Crowned as 2019's Love Island winners, Amber and Greg have been praised as the best couple of the season, and are the perfect example of always keeping your standards high.
Reality TV avoiders can now breathe easy — Love Island is finally over for another season. Over the past eight weeks, we've watched the trials and tribulations of modern love play out in nightly episodes, as over 30 islanders bared their soul on TV for a shot at love (and a slice of that £50,000 prize, of course). There have been many a shock moment throughout the series, but last night's final took the cake, as Amber Gill and Greg O'Shea took the crown in a shock win over Molly Mae Hague and Tommy Fury. Hailing from Newcastle and Limerick respectively, Amber and Greg were not the most established couple on the show, but their win sparked nationwide celebrations, with seemingly everyone on social media absolutely delighted for their win. In this troubled time of souring relations between Ireland and the UK (Leo can't even get a text back from Boris), last night's final showed that Anglo-Irish love is well and truly alive - even the Irish embassy approves.
— Embassy of Ireland (@IrelandEmbGB) July 29, 2019
So why did they win? Fellow finalists and fan favourites Molly Mae and Tommy have been absolutely besotted with each other for almost the entire duration of the show and have become the poster-children of a perfect Love Island ending. Greg and Amber, on the other hand, have been coupled up for less than two weeks, with Greg being the last islander to join the villa this series. So why was everyone so delighted for their win?
Irish eyes are smiling
Well obviously, we've got the Irish element in there. Greg O'Shea, a 24-year-old rugby player from Limerick, is the perfect example of why the world loves Irish men — charming, quietly confident, and has a way with words (just listen to that poem he wrote for Amber). To have gone into the villa at the 11th hour, instantly clicked with established fan favourite Amber and go on to win the entire series after just 12 days is playing an absolute blinder, and Greg did it all as an absolute gent. The Irish reactions to his win last night were particularly entertaining, with comparisons being made to winning the All-Ireland and Italia 90. Greg's a great lad and even spoke a bit of Gaeilge in his final video for Love Island — he's definitely a worthy winner.
— Love Island (@LoveIsland) July 29, 2019
It's all down to Amber
But the deeper reason that the couple has garnered so much goodwill in such a short space of time is all down to Amber. The Newcastle beauty, who was the very first girl to enter 2019's villa, has had, it's fair to say, a rough time in Love Island. Initially coupled up with Michael (this year's certified villain), the couple split when Michael dumped her for newcomer Joanna after Casa Amor, leaving Amber single. Still dealing with her feelings for Michael, Amber was subjected to weeks of drama in this unwitting love triangle, as fellow islanders convinced her that Michael still had feelings for her, while all he was doing was fueling the fires of drama between her and Joanna, and being downright cruel to Amber. When Joanna eventually got voted out, and Amber finally got a chance to make a fresh start with newcomer Greg, Michael decided to insert himself in her life yet again, by telling her that he still had feelings for her, after weeks of showing the exact opposite. Amber was left with the difficult choice of choosing to go back to Michael or to start a new relationship with Greg.
Amber is not perfect — she's a tough nut to crack, and can come across rudely to those not accustomed to her sense of humour. She has a hard time showing her emotions, which can come across as uncaring to those trying to get to know her. But she's also refreshingly self-assured — she has standards of how she expects to be treated in a relationship, and won't put up with less. Michael was nothing but terrible to Amber — he manipulated both her and Joanna, he was unnecessarily mean to her when she tried to show her feelings towards him, he badmouthed her to others in the villa in an attempt to get them on his side, and had no regard for her mental wellbeing by continuously messing with her emotions, which he knew were in a vulnerable state.
Many of us were left screaming at the television in the fear that Amber may go back to his old ways, but what would have been unusual about that? It's something that many people, both men and women, struggle with — the battle between the heart and the head when it comes to love. Although all logic and reason may be telling you that this person is bad for you, it won't dampen the raw emotion that lies beneath. The mistake that most of us make is giving in to the raw emotion — but not Amber. She knew that Michael was the bad guy, and she chose to ignore the temptation of another round of punishment, and go with her head. With the height of respect for Greg, it wouldn't have mattered who she would have chosen — all that mattered was that she didn't choose Michael. And she summed that up in one perfectly reasoned statement: "I wouldn't have put up with how he acted on the outside, so why would I put up with it in here?"
"The heart wants what it wants"
In one decision, she gave the girls of the UK and Ireland a powerful lesson in standing up for yourself, and that your self-worth is more important than any temptation. Amber's standards would not allow herself to return to someone who had treated her so badly — and so even though it may have hurt, she didn't let them slip. She kicked the trend of following your heart over your head, which is so often dangerously romanticised — the heart may want what the heart wants, but that doesn't mean it's right. And in the short time that followed, we all saw how letting logic win out over feelings will reap you the rewards.
Amber and Greg's relationship blossomed, and Amber was able to relax and fully enjoy herself in the knowledge that she had chosen wisely. And last night, their underdog story came good, as they were crowned the 2019 winners, splitting the prize money of £50,000 between them. Amber's story is a lesson to all of us in the importance of protecting your standards — never give in to a relationship that you know will hurt you, when someone who sees and appreciates your worth is always just around the corner.