Amber Gill didn't 'sit and cry' about 17lb lockdown weight gain despite trolling & now looks BETTER than on Love Island

ANYONE who watched Amber Gill cruise to victory on Love Island last summer will know that when she’s treated badly, she doesn’t hold her tongue.

And so when she was body-shamed recently by TikTok trolls attacking her for the weight she’d gained in lockdown, she refused to curl up and cry and instead calmly called them out.

“I like to stick up for myself – not to retaliate, but to have an answer,” she says.

Posting on Instagram, Amber, 23, pointed out that surely, in the midst of a pandemic, there were better things to worry about than this.

She addressed her online critics directly, writing: “I’m sure the people that commented are the image of perfection so thank you for that.”

To anyone else who “put on weight this year” she sent her solidarity. “Don’t worry, I’m with you,” she wrote.

“Whether we look too big or too small or we’re too skinny, people have way too much to say on women’s weight,” she says.

“And it’s like, stop! I’m a confident person but seeing people saying: ‘God, she’s put on a lot of weight!’ and: ‘What the hell’s happened to Amber?’ was not nice.

“Why do people feel entitled to do that? Especially on TikTok where I’m just doing funny dances and putting out content to make people happy.

"This year, people are going through their own battles and we have no idea what is going on behind closed doors, so why not just be nice?”

Whether we look too big or too small or we’re too skinny, people have way too much to say on women’s weight.

Amber’s post was a powerful one and the response showed that it had resonated with her 2.7 million followers – inspiring thousands of supportive comments and nearly 350,000 likes.

“The amount of people who came back and said it had given them confidence and reminded them not to be bothered by people’s comments was amazing.

"I’m so glad I said what I had to say because there aren’t many voices who are like: ‘You know what, here’s what happened to me and it doesn’t matter.’

“I refuse to sit and cry about it.”

During a trip to Ibiza in-between lockdowns this summer, Amber was applauded for promoting a healthy body image by posting a series of pictures that showed off her curves, unfiltered and un-Photoshopped.

But she agrees it’s a strange world where altering images has become so commonplace that people who don’t do it are singled out for praise.

“There is so much editing going on that people have lost sight of the real world and what real women look like.

We should be celebrating the things that are unique to us rather than focusing on this weird perception of what people should look like.”

Amber has never struggled with body confidence and says she didn’t even notice the 17lb she’d gained during lockdown until she went to put on a size-10 pair of trousers and found they were too tight.

Even then she wasn’t bothered by what the scales said (“I will never get into a toxic relationship with the scales”) but an abandoned exercise routine and a fast-food diet had left her feeling sluggish and lacking in motivation, and this is what pushed her to take action.

She says: “Like most people during lockdown, I was always in joggers, so it was hard to tell that I’d put on weight because they’re stretchy!

"I just think it happened because the most important thing for me during that time was surviving.

"It was such a crazy few months, not really being able to leave your house or go to the gym. I wasn’t as positive as I normally am, I was eating a lot of takeaways and so my weight naturally crept up.

“I’m not a person who is overly bothered by a number on the scales, but I did start to notice the extra ‘bits’ and I knew I needed to exercise more for my mental health and to be the best version of myself.”

In a bid to snap herself out of the lockdown slump, Amber joined forces with personal trainer Jon Hosking and the two began working out in the park.

The routines they developed together were based around Amber’s love of combat training, focusing on cardio and conditioning, and she quickly rediscovered her mojo.

She’s keen to stress that weight loss was never the goal, although she lost a stone in six weeks and is now preparing to launch her own fitness platform.

Amber says she’s never been in better shape.

“Even better than when I did Love Island. It was never about what size my waist was or anything like that. It was about getting back to being healthy and active.”

Amber Flexx is a six-week bodyweight fitness programme that works alongside a nutrition plan with TV dietician Jo Travers.

For Amber, it was also about having realistic aims. She isn’t interested in taking it to “the next level” and becoming a super-sculpted fitfluencer.

She’d much rather be an advocate for body positivity and what is attainable for most people.

“I look at some of these people and think: ‘I’m never going to look like that, so why try?’ It can be quite intimidating. That whole look is just not the way I’m built.

“I’m naturally curvy, I have a big bum and I have boobs – I’m not that fitness person with the eight-pack. I’m not obsessed.

“I want to be a different voice because I feel like there are so many people saying: ‘You have to be so productive, you have to get up at 5am, you have to eat this…’ and I just want to be normal.

“The programme is tough, but it’s achievable and fun too.”

After being swept up by the post-Love-Island whirlwind, lockdown gave Amber an opportunity to pause and think about whether she was on the right path.

Life had changed so quickly and drastically that when she looked back, she realised she wasn’t happy with some of the jobs she’d accepted or the direction she was heading in.

