A Department for Transport civil servant is among the contestants on the upcoming series of Love Island, having left her role as an operations lead in the department to join the show.
Sharon Gaffka will be among the contestants when the reality show returns next week, and according to the Mirror, “eyebrows were raised” when it was revealed the 25-year-old would take part.
The paper said Gaffka quit her role as an operations manager for the DfT to sign up, but did not tell her former employers she would be joining the ITV2 reality show.
A source at the ministerial department said: “It was surprising to see the Love Island lineup... plenty of eyebrows were raised.
“But everyone thinks the DfT is potholes and bus stops, so it’s great to see a former colleague bringing a bit of glamour to the Department for Transport.”
Gaffka spent around six months as a contracted employee, and had previously worked for various governmental departments during a seven-year career in the civil service.
Before entering the show, Gaffka said that it had become “a bit of a running joke between my friendship group for a while that I should apply, probably because I’m the most outrageous one out of the group”.
She added: “I’ve been a civil servant since I was 18. I’ve worked in lots of different departments. I’ve been doing Brexit policy for the last year, I did a stint during the coronavirus pandemic in the Department of Health so I was helping deliver testing kits and managing the operations. It’s been an intense year!”
Asked what she looks for in a romantic partner, she added: “I have this thing where if something doesn’t work out with one person, I’ll try and go for the other extreme to see if that works out. I tend to date someone who is taller than me, even though my last long-term partner, he was actually someone who was shorter than me. I’m quite an intellectual person so I want someone who can kind of match that.”
Gaffka will be the second civil servant to take part in the show.
Zara McDermott took part in the show in 2018 while she was on a 12-month break from her role at the Department for Education. She later joined the cast of reality TV show Made in Chelsea.