Love Island is back, and so is the dating show's typical viral moments and drama. But this season, some of the drama is happening online.
A TikTok account with the handle @secretloveislandgirl went viral this week after the user behind the account claimed they were a secret contestant on the show, hidden away in a second villa called Casa Amor.
The villa is well known to fans. Since 2017, the male contestants during the show are sent away to Casa Amor, and it is essentially a way to test just how strong the existing relationships in the villas are.
The TikTok user posted several clips in the supposed villa to prove they were on the show, but fans soon grew confused, as contestants are not allowed to use personal mobile phones on the show. Some began to call for @secretloveislandgirl to be taken off the show.
However, the whole thing was actually a strange prank. It turns out, the TikTok user had been posting fake videos that they edited from an app called I've Got a Text, an online video game for fans of the show.
As Deadline reported in June, the app allows "users to immerse themselves in a fictional version of the reality dating show" and play along. The people shown on the app as contestants are actually actors.
Users of the app follow along on a fictional season of Love Island, where they can keep with fictional drama in the app and spy on the characters. The person running the TikTok account posted videos of a character called Jessie Williams to make the account seem legit. After fans began to question it, the user of the TikTok account posted a video calling it all a prank. They have since deleted their account.
The face of the @secretloveislandgirl TikTok account, and the character Jessie Williams, is 25-year-old Alex Gray, a presenter and actor from London. After the account went viral this week, Gray posted a video on her own account to debunk the TikTok account.
She told BuzzFeed News she was sent reposts of the videos and the TikTok account by people who knew her.
"At first I thought it was funny and was amusing to see my character Jessie going viral," she said. "But then it dawned on me that all of the cast and crew's hard work for the app was going completely unrecognized."
Gray said they had five days to film just under 30 days of content and called the experience incredible.
"We had the actual director and executive producer from the real show in our production, to make sure everything appeared as authentic to the real show as possible," said Gray.
Gray made a video explaining the app, how someone had used the clips from the game to create the content for the TikTok account, and that she is an actor.
"I was seeing my face pop up everywhere, with videos that were getting millions of views," said Gray, "from TikTok videos, to meme pages, to Love Island reaction pages and so on."
Gray said it started to upset her a little because people didn't seem to know it was her or her character Jessie.
"Some of the comments were calling 'me' some not very nice names because they believed I was a real islander and had broken the rules by sneaking my phone into the villa," said Gray.
That is why Gray created her video which ended up going viral. The actor said she felt comfortable with going viral and said that people have been super nice and supportive. "It’s been so so lovely seeing how kind people have been about me and the app," she said.
Gray said her friends think it's funny that her character Jessie has gone viral, and they told her to speak up to inform the public.
A lot of people on TikTok admitted they were duped and were supportive of Gray.
BuzzFeed News has contacted the production team behind Love Island for comment.