Love Island star Maura Higgins has shown off her natural beauty by stripping off the fake tan and heavy make-up for a chic fashion shoot.
As part of a spread for Grazia magazine, the 28-year-old grid girl toned down her sexy look as part of a stylish makeover.
She was pictured looking relaxed and fashion-forward in simple monochrome outfits, casual denims and neutral make-up.
Looking at her fresh-faced images, Maura said: “I’ve never seen a photo of myself like that!”
Speaking to the magazine, the model from County Longford, Ireland, opened up about sex, feminism and the much-debated girl code following her stint in the Love Island villa.
Despite her controversial pursuit of Tommy Fury when she first entered the villa, Maura went on to become on of the most popular personalities of this year’s series.
She told the magazine: “I’ve always been misjudged, my whole life.
“I think people look at my Instagram and think of me as a completely different person – because when I meet people out, they always say, ‘You’re so much nicer than I expected’.”
Explaining her daily need to apply fake tan while in the villa, Maura said: “My biggest worry going into Love Island was that I am so pale and I don’t get a colour.
“My mammy was saying to me, ‘Maura, honestly, you’ve got more to worry about than your bloody tan!’
“I was thinking everyone else was going to be so tanned, and I would be a ghost. My nickname at school was Casper…”
She added: “I just like nice brown skin, you know? But looking back now, there’s 101 pictures of me with no make-up on, and it doesn’t faze me. I’m not bothered about it.”
Maura has become an unexpected feminist hero since leaving the Love Island villa after putting fellow Islander Tom Walker in his place for making offensive remarks about her.
She said: “I never realised I was a feminist! I just stand up for myself, and I won’t let anyone talk s**t about me.
“And you know, I do talk about sex, but so do guys.”
She now hopes younger women watching her in the villa will take that from her experience, saying: “Stick up for yourself. Don’t let anyone walk all over you. Voice your opinion. There’s no point hiding away.”
While Maura was often accused of breaking the girl code by making the moves on Curtis, she also displayed huge loyalty to the other girls in the villa – most memorably by alerting Anna Vakili to her boyfriend Jordan Hames’ wandering eye.
Now back in the outside world, Maura claims her relationship with Curtis is progressing, albeit slowly.
She said: “We’ve spent only one night apart, and then he came to see me and he had a little gift for me.
“He gets up in the morning and irons my dress for me – he’s just the cutest guy in the world.”
Expressing her confidence in the relationship, she added: “Obviously, we’re going to be busy now, but I feel like if we both like each other enough we will make time for each other.
“I’m not a girl to be on edge all the time thinking, ‘I wonder what he’s doing?’
“I trust someone until they do me wrong, and if they do me wrong, that’s it. There are no second chances with me. You’re gone.”
Taking on a new role as This Morning’s agony aunt, Maura is hoping to put her straight-talking ways to good use, but says she won’t let her new found celebrity status change who she is.
Read Maura’s full interview in Grazia, out today.
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