Liberty Poole quit the last series of Love Island just days before the final, following the end of her turbulent relationship with Jake Cornish. But the blonde beauty isn’t about to let that hold her back.

Ahead of her Dancing On Ice debut, the star sat down with OK! for an exclusive chat about how training is going, why she wants fans to see another side of her and whether she's still in touch with anyone from the villa. Sign up as an OK! VIP – for free! – to read the interview and see all the pictures from her photoshoot.

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The 21-year-old former Nando’s waitress from Birmingham, who’s now single, is walking straight on to another prime-time entertainment show after winning the hearts of the nation during her time in the famous villa.

She’s following in the footsteps of fellow Love Island alumni Maura Higgins, Kem Cetinay and Wes Nelson and getting her skates on for the latest series of Dancing On Ice – and she couldn’t be more thrilled.

“I got the call on my birthday, I was so excited,” Liberty tells new! during our exclusive shoot, where she’s channelling a beautiful snow queen. “As a kid growing up watching the show, you never think one day you’ll be on it.”

During our chat, it’s clear the down-to-earth star hasn’t stopped wearing her heart on her sleeve since becoming everyone’s favourite girl next door.

“It’s a shame Love Island didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, but I truly believe everything happens for a reason,” she says. “I wouldn’t say I went in as a different person, because I was myself all the way through, but I definitely think I’m stronger because of what happened.”

Here, Liberty reveals all about joining the 2022 line-up of Dancing On Ice, her whirlwind year since calling it quits with Jake, and why she’d love to host a TV show with Island BFF Kaz Kamwi…

Hi Liberty! How excited were you when you got the call for Dancing On Ice?

I actually sort of manifested it. My management said, “If there’s one thing you want to do, what is it?” And I wrote down Dancing On Ice. So I feel like it was meant to be. Then I got the call on my birthday. I was so excited. As a kid growing up watching the show, you never think one day you’ll be on it.

What made you want to sign up?

I’ve just always liked ice skating with my mates. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been good at it, but I used to like going around Christmas time. I’ve also always been a massive fan of the show. Me and my mum used to watch it, so it’s like a nostalgia thing for me.

How did your mum react?

My mum was through the roof ecstatic. She’s such a huge fan of the show. I’d even go so far as to say a superfan. I FaceTimed my mum with Torvill and Dean there and I think she shed tears of joy. When she meets them in person, that will be a magical moment. I think she’ll probably try to get her skates on when I’m performing [laughs.]

You’ve been training for a few months. How’s it going?

In October, I was thinking, “Oh my God, the show’s in January and we’ve only got two months,” but you can get a lot done in a month. Now I’m doing things on the ice I never thought I’d be able to do.

Have you braved any lifts?

I’ve already done a couple and I don’t think you realise, as a viewer, how dizzy you can get from that spin! The first time, I fell straight to the ground afterwards because I was so dizzy. It’s also intense exercise.

Have you noticed any changes in your body?

I haven’t. I have McDonald’s all the time! In Love Island, you sit around chatting and you’re not doing as much, so I think when I came out, I naturally got a bit more back into shape. But I haven’t noticed any big changes from training – I haven’t got abs. I don’t think I’ll ever have them. I love my carbs too much. I love my steak and chips and pizza!

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Your partnered with new pro skater Joe Johnson. How are you getting on?

We get on so well. We’re very similar. He is just the biggest ball of energy and now he’s like a brother to me. We have the best time, we’re always laughing and having fun. I definitely think you’ll see that. We’ll be the entertainment and the silly ones.

Will there be any romance rumours swirling about the two of you?

I don’t think Joe goes for me. We’re just the best of friends.

Have you bonded with the rest of the line-up?

We’ve got a little WhatsApp group. Sally [Dynevor] from Coronation Street is like an angel sent from heaven – so warm and such a lovely energy. She’s one of those people that from the first moment you meet them, you feel like you could hug them, even though they’re a stranger. And I’m quite close with the younger people like Connor [Ball, from The Vamps] and Kye [Whyte, Olympic BMXer]. We banter all the time. And Kimberly [Wyatt, former Pussycat Doll] is great too, so I can’t really say just one. All of them are great in their own way.

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Is it surreal that you’re on a show with some really famous people?

An actual Pussycat Doll! I used to jam to the Pussycat Dolls all my life. It’s just insane! Back in May, I was still serving chicken
at Nando’s. Now I’m going on to another big TV show. It’s just crazy to think about.

Have any former contestants given you any advice?

I spoke to Maura at the Pride Of Britain Awards. She was like, “It’s the best show ever! You’ll have the best time.” So I’m really excited to get started properly.

Do you think viewers will see a different side to you than the one we saw on Love Island?

Love Island is very focused on you in a relationship, so people see the vulnerable side and obviously falling in love. But I feel like you didn’t get to see me as much as an individual or my personality. I think with Dancing On Ice, you’ll get to see more of me having fun and being myself, rather than what I’m like being with someone.

How do you now look back on your time on Love Island?

I learnt a lot about myself and I made some great friendships there – friendships for life. It’s a shame that it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, but I truly believe everything happens for a reason. I wouldn’t say I went in as a different person, because I was myself
all the way through, but I definitely think I’m stronger because of what happened.

What has the response been like?

I’ve had so many people from different walks of life come up to me. It’s been very touching to hear. I’ve had young girls saying, “You inspire me.” I’ve also had a guy come up to me and tell me, “You helped me come out to my parents by being yourself.” And another woman told me, “I went through an abusive relationship and your strength helped me.” It’s been incredible to hear.

Are you still looking for love, or are you embracing the single life?

I’m happy being single, to be honest. I think I went into Love Island looking for love, thinking that’s what I needed. And then I found something better. There’s not a lot going on in the love life department. I’m quite busy at the moment so I don’t really have much time. But I also feel like I’m not ready, either, because I’m just so focused on myself that I don’t want any distractions from my happiness. So maybe in the future, but it’s not the right time.

Have you had anyone sliding into your DMs?

I didn’t really have anyone pop up at all when I came out. It was mainly nice messages from girls saying how I inspired them. That, to me, meant more than guys’ attention anyway. I don’t think I was in the right head space for that. Since then, I’ve had a few people wanting to take me out now, but I’m just really focused on myself and it’s not the right time in my life to go on dates.

Are you still friends with the other Islanders?

Yeah, I’m still in contact with Kaz. It’s hard because we’re both so busy at the moment so we can’t see each other as much, but I still see her regularly. I’m in contact with loads of them and we’ll just send a little message here and there about things that reminded us of a time in the villa.

What are you manifesting for yourself next?

Can I reach as high as I want? [Laughs] I was on a red carpet and these people asked security if I was a Bond girl. I laughed so hard I ended up snorting. Then a taxi driver said, “You could be the next Bond girl.” It’s happened now on four different occasions. But I ain’t no Hollywood actress, so I’m not getting my hopes up. Apart from that, I enjoy showing my personality.

Would you do another TV show?

Yeah, I’d be open to other stuff. I’d say I’m A Celebrity, but I’d just be running away from all the creatures and probably wouldn’t last five minutes. I’d quite like to do some TV presenting as well, but we’ll just see what happens.

Is there a presenter you love?

Holly Willoughby. You can’t beat her. But me and Kaz would make a good duo. That would be fun.

Dancing On Ice begins on Sunday on ITV at 6.30pm. For more updates on Liberty Poole and Dancing On Ice, sign up to our daily OK! newsletter.

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