … (it’s) amazing to now be able to reach out to a greater audience and be able to teach these young girls stuff that I wish I had been taught when I was growing up,” she said.
Tayla has so far been selective about what opportunities she has taken since Love Island, and thinks a lot of reality stars make a mistake by taking anything and everything.
“For me personally, I didn’t do any club appearances; that’s just not me as a person,” she said.
“It comes down to staying true to who you are coming off the show and not just going out and promoting anything and everything.
“Because your audience and the people that fell in love with you on the show, they’ve already come to terms with who you are as a person. If you come off the show and try to be someone you’re not, they’re going to see through that, and they’re not going to like that because that’s not why they fell in love with you in the first place.”
Despite the success of the Love Island stars, others are happy to recognise their fame might be fleeting and ride the wave while they can.
MAFS star Cyrell Paule has put her job as a health fund consultant on hold so she can take advantage of the media opportunities coming her way.
“I was one of the few that didn’t actually quit their job,” she said.
“A few of the girls quit their jobs going onto this show. I was a bit smarter, so right now I’m on unpaid leave so I can dedicate myself a bit more to these appearances … this opportunity doesn’t happen to everyone and you’ve got to make the most of it while you can.”
The fan favourite, nicknamed ‘Cyclone Cyrell’, is rumoured to earn a whopping $3000 per nightclub appearance — bookings she’s had lined up almost every weekend since her star took off.
When asked by news.com.au about her pay packet, Cyrell had a blunt — but surprisingly refreshing — reply.
“The only comment I will make is that, is it so bad for a female to try and earn big bucks?” Cyrell said.
“I encourage all females to be a boss bitch and go out there and earn it. I’m doing all this for myself, I don’t need my man to help me to go do this.
“Name one person who would not say yes if it turned out this way for you.”
Well, would you say no?