Sharon Gaffka has secret Love Island link to Molly-Mae Hague from pageant run-in

Love Island's Sharon Gaffka has a surprising connection with former Islander Molly Mae Hague – they used to compete against one another in beauty pageants.

The civil servant, 25, was crowned Miss International UK, one of the longest-running pageants in the world, in 2018.

Meanwhile, Molly-Mae competed in her first pageant, Miss Teen Great Britain, in 2015, and was crowned World Teen Supermodel UK the following year.

Under the same mentorship, both Sharon and Molly-Mae shared the same pageant director, attending competitions up and down the country.

Molly-Mae finished in second place during the 2019 series of Love Island, and is still happily loved up with her boyfriend, Tommy Fury, who she met on the show.

When speaking to Daily Star and assorted press, Sharon was asked about the similarities between herself and former contestant Zara Holland, who was once crowned Miss Great Britain.

She said: "There have been other contestants that I have had interactions with in the past, and I've never actually personally had interactions with Zara, so I can't really make too much of a comment.

"Until people see me on TV and get to know me, I kind of expect those comparisons to be made."

While Sharon never met Zara – who was stripped of her Miss Great Britain title after appearing on Love Island – on the pageant circuit, she did meet two stars of the 2019 series behind the scenes.

She said: "Amy Hart was a pageant girl once upon a time, and Molly-Mae was also a pageant girl once upon a time."

Recalling their introduction, Sharon was struck by Molly-Mae's youth when they met, with three years between the two pageant stars.

She said: "I think for me, Molly was a lot younger, she was a very young teenager when I had interactions with her. Both very lovely women, and I haven't got a bad word to say about either of them."

Though she is keen to find love on the ITV2 reality series, Sharon hasn't been a diehard fan of Love Island over the years.

She said: "I've watched a couple of the previous series. I wouldn't say I've been a dedicated watcher and watched it since the beginning. It's only the last couple of years I've probably seen bits here and there."

As for eligible bachelors, one former contestant caught her eye, with Sharon rating brains over brawn when it comes to her dream man.

"I've always said somebody who is really intellectual is something that's really important to me," she said.

"Michael [Griffiths] in series five really surprised me when he said he did a degree in sciences.

"I'm probably going to be shocked and taken aback by some of the people that walk into the villa so I'm going to keep an open mind."

Will Sharon find the man of her dreams in the Mallorcan sunshine?

Love Island premieres on Monday, June 28 on ITV2

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