Related video: First Love Island contestant announced
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Popular ITV dating show and all-round snogfest Love Island has unveiled its cast for 2022, and it’s set to make history with its first-ever deaf contestant, Natasha ‘Tasha’ Ghouri.
So as fans of the show try to track down Instagram handles and find out more about the cast beyond their standard press quotes, we thought we’d help you out with a little more info about the 23-year-old hoping to find love in the villa.
So what does Tasha do, exactly?
Hailing from Thirsk in Yorkshire, she works as a model and dancer.
Might I have seen her somewhere before?
Possibly. She made headlines last year when she appeared as an ASOS model as a cochlear implant user, and has also starred in a music video with Sleepwalkrs and MNEK.
You may have heard of a hearing aid, the standard plastic mould connected to a tube and a microphone which hides behind the ear. A cochlear implant is slightly similar to that, but involves technology which is actually implanted into the skull to aid hearing.
‘Aid’ hearing, that is, rather than ‘restore’ or ‘cure’ it, as a cochlear implant user is still deaf when they take the magnet off at night to go to sleep, for example.
It’s typically offered to and carried out on severely or profoundly deaf individuals – so those on the higher end of the spectrum. While the person has the same microphone behind the ear, this time it’s connected to a magnet which rests on a person’s head.
It connects to a magnet on the skull, which sends signals into the cochlea, which is that cute little snail-like thing you might have seen in your biology lessons.
How did Tasha become deaf?
According to a fundraiser she launched in 2019, Tasha was born deaf but her parents “didn’t find out until I was 12 months old [as] I wasn’t responding to sounds or even my own parents’ voices”.
With cochlear implants not available to her at first, she wore hearing aids and was fluent in British Sign Language (BSL) “due to hearing aids not being strong enough for me to hear”.
She now has a cochlear implant in her right ear.
So what’s dating been like for her in the past?
In an Instagram Q&A, Tasha revealed that, simply put, dating has been “a process”, as she has an “anxiety of meeting new people”.
She wrote: “It’s the thoughts of, ‘what if I don’t understand him’, ‘what if I can’t hear him in a noisy bar’, ‘what if there’s loud music and I’ll keep saying pardon?’ So many thoughts like this go through my head.
“Before I meet someone, if I feel comfortable enough I do tell them about my hearing just so then it’s in their mind. It’s their reaction that’s the most important to me and I’ve had some reactions where they don’t understand and never hear from them again.
“But that’s okay, it doesn’t affect me as I take it with a pinch of salt. Not everyone is open-minded and because ‘disabilities’ has this negative outlook sometimes on it, we are seen in a different way, which is how it shouldn’t be.”
She added that her deafness is a “part of me that I do share with someone” but that she has to be “very, very comfortable” in order to do so.
“I like it when someone is genuinely interested and asks questions about it because to me, that shows that you accept me for me and I’m so open about it. I love talking about it because it’s a subject that is personal to me.”
Meanwhile, in her press comments ahead of her appearance on Love Island, Tasha told the producers her dating life has been “a shambles”.
She said of the dating show: “This is an opportunity for me to find ‘the one’ and have a great summer at the same time. I’m definitely ready for a relationship. I’m 23 now so I’m ready to get to know someone, go on holidays and travel with them.”
And what can we expect from Tasha on the show?
The Yorkshire native has admitted her family and friends “would definitely describe me as wild” and that she can “get very wild on a night out”.
“I’m definitely a party animal. I love my prosecco and to have a dance – I’m always on the dance floor.
“I’m very loyal to my friends and family, I’ll always have their backs. I’m the type of person to put others before me.
“They would definitely say I’m a nap queen - I love napping,” she said.
As for whether she’s competitive, she added: “It’s a tough one because I’m a girls’ girl, but it is a dating show and I’m here to find my man. I may have to step on toes but I’ll do it in the nicest way possible.”
Series eight of Love Island kicks off on 6 June at 9pm on ITV2.
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