Eyal Booker: 'Being in the gym is a form of meditation for me'20th Feb 19 | Lifestyle
No regrets and living in the moment... Love Island's Eyal Booker talks to Gabrielle Fagan about his attitude to life and wellness.
Eyal Booker has certainly been busy since he was voted off Love Island and got thrust into the world of celebrity – but love is still eluding him.
He had short-lived romances with Megan Barton-Hanson and Hayley Hughes on the hit ITV show, and although he got to the finale in E4’s Celebs Go Dating last year, he’s still single, and admits his fame means dating these days isn’t easy.
Undaunted, the curly-haired 23-year-old, from Bushey, Hertfordshire – who first got a taste of showbiz at 16, as a member of pop group EverYoung – is determined to make his mark in other ways.
He’ll be seen on screen later this year in Celebs On The Ranch, competing to be the best cowboy, is also a successful model, and has dreams of becoming an actor and TV presenter. Booker is committed to charity work too, right now supporting children’s charity World Vision UK.
Here, Booker talks about what makes him tick and his hopes for the future…
How do you look back on your time on Love Island now?
“I was naive and there was more psychological pressure than I expected. It was pretty tough at times. I just thought it would be like a holiday and be a bit of a breeze – like walk in, find a girl and that’s that. I genuinely was looking for love, as I love being with someone special.
“But it didn’t work out that way for me, and it was quite hard for me to come to terms with the fact that you’ve got to go from person to person on the show. It was lonely at times, because you’re on your own, away from all the people you know and would normally turn to for advice. You just have to draw on your own resources.
“Overall though, it was definitely a crazy, cool, great time of my life. I’d been approached a few times to go on it but refused, and then I decided this must be happening for a reason. I think they (the casting team) liked what I’m about – being true to yourself, and going out and working to get what you want.”
Do you regret sleeping with Megan Barton Hanson – you were the first couple to have sex on that series of the show?
“No, I don’t regret sleeping with Megan. I don’t regret sleeping with anyone, because when I’m sleeping with someone, it’s what I want to do in that moment.
“After all, its part of human nature, and we were testing out our relationship but it just didn’t go anywhere from there. I think that’s what we needed to do at the time and it was tastefully handled.”
You were known as the ‘spiritual’ one on Love Island, but how would you describe yourself?
“I’m spiritual in a general kind of way, it doesn’t define me as a person and it was hard coming out and seeing how that aspect of me had been slightly over-played on the programme. I have a religion [Booker was the first Jewish contestant on the series] but I’m actually interested in spirituality generally. I’ve only just touched the surface of it and I’m just exploring currently.
“Actually, I’d describe myself as a happy-go-lucky 23-year-old, who’s free- spirited and likes to live in the moment. I just want to enjoy life, follow my dreams and have fun. So far, my life’s going according to plan.”
Who are the most important people in your life?
“My family are really important to me and keep me massively grounded. My dad, Adam, has a courier company and my mum Michal’s in property management, and me and my siblings have got a really strong bond.
“I talked to my parents about going on Love Island before I did it, and they were fine with it, but it was hard for them and my siblings to bear the whole brunt of the media storm around it. It really takes you on a journey. One day people hate you, then they love you, then they hate you again. I’ve had to learn not to worry about the opinions of people who don’t really know me, and so have they.
“As the youngest of three brothers, I know my place! I’ve always looked up to Ariel, 26, who gives me brilliant business advice, and my other brother Tal, 25, a graphic designer, and we all live together. I’ve also got a little sister, Oriane, 14, who’s the best person in the world.”
Did you enjoy your latest reality TV challenge, training to be a cowboy for Celebs On The Ranch?
“It was a pretty mad and sometimes scary experience. We were on a remote ranch in the middle of Arizona set in 50,000 acres, and thrown in the deep end to learn how to be cowboys. I perform best in those circumstances and was ready for that, but I don’t think a lot of people were.
“They just handed me a hat and boots and I had to learn fast. Luckily, I could already ride a bit, and I learnt how to shoot.
“It’s an elimination process [on the show], so it’s pressured. I witnessed someone get seriously hurt at one point and hospitalised. It was really horrible and brought a sense of panic to everyone, but also a sense of unity that we were all in it together.
“While I was there, I got really close to Bobby Norris from TOWIE, and Siva Kaneswaran from The Wanted, and it was great to catch up with Georgia Steel from Love Island again. ”
Are you dating at the moment?
“No, I’m single, although if you believed everything that’s said about me in the media you’d think I was always dating and with a different girl every day. It’s crazy.
“It means dating can be a little bit hard for me sometimes. I’m a friendly person and love meeting new people, but I only have to step outside with someone for some fresh air and a chat, and then I’m photographed and it’s said we’re in a relationship! It gets blown out of all proportion, and I want to go, ‘Nooo, we’re not dating!’.”
What are your aims for the future?
“I’d love to do TV presenting, and maybe get into acting, as I went to a stage school for a time. I enjoy modelling – even though I’m a bit self-conscious about my ears – because to me it’s like performing, being creative and getting into a character.
“Doing charity work is incredibly important to me, because I believe I’ve been given a platform and want to use it positively to raise awareness. I hope to inspire the younger generation and help children. Last year, I went to the Philippines to see the work World Vision UK are doing in the wake of the devastating typhoon out there, and was able to help build some houses for people who’ve lost everything.”
How do you look after your health?
“I’m big on high-intensity workouts and class-based training. I do something called F45, which is a 45-minute blast of exercise which focuses on motivation, varying programmes and getting better results.
“Being in the gym is a form of meditation for me, because it’s about being in the moment and just being aware. I’d recommend yoga, which is a great way to work-out and meditate at the same time. I also like circuits – rounds of squats, push-ups, lunges and burpees.”
How do you look after your wellbeing?
“I’ve loved being outdoors since I was a kid, and me and my brothers used to go off mountain biking and kite boarding. My favourite way of spending time is enjoying nature – maybe visiting my parents for lunch, who live on the outskirts of London – and taking my black golden doodle dog, Benji, for a walk. That’s a great way switch off and relax.”
And what about looking after those curls?
“I use a moisturising cream. When I get out of the shower, I rub it in and shake my head around for a while and the curls appear.”
Eyal Booker supports World Vision UK, a charity dedicated to supporting the world’s most vulnerable children. For more information, visit worldvision.org.uk.
© Press Association 2019