Words: Alastair James; pictures: Instagram/@cherylholequeen and ITV
Everybody’s favourite Essex drag queen, Cheryl Hole, says we need to see more dating shows for the LGBTQ community, and that shows like Love Island need to be more inclusive.
The RuPaul’s Drag Race UK series one alum says that while there has been some progression in representation for the community in film and TV, there is more work to do.
“There is still a long way to go”
Speaking to The Mirror, Cheryl said: “Whilst there has been a lot of progression in LGBTQ+ representation in television and film, there is still a long way to go in my opinion.
"We've seen shows like The Bi Life on E! with Courtney Act before but I do feel it's about time for a dating show for our community."
She goes on to explain that love is the one thing we all hold in common and that what the world needs right now is more love. She also admits that she hasn’t see much of this year’s series of Love Island.
"I haven't tuned in yet as I have been busy getting myself ready to put on a killer show when the nightclubs reopen and Pride season begins but I've heard it’s been a very entertaining season thus far”.
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Hole's comments follow a backlash after one of Love Island’s executives said having LGBTQ people on the show would present a “logistical difficulty”.
The drag queen also discusses getting back out onto the scene with nightclubs reopening fully for the first time in over a year, a topic that has caused some controversy given rising Covid-19 cases.
“I can’t wait to hit all my fave late-night spots with my divas - I'm looking forward to dancing and gossiping in a bar till the early hours of the morning,” Cheryl says.
Last month, Love Island commissioner Amanda Stavri said including gay contestants on the show wouldn't be straightforward.
In an interview with the Radio Times she said: “In terms of gay Islanders, I think the main challenge is regarding the format of Love Island. There’s a sort of logistical difficulty because although Islanders don’t have to be 100 percent straight, the format must sort of give [the] Islanders an equal choice when coupling up.
“With our dating shows, such as The Cabins, there is much more sexual diversity. The formats don’t have as much restrictions as Love Island. So we’re very sort of mindful of that across our programming on ITV and dating series. But that’s the difficulty with Love Island.”
The show's 2016 series was eventually won by Kaite Salmon, making her the first bisexual star on the show, who was briefly coupled up with the late Sophie Gradon. Love Island launched in 2015 and was presented by Caroline Flack until her suicide in 2020. It has since been presented by Laura Whitmore.
Last year Noah Purvis, a contestant on the US version of the show, was axed after it emerged he'd performed in gay porn.