‘What’s the real beef’: Love Island fans accuse Zara and Olivia of ‘faking’ rivalry

The latest series of Love Island began only a week ago, but tensions have already risen between two contestants, Zara Deniz Lackenby-Brown and Olivia Hawkins.

The ITV2 reality dating show, which is currently airing its second-ever winter edition in South Africa, has seen the two women at loggerheads.

But fans have accused the pair of “faking” their feud after it emerged that they knew each other before starring on the show.

On Monday night (23 January), Olivia pulled Tom Clare, who is currently coupled up with Zara, aside for a chat following a gam of Never Have I Ever.

After their chat, Olivia rejoined the other girls, including Zara, who immediately questioned what the conversation was about.

After Olivia responded that her and Tom’s chat was “private”, Zara said: “Private? Well, I like to be open here, so can I ask you what it was about?”

Despite Olivia saying she preferred to keep things private, Zara persisted and said: “Ah, OK, things come out eventually, Liv… I’m in a couple with him, so it does kind of concern me.”

Olivia retorted: “Are you married?” Zara then responded that she was in the villa “to find someone” and that she sees “a future” with Tom.

But Olivia accused her fellow islander of “playing a game”, to which Zara responded: “How am I playing a game? I like him. Why do you think I’m in here, to like, p*** you off? I’m in here for myself. Do you think I’ve flown 11 hours from England to p*** you off?”

The pair previously butted heads after Zara accused Olivia of being the “most two-faced” contestant in the villa last week.

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However, fans took to social media to demand answers after some discovered that both women have previously commented on each other’s Instagram posts, suggesting they have history outside the villa.

“Would love to know what actually happened between Zara and Olivia on the outside,” one person tweeted. “Someone out there, speak up please.”

“What’s the real beef between Olivia and Zara??? It can’t be just over a man,” another mused.

Others accused the pair of escalating the drama for more screen time, with one person writing: “So are we just pretending that Olivia and Zara haven’t planned all this fake drama for airtime when they’re clearly besties on Instagram?”

Another said: “So Zara and Olivia gonna drag this fake beef like we don’t know they know each other?”

Former Love Island contestant Liberty Poole shared her own theory about what’s going on between Zara and Olivia during an appearance on vlogger Lewys Ball’s YouTube show.

Poole, who took part in the show in 2021, said she “picked up on Olivia [saying], ‘Ugh, [Zara] had to kiss the guy I like, like she’s done it again’” in a previous episode.

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“I picked up on that and I’m thinking, ‘Hang on, were you guys friends before and she’s got with a guy and you were mates and that’s why you’re not friends anymore?’ And there’s that tension already. There’s an underlying storyline there that we don’t know yet.”

Love Island airs on ITV2 at 9pm every night except Saturdays.