She says that she lost herself amid the madness and is much more comfortable and clear about her future now that things are beginning to settle.

“Lockdown was a time where I could sit down and reflect. My life had been so crazy since coming out of Love Island and I didn’t really have a chance to stop and think.

“I got lost in the lifestyle, which had changed so much for me, and I’d been carried away without thinking. People always say you have to seize the opportunity, so you go for it without giving it much thought.

“I ended up putting a lot of pressure on myself to be the same as everyone else, trying to do the same things and posting as many pictures as possible.

"But that sort of influencing doesn’t sit right with me. I’m never going to be the sort of person who puts loads of make-up and an outfit on and goes and stands on a street. I like to do things differently and I’d lost sight of that.

“Before Love Island, I would scream from the rooftops about what I believed in and I feel like I lost my voice for a while.

“I know what message I want to put out to my followers now. Finding your feet in such a strange new industry takes a long time. And moving from Newcastle down to London, it’s all been a huge change for me.”

I ended up putting a lot of pressure on myself to be the same as everyone else.

She says it’s “100 per cent too easy” to typecast the Love Island girls and she allowed herself to be put into “that box” when there is more to her than meets the eye.

She loves fashion and beauty, but she also has opinions and an interest in current affairs – over on Twitter she regularly posts about a whole range of topics, including politics, mental health, white privilege and the American election.

“I think 2021 is going to be about me getting rid of these assumptions people have that I may not be clever or that I’m ill-informed.

In the make-up chair with Amber

What was your lockdown skin routine?

Rihanna had just brought out her Fenty Beauty skincare line and I’m hooked.

Best beauty bargain?

Anything from CeraVe. The cleansers are brilliant because they’re natural and cheap.

What’s your beauty splurge?

Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum. It’s about £200, so I try to only use a drop at a time!

Top make-up hack?

I love a bit of over-lining to create a fuller lip.

Who’s your beauty icon?

Rihanna. Her skincare and make-up are inclusive and I love that.

What can’t you  leave home without?

Lip balm. I am a connoisseur and the best is La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Lips.

“I don’t like the way we put people into boxes. Yes, I like make-up, doing my hair and skincare, but I also love politics and I believe in speaking out on what you feel passionately about.

"You don’t have to be one way or the other, you can be a mixture of all those things.”

She’s passionate about Black Lives Matter and joined the protests in London earlier this year, posting regularly about the movement. For that she received racist abuse, which she shared on social media.

“Protesting for seven hours a day and then coming home to awful messages and comments has been a lot,” she wrote. “Who knew fighting for human rights would p**s so many people off?”

She says today: “There were some poisonous views, unfortunately. It’s been emotional because of the personal side for me.

"I am very proud of my family and of my roots and it can be disheartening when people have not very nice things to say.

“I’ve not experienced racism as badly as I know some of my friends and family members have, but I think we’re taking the right steps and I just hope that one day everyone can be understanding of each other. But there is a long way to go yet.”

She adds: “If I think something is unfair or if there are injustices, then I want to get to the bottom of that and say what I have to say.”

Happily single, Amber has not had a serious relationship since leaving the island.

Her romance with rugby player Greg O’Shea, 25, ended just weeks after the ITV2 show finished, and followers loved the delicious bit of shade she threw in his direction in July when she tweeted that she couldn’t believe it had been a year “since I won Love Island”, ignoring the (admittedly small) part he played in the win.

“A relationship is not my main worry at the minute because I have too much going on to be worried about men!

"They actually don’t even come into my thoughts, which I like because it means life is very stress-free.”

Lockdown put her off even more when the only option to meet people was online.

“Online dating is not for me. It’s not that I’m old-fashioned… but I suppose I kind of am. I don’t like this sliding into your DMs thing. It’s just not me.

“I’ve got a lot of good things going on in 2021,” she says. For starters, she’ll be heading up a team on Fabulous’ charity trek to Petra in Jordan in aid of Jo’s Trust, which is set to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“I’ve never done anything like that and I am so looking forward to it. One of my friends had cervical cancer and Jo’s helped her a lot, so I love that I can be part of it.”

There won’t be any New Year’s resolutions this year – Amber says 2020 has taught her not to plan too far ahead.

“I don’t believe in trying to map your life out strategically, especially with what’s gone on this year. Anyone’s five-year plan could be cancelled in the click of a finger.

“Nobody could have predicted this.”  

  • Amber’s Six-Week Blast Plan is available for £49.99 from January 4 (
  • Hair: Stefan Bertin at The Wall Group using Shea Moisture 
  • Make-up: Karin Darnell at Frank Agency using Bobbi Brown  Styling: Kate Barbour 
  • Stylist’s assistant: Kitty Bowes 
  • Amber wears: Body, I Saw It First; bra, River Island; boots, Dune London. Dress, Pour Moi

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