Maura Higgins on the terrifying moment she found an old man in her garden taking pictures of her

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Since rising to fame on the 2019 series of Love Island, Maura Higgins has gone on to star in Dancing On Ice, landed a presenting spot on This Morning and has released her own make-up and tanning ranges.

Now she's launching a new accessories collection, while her romance with boyfriend Chris Taylor, 28, goes from strength to strength.

But the Irish stunner admits there are definite downsides to fame, like the day she realised a man as hiding in a bush in her garden, secretly snapping away. She talked about the encounter, and plenty more besides, in a recent chat with new magazine…

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You revealed earlier this year that a man was staring at you through the bushes in your garden. Did you say anything to him?

I did, but I’m not going to say what I said because it’s not really appropriate [laughs]. Think of Love Island and the way I reacted to Tom [Walker]! That might be the best way to describe it. But I’ve had a few situations like that. I’ve had groups of people stand outside my window, like groups of young people, saying, “Maura is in there!” I’ve had to close my curtains. I think people have figured out where I live now, which obviously isn’t the best because you lose your privacy then.

That must have been so scary!

It definitely is scary. Especially with the elderly man, that really scared me. I was sitting outside in my dressing gown and I just turned my head and he was so close to me. Where my seating area is outside, the bush is right next to it and I looked and saw this man and it was like something from a horror film.

He was holding his phone up and I could hear him taking pictures. I was like, “Oh my God!” That’s definitely one of the downsides to being in the public eye, but the upsides do outweigh the downsides.

And of course there's your romance with Chris.

Things are going really, really well.

Aww! Are you living together now?

No, but we live really close to each other. We spend every single day together anyway, so we may as well be!

Chris said he thinks you’re sexiest when you’re cleaning and with no make-up on. Do you have different jobs around the house?

I think he’s lying! But no, I’m a bit OCD. I like to do my own cleaning and washing, but we take it in turns with things like cooking. We enjoy cooking together, too.

Do you ever argue?

No, not really. We only ever have petty little arguments, like if he leaves my fridge door open. He has a habit of throwing the fridge door rather than properly closing it and then he doesn’t realise it’s left open, so we have a bit of an argument about it.

Is that his worst habit?

Yes, 100%. We went for a drive the other day for a few hours and we came back and my freezer door had been left open and everything in it was thawed because Chris had forgotten to close it properly. I was raging! I just don’t understand how someone can do that.

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That would make us mad, too! What makes your relationship work?

I’d probably say that we really trust each other, and the fact that we knew each other for a long time before we got with each other and were close friends. We knew a lot about each other, which definitely helps, but I’d
say trust is the biggest thing.

What’s the most romantic thing Chris has ever done for you?

I’d have to say Valentine’s Day. He hired this really romantic igloo and it was all lit up. We had a really nice dinner and there was romantic music playing. It was so special.

That sounds amazing. Chris has also said you guys have “great sex and lots of it”. Is that a really important part of a relationship for you?

Yeah, 100%. We’re open talking about it. I always have been, I don’t know why, I think I just grew up being open so I’ve never been afraid to talk about it.

Talking of passion, are you excited Love Island is definitely returning this summer?

Oh my God, I’m so excited. It feels like forever since it’s been on our screens. I think it will be a really good show this year.

Do you think it will be the same if it has to be in the UK because of the pandemic?

I mean, everyone is going to tune in regardless, but obviously it will be very different if it’s not abroad and the sun isn’t shining every single day. That’s going to be different, but I do think it will do well this year because everyone misses it and wants to see it again. I’m really excited.

What do you think about applications being opened up to lesbian and gay couples this year?

I think it’s a really good decision on their part. It’s really important. I think there will be more people tuning in because of that.

Was it good to be reunited with your Love Island bestie Molly-Mae Hague after lockdown restrictions eased?

It was really nice. I hadn’t seen her in so long so it was nice to catch up and go out for dinners and lunches. It kind of felt like normality again.

Her boyfriend, your former co-star Tommy Fury, recently said he will propose to her “sooner than you think”. Do you think it will be soon?

I reckon it will be this year, 100%.

