A long, long time ago—years before self-made comedians took to Instagram and TikTok to share their material—Vine was the breeding ground for viral video sensations. It was 2013. Things were simpler. Six seconds was more than enough time to birth memes and make stars. The shuttered app was responsible for such additions to our cultural lexicon as “What are those?” and “on fleek.” It also gave us Arielle Vandenberg, a comedian and actress, and now the host of CBS’s Love Island.
The California native has a few acting roles under her belt, including appearances on How I Met Your Mother and Greek, but it was her quirky Vine presence that really took off. After Vine shut down (R.I.P), she transitioned to other platforms, making videos for Instagram, hosting a podcast called The Only Child, and producing a mock-reality television show about her life on YouTube.
“If I’m being honest, [Vine] shut down as it was slowing down for everybody at the same time,” Vandenberg told The Daily Beast. “Everybody was kind of moving to Instagram, so I was just excited that my fans actually came to follow me on Instagram.”
Her Instagram feed is something of an extension of her Vine profile, but now her comedic videos are interspersed with professional photos of herself and snapshots of her boyfriend, Matt Cutshall, and their beloved dog, Stinky. Vandenberg already has 1.2 million followers, but that number is sure to skyrocket as more people tune in to Love Island.
Her latest gig as a primetime reality television host is, unsurprisingly, markedly different from her social media-based projects. “The biggest difference is that I don’t have to fully produce it all myself, thank God,” she said. “When I’m doing my own social media stuff, I’m writing my own content and I’m directing it, I’m acting in it, and I’m editing it. So for this, I just get to be myself and walk out on set.”
Vandenberg has big stilettos to fill on Love Island. The juicy dating show—which features a group of “sexy singles” falling in love, breaking up, and getting kicked out of the villa until there’s only one couple left standing—is the American adaptation of a popular British show of the same name. The host of the original Love Island, Caroline Flack, is a well-known heavyweight on the UK reality and game show scene. Flack has participated in and hosted a number of British programs for over a decade, most famously hosting The X Factor (and possibly dating then-teenager Harry Styles).
With her unique, social media-driven career background, however, Vandenberg’s take on hosting feels more unfiltered, less polished. “I just try my hardest to make it my own and just really be authentic,” she told The Daily Beast, “and I am getting to know these people with everybody watching, so my genuine reactions, I hope they can come through on screen.”
As to preparing for the role, the effervescent 32-year-old did not do much besides binge-watch the original series. And though there’s apparently “buckets of bug spray on set,” Vandenberg stocked up on the essentials before setting off to film in Fiji. “I’m such a freak,” she said. “I went crazy on Amazon and I brought a whole bag dedicated to anything I might need. So, I’ve got everyone on set covered. I’m like, ‘You guys need aqua socks? I got them.’”
The filming schedule of the show is undoubtedly strenuous, regardless of the enviable tropical surroundings. Each episode shoots and airs within a 24-hour period, every single weekday for a month. But the marathon-like schedule has not seemed to have gotten to Vandenberg yet, who described the quick turnaround as one of the “coolest” parts of the show.
Laughing in disbelief, she explained the bizarre experience of watching herself in an episode she had filmed mere hours earlier. “I turned to someone in the room and I was like, ‘Wait! How is this happening right now?’” Vandenberg said. “And they’re like, ‘You know you’re on a show, right?!’”