Love Island’s Megan Barton Hanson wants to donate sex toys to NHS workers
Life has been a whirlwind for Megan Barton Hanson since she left the Love Island villa in July 2018, so the reality star is enjoying some welcome downtime during the national lockdown.
Currently isolating with her parents and younger brother Kurtis in their Essex home, Meg, 26, tells new the coronavirus pandemic has felt surreal.
“It’s kind of like Groundhog Day, but I’m getting through it,” she says, adding that she’s been keeping herself busy by exercising.
“Everyone’s doing these 5K runs like it’s a walk in the park!” she says. “I tried my hardest to do one just before this call, but I did 3K, which is only two miles. So, my goal is to do a 5K like everyone else – without dying.”
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Megan has been single since she broke up with her girlfriend, singer/songwriter Chelcee Grimes, after months of on/off dating. Prior to that, she lived with Wes Nelson after coupling up in the villa, but their romance fizzled out six months later.
Right now, the reality star is putting her search for true love on the back-burner, as she prioritises finding the house of her dreams.
“I can’t view them in person, but you can do house tours online, so that’s keeping me busy,” Megan explains. “I’ve lived in London a few times, but I’m definitely an Essex girl.”
Here, Megan lifts the lid on her dream partner, reveals why she believes sex toys are so important and discusses her plans to put smiles on the faces of hardworking NHS staff up and down the country…
Hi Megan! How are you finding self-isolation?
About two weeks in it was getting a little bit testing. I was like, “Right, the novelty has worn off now.”
It was all fun at first, having my dinners cooked for me – it was like being a teenager again. Then it got a bit tough. But now I’m loving it. I’ve never had so much free time. I’m looking after my skin and I’m going for runs.
Have you been working out?
Yeah, I bought an Apple Watch and have been going out running every day and looking at my heart rate and how many calories I’ve burnt. I’ve been going out with my brother – it’s good to go with someone as it keeps me motivated. I lose motivation by myself.
You’ve talked about suffering from anxiety. Have you managed to keep that under control during lockdown?
For me it’s a big thing to have routine and to have a purpose. As long as I’ve got a rough routine set out, that really gets me through.
It’s when I have no get-up-and-go and am lying in bed all day, that’s when I’m in my head too much.
You’ve taken part in Love Island and Celebs Go Dating, but do you feel self-love is more important than anything else?
I really do. I’ve dated very quickly after past relationships, but this time it’s really good to focus on myself.
It’s so clichéd but RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, then how the hell are you going to love someone else?!” It is so true.
Are you more accepting of yourself now?
Yeah. I’m just staying busy and doing productive things, rather than wallowing. When you’re busy with work, it’s not until you sit down that you have time to overthink. But where I’ve got this structure in place, I’m trying to do the things I’ve never normally got time to do.
So that’s keeping me busy and I feel happier. Now I’ve got the chance to do it, I’ve never felt so good. I feel fresh, clean and healthy —I’m loving life.
Great! Do you feel like you’ll come out of this crisis a stronger person?
Yeah. Before, when I came out of relationships, I’d just go into dating and keep myself busy and distracted. That was so easy to do when the world was like it was a few months ago. But now you can’t deflect how you’re feeling – you have to deal with it.
Have you been getting over a relationship then?
I’m single now and it’s been done for a while. I’m focusing on me.
Are you on any dating apps?
I’m on Raya. But the more time I’ve got at home the less I’m communicating with people. I’m becoming a little bit of a hermit.
So you wouldn’t want to be cooped up with someone during lockdown…
Absolutely not! I love my parents, but they’re getting on my nerves right now.
Who’s your biggest celebrity crush?
Emily Ratajkowski. Oh my God, she’s so fit.
Do many celebs slide into your DMs?
There have been so many. People are getting bored and brave! I’m not going to tell you who – I’ve learnt my lesson on that.
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Fair enough. When you took part in Love Island, did you expect to still be working in showbiz two years later?
I didn’t really think I’d even be in there after a few weeks. I didn’t envisage myself as the generic Love Island contestant – I’m not really loud, I didn’t go to drama school and I didn’t want to be in the limelight.