Will you and Chris be following in their footsteps?

I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Chris! [Laughs]

Do you think you’ll be a bridesmaid at their wedding?

God, I hope so. She’d be getting defriended if not! [Laughs] No, she’ll definitely ask me to be a bridesmaid. I will be in full charge of that wedding.

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Will you be organising the hen do?

Oh my God, imagine – it would be crazy. Although I don’t think she’d put me in charge of the hen do because she likes more quiet nights and I like a wild night. She knows I’d ruin it for her.

You’re looking amazing at the moment. What sort of workouts have you been doing?

I’ve actually not been working out as much as I should be. I’ll do the odd HIIT workout, but I’ve not been doing it as much as I used to. I got into a bit of a slump with it. Having to do the same thing for so long gets a bit boring.

People often say they feel more comfortable in their thirties. Can you relate to that?

Definitely, but at the same time I feel like I’ve always had that attitude, even in my twenties. People’s opinions just don’t faze me and I always do my own thing. I’ve always felt very comfortable in myself. People do say your thirties are your best years, so I’m very excited.

You recently posted a no make-up selfie and showed off your grey roots. Why did you want to do that?

I feel like it’s important to show the real side of yourself. The amount of people that were shocked I had grey hair! I had so many messages from people saying, “Oh my God, I turned 30 and I went grey and now I’ve been grey for five years. It’s so nice to see you being real.” My DMs were flooded.

It’s just a really good feeling to show that realness and it was uplifting. I think people look at those in the public eye and think we’re perfect, but no one is perfect. We’re all human and we’re all the same.

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We love that you did that. Are you still rocking the grey roots?

I am. I still haven’t had them done. I’m still using my L’Oréal spray on them, which is a godsend! I’ve had grey hairs since I was 18. It’s genetics.

You do seem to get an amazing reception on social media, which must be refreshing…

It is, but I definitely get the odd negative comment. That’s only natural. I feel very lucky that I don’t get the hate that other people receive. I saw Jacqueline Jossa got so badly trolled the other day and people were even trolling her kids. It makes me so sad. I even sent her a DM saying I couldn’t even imagine that. Imagine someone trolling your kids! It’s terrible.

It’s awful. Did Jacqueline reply to you?

She did, we have DM’d each other a few times before. I thought it was so good what she put up and she was so honest. She said she doesn’t want people to be sending her these bad DMs, so if they don’t like her just don’t follow her and she’s not going to be upset about it. She said she doesn’t want people looking at her stuff if they don’t like her and I just thought, “You’re dead right.” It’s the best thing to say to these people.

Someone commented on one of your Instagram posts saying, “You need to put on a few pounds young lady.” What would you say to that?

That comment is not going to affect me. I’m happy in my body so that person’s comment isn’t going to make me go, “Oh God, I must put on some weight now because that person doesn’t like my body.” It’s my body so I do what I want and I look the way I want to look because it makes me happy. That’s the most important thing.

Do you ever respond to the trolls?

Maybe a long time ago I would have replied to one or two, but I don’t bother now. I think these people write comments to look for a reaction.

Workwise you've been busy launching your own shoe and handbag collection with footwear brand EGO…

I’m so excited to finally launch them! It’s been a year in the making and a lot has gone into it because I’m a fussy girl. I’m very fussy with fashion so I’m not just going to put anything on my feet! The collection is very, very different. I took inspiration from the catwalk so we’ve got a load of bold prints and vibrant tones. I definitely think everyone is going to love it, especially now we can go out more. EGO have been amazing to work with and I’m just so happy for everyone to see the designs.

EGO has a lot of famous fans, like Holly Willoughby and Khloé Kardashian. Who would be your dream celebrity to wear your collection?

Kendall Jenner. I feel like she would actually really love this collection. There is something for everyone. I really love
the Embers boots. When I put them on in the desert I was just obsessed. They’re really comfortable and they go with anything. We were very lucky to be able to shoot the collection in the desert in Dubai [pre-lockdown] and we’ve also done a TV advert.
It will be my first TV advert so I’m very excited about that.

Maura’s EGO range will be available to buy now at ego.co.uk.

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