Molly-Mae: 'I’m not just an influencer any more'

By Annabel Rackham
Newsbeat reporter

Image source, Pretty Little Thing
Image caption, Molly Mae will be involved in the day-to-day running of PLT as their new creative director

She's arguably the most famous Love Island contestant of all time, who's used her popularity to create an Instagram following of over six million.

But now 22-year-old Molly-Mae Hague says she's taking a new direction by accepting a senior job with fast fashion brand Pretty Little Thing (PLT).

"I'm excited to be a creative director - I'm not an influencer any more and people can see that, it's become a lot more than that," she tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

PLT and other companies in its group, like Boohoo, have received a lot of criticism in recent years for not using sustainable materials and underpaying the people making their clothes in British factories.

These issues were again raised on social media after Molly-Mae's announcement, and she was criticised for working with the brand.

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When Newsbeat interviewed Molly-Mae, we asked her about it but she chose not to respond.

After leaving the Love Island villa as a finalist in 2019, she was approached by the company to put her name to a collection, which became one of their most successful launches.

"It was Umar [Kamani, co-founder of PLT] that put this forward and said he would trust me in this role," she tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

"I'm basically going to eat, sleep, breathe Pretty Little Thing - although I do that anyway".

PLT say they've launched a new strategy, which involves making 20% of all the clothes they sell sustainable by autumn and 40% by next summer.

The company say a former high court judge, Sir Brian Leveson, has been appointed to look independently at how ethical the business is and make sure workers are being paid fairly.

'Wearing the same dress twice'

When asked if her new role would involve stopping the throwaway nature that comes with fast fashion, she said she didn't know why "it's become normal".

"I still wear all the same outfits from the very first collection I did with PLT, I always make sure in every collection it's very versatile and you're able to restyle pieces," she says.

"I'm a strong believer in wearing the same dress twice,

"I even captioned one of my Instagram pictures the other day saying 'PSA it's ok to wear the same dress twice' - it's a bad habit us girls have got into, like if you put it on Instagram it means you can't wear it again."

Image source, Pretty Little Thing
Image caption, Molly-Mae is one of the most successful Love Island contestants

Molly-Mae says the job will be full-time and will involve designing collections - rather than putting her name to them - and also improving inclusivity of the brand by creating clothes in sizes 4-30.

"I understand what the consumer wants, it's a very similar audience to my following and a very similar age group.

"It's going to be putting my ideas forward pretty much every day and working towards my vision within the brand."

Image source, Pretty Little Thing
Image caption, She says she aims to make the company more size-inclusive

Her social media content involves outfit photos, make-up and hair tutorials and insights into her life with boyfriend Tommy Fury, the half-brother of boxer Tyson Fury, whom she met on Love Island.

"When people come onto my Instagram they know that what they're seeing is authentic and I've done that from the very start when I had 150k followers," she says.

Molly-Mae says she can "count on one hand" the companies she's worked with and says her followers trust her and know she would only promote something she actually likes.

She says she recently turned down an offer of £2m to work with a high street brand, simply because she didn't wear their clothes.

'It's OK to get filler dissolved'

That honesty has also led her to have difficult conversations with her followers, including earlier this year, when she announced she'd had all the cosmetic filler in her face removed and bonding on her teeth after not recognising herself any more.

'Sharing the mistakes I made so openly was the best thing I could have ever done," she says.

"Let's make a movement where it's OK to get your filler dissolved and accept that you might not want to look that way now."

She says getting cosmetic work done was due to being "a bit insecure".

"Recently I've been telling myself and my followers that you only get one face and one body so you have to accept it for what it is," she says.

"I think for me it was a journey of accepting that you don't need to get all these things done to your face, you're fine the way you are."

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