I was at a crossroads in my life with the work I was doing. I was dancing at the time and didn’t want to carry on. I just took it and thought, “Even if I come out with a few more followers… The potential of finding someone is a bonus.”
I’d never have thought I would be in the position I’m in now. But it’s absolutely amazing, just speaking about things that are really going to help people off the back of the DMs that I’ve got. I’ve got such an expansive range of things I can talk about – whether it’s sexuality, mental health or working in the sex industry.
Do you ever get pinch-me moments?
Yeah! Ann Summers was the one brand I really wanted to work with. When I first came out the villa people were saying, “Megan’s not really doing much.” But I wanted to back something I believed in.
What advice do you wish you could give your teenage self?
To be more selfish and go with your gut. Don’t worry what people will say. At the end of the day, everybody will have an opinion
on you, whether it’s good or bad. You’ve just got to block that out and focus on you. Be as happy as you can. If you’re gay or straight, want to work as a stripper or a doctor, as long as you’re a kind person and it makes you happy, that’s all that matters.
Do you find it hard to trust people in the industry?
One hundred per cent. I’ve gone out somewhere only a few people know about then come back to find a pap outside. It is really hard to trust because you don’t know what people want.
It’s so difficult for me because I’m a very honest person. My mum always tells me, “You’re too honest for your own good,” but it’s just in my nature. I’ve had my fingers burnt a few times, telling people things that are personal and next thing you know it’s all over the news.
What would you like to do next, career-wise?
The talks I do are what I love. I was so introverted at school, speaking in front of a crowd of people would have been my idea of hell.
Now just seeing how empowered people feel after the talks I’ve done, whether that’s with Ann Summers or other companies speaking about slut-shaming, is so rewarding.
My whole goal in doing these talks is putting an end to slut-shaming and judgement on people based on their looks, career choices and sexual preferences. Just let people live.
Would you like to do a documentary based on that subject?
Yeah, a documentary or maybe I need my own chat show.
What’s the first thing you’re going to do when we come out of lockdown?
Definitely party. We missed my best friend’s birthday, so we’re going to have the most elaborate house party at mine.
Are you missing partying?
I’m definitely missing my friends and dancing. I’m not a good dancer at all, but when you’ve had a few drinks and you’re in a bar, I just love it. It’s not the same when you’re in the kitchen, by yourself with a glass of wine.
This is a good time for the second edit with Ann Summers – we all need some cheering up. Can you talk us through it?
This edit is about taking time for self-love. It’s such a weird, sad time right now, but it’s giving us more time than we’ve ever had
– whether that’s exercising more or sorting out your skin routine or just taking time to look after yourself.
I think it’s really important to take this time and love yourself. You shouldn’t be ashamed because it’s pleasuring yourself.
Men have been speaking about masturbation for years and years, so it’s breaking down those taboos and allowing women to enjoy themselves while we’ve got this extra time on our hands.
Would you recommend this range for couples too?
Yes, 100 per cent. It can be used by yourself and also with a partner, which is the great thing about these toys. Women taking time and loving themselves is all very taboo.
I think the younger generation are more accepting of it and girls and their girlfriends would talk about using toys. The older generation and women going into Ann Summers – it’s always been a bit like, “Oh God, quickly, sneak in there!”
Now I think we can be open. The more we’re open with our partners as well, the more it can become a joint couple experience.
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Would you be up for donating some sex toys to the NHS staff?
Yes, I had so many messages from nurses when I did a giveaway and I had so many messages from partners of nurses. So, it would be a great idea to team up with Ann Summers and do a giveaway for the NHS! It’s such an awful time right now, but it’s so inspiring and I’m so proud how we’ve all come together and supported each other through this difficult time.
Do you ever feel judged about being so open about sex?
Yeah. Mostly it’s from the older generation. The younger generation is less judgemental. It’s a shock to some people and I’m sure the first time my grandparents saw me on my Instagram waving a vibrator around they were a bit taken aback.
But I think it’s healthy and natural. Men speak about sex all the time – why shouldn’t women?
Megan is working with Ann Summers. To shop her Megan Loves edit for the Pleasure Positivity Project, head to annsummers.com
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