The Love Island export on working with Stormzy and Zayn Malik.
No matter what you did this summer, you were more than likely exposed to Love Island in some capacity. Whether you were hooked on soaking up the sun of every episode over the course of it’s two month run, or merely hearing about it via the numerous media outlets that covered it’s every twist and turn, there’s no denying that you’ll definitely have come across the name Kaz Crossley.
Entering of day 26 (of 59), Crossley quickly made an impression with fellow Islander Josh Denzel, instantly coupling up and ending up third overall in the series. After a string of post-Island break-ups, Crossley and Denzel are still very much in the honeymoon period. But what you probably don’t know about Kaz, is that before she slipped into her bikini for her sun-drenched TV stint, she was actually an established make-up artist working with some of the industries biggest names. The likes of recently confirmed Glasto headliner Stormzy and 1D export Zayn Malik have both had the Kaz treatment.
Firmly finding her feet back in South London, we caught up with Kaz to speak about how she’s re-coupling her everyday life with her newfound fame.
Paint a picture of what your life was like prior to Love Island.
Before all of this, I was a freelance makeup artist. I was on the opposite side of the camera doing the make-up. So, I did that for a while and then I decided to go traveling for 4 months in Asia literally just before I went on the show. I was approached by Love Island while I was travelling and I had to do my interview on Skype. I also had a working visa to got and work in Australia, so it was either Love Island or going to work in Australia. I ended up flying back and I got on the show.
So you literally didn’t know until you got back to England?
Literally, I spent all of my money on the flight back from Thailand. It was a gamble.
I always imagine that you go into that situation [Love Island] and come out as a completely new person. How do you handle that exposure?
Everyone in the show kind of knows what they’re getting themselves into. I obviously went in half-way through, so I had to watch it from the start to know what I was getting myself into and who everyone was. I simply never imagined that I would get so far in the show. I met Josh and obviously we became a couple and got to the final. That’s something different for someone who only came in just for a week. I remember landing at the airport and having floods of people jumping on me.
Do you think you’ve adjusted well to that?
It took a little bit of time, but I think I have adjusted. At first, I was having a lot of meetings and I couldn’t even speak, everything was moving too fast. Josh was very supportive. He was very much used to that kind of life and he definitely helped me.
I’m guessing you get recognised in the street now!
Yes! It’s mostly people who follow me on Instagram. I did a make-up meet and greet and had a bunch of young girls turn up that follow me for my makeup. They all came to get pictures. But nobody can prepare you to what happens when you come out of the show.
We were speaking earlier about being recognised by people that follow you on Instagram. How many followers did you have before you got in?
I had about 20k and now I’ve got about a million.
Do you think social media is a positive or negative outlet?
I feel it’s what you do with it to that matters. I try to be positive because I’ve got such a big platform for young girls. They look up to me so I have to concentrate on being a role model. With that many followers, you have to be so much more aware of what you put up.
Do you feel like there is a certain level a responsibility for you now, being followed by so many young girls?
100%. With that level of followers you always have to be conscious of what you post and how you’re portraying yourself. You don’t want to be seen in a bad light.
I can imagine that you have a lot of people who are massive fans but also a lot of haters. How do you handle that?
I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion. Having that many followers, you are going to get many people who hate on you. You don’t have to take it personally – you have to be a strong person. I look at all the positive messages that I get and they shine so much brighter than any negative ones that I receive.
Everyone on Love Island seems to be on ‘type’ of person, do you think the show has a diversity issue?
From a body type, I really don’t think it’s diverse at all. Everyone on the show has to be comfortable walking around in a bikini, so obviously everyone on the show needs to have a good body. There is definitely room for change in body types.
You’re now a public figure, what are you hoping to do with the exposure?
As I was a make up artist before, I’m thinking about longevity in my career. I want to be a beauty influencer. It’s something that I’m good at, that’s my talent and I just want to go down one road.
Do you feel pressure to maintain the attention you get when you come out of the villa?
I’m not bothered about the fame, I don’t look for myself in the press, I don’t think that means you’re successful. I’m happy doing what I do and that’s all that matters. I never thought I’d be on TV. I’m not really that kind of person, so going on the show was not something that I would normally do. As long as I continue down this road and not think about how famous I am, I’m going to be fine. I don’t want to be famous, I just want to be successful.
And so are you a music fan? Which kind of artists are you into?
I love music, I literally love all genres of music. My favourite genre is house music. I’m a big house-head and also UK Rap. When I was working as a make-up artist on music videos, I did a lot of rap scenes.
Who are some of the people that you worked with
I worked with Stormzy, Yungen, MoStack. I also worked on Zayn Malik’s music video – that was probably one of the bigger ones that I did.
What was the first album you ever bought?
Jamelia. I loved her, that was the first album that I ever bought!
What is the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Jay-Z was a good one. I’m into house festivals. Another good one that I’ve been to was Field Day in Brixton this summer.
Finally, what do your family and friends think about this craziness?
They’re very supportive. My mum keeps me grounded. The way that I was brought up has helped me deal with the change. And my friends are also extremely supportive of me. When I went into the villa, they found my management company for me. They’ve also been working with my management so my best friends helped me build up my brand for the last couple of months.