Former Love Island contestant Hugo Hammond has revealed he had several conversations about his disability during his stay in the villa, which were ultimately left out of the final edit.
The 24-year-old teacher – who was born with club foot – took part in the most recent series of Love Island over the summer, and made history as the show’s first contestant to have a physical disability.
While Hugo says this is something that came up in conversation multiple times during his stint in Love Island, he was disappointed to learn that none of this made it onto the show.
“Before I went in the show, it was very much in the press that I was the first physically disabled Islander,” he told Metro.
“It’s part of why I got involved in the show, because I wanted to try and make that more mainstream, and make people who do have disabilities or do have impairments [know] that it can be mainstream, it doesn’t need to hold you back in any scenario. But it never got played on the show.”
He continued: “I had these conversations with the Islanders about my journey growing up and what it was like living with my feet the way they are, my participation in sport and activities, and still doing what everyone else did. It’s a real shame that didn’t get shown.
“I’m not sure really why it didn’t, but it just didn’t get played across. It’s a shame because I feel like it’s a great opportunity for good to happen.
“I just think ITV maybe missed out, they could have done good for a lot of people there. It was a shame but I’m sure they had their reasons.”
Prior to his entrance, Hugo expressed his hopes to “set a great example and show people that having a disability doesn’t mean you can’t be mainstream or it doesn’t mean that I don’t have a right to find love and things like that”.
Insisting that his physical disability “doesn’t define” him, Hugo explained: “[The other Islanders] probably will notice at some point, especially when I’m not walking in shoes, because I have got a slightly shorter Achilles tendon from the operation, so I walk slightly on my tiptoes.
“So people will notice and I will very happily educate them and tell them and inform them about everything I have been through and what other people go through.”
This year’s Love Island was eventually won by Millie and Liam, who decided to split the show’s prize money between them.
Love Island will return to ITV2 for its eighth series in summer 2022.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.