Love Island‘s first disabled contestant Hugo Hammond doesn’t want to be defined by having clubfoot and insists producers chose him for his ‘personality.’
The P.E. teacher, from Hampshire, 24, told MailOnline viewers will notice he walks on his tip toes, which is more noticeable when his barefoot, after being born with his ‘legs twisted and backwards.’
In an interview ahead of the show’s launch on Monday, Hugo revealed he had ’20 correction operations before the age of eight’ but ‘wouldn’t change it for the world because it’s part of who I am.’
‘I’m on this show because they liked me’: Love Island’s first disabled contestant Hugo Hammond doesn’t want to be defined by having clubfoot and insists producers chose him for his ‘personality’
He explained: ‘I was born with clubfoot; I was basically born with my legs twisted round and backwards. My hips were in and my leg bones were twisted and my feet were backwards.
‘I had around 20 correction operations before the age of eight, so that was pretty heavy and hardcore. If I’m on my feet all day doing whatever I’ll want to sit down in the evening but I’m pretty sure that’s the same for everyone, obviously I can’t compare it.
‘People will probably notice in the villa I have slightly short Achilles tendons on my heel so I walk slightly on my tip toes, I look at it as natural swagger – some people look at it as a slightly different walk. Not too many people notice when I’m in shoes; it’s usually when I don’t have shoes on.
‘Day to day life it doesn’t really affect me too much – I’m very lucky. I wouldn’t change it for the world because it’s part of who I am and I’ve had some great experiences.’
‘My feet were backwards’: The P.E. teacher told MailOnline viewers will notice he walks on his tip toes, which is more noticeable when his barefoot, after being born with his ‘legs twisted’
For any cynics that believe Hugo was only picked for Love Island because of his disability and to comply with ITV’s ‘diversity drive’ this series, the cricketer affirmed he’s part of the lineup after winning over the casting team with his character.
He said: ‘I am a person with a disability, I’m not a disabled person, so, I’m on this show because they liked my personality and they liked what I could bring to the villa, so I definitely don’t want it to define me.
‘But I am also aware of the platform it brings and if I can have a positive impact on other people with disabilities or young people with disabilities looking to make it mainstream then that would be absolutely fantastic. Hopefully, I can bare the torch well for everyone.’
Hugo has no plans to return to teaching after this summer and predicts his pupils will be ‘shocked’ by his appearance in the TV villa.
‘It was pretty heavy and hardcore’: Hugo revealed he had ’20 correction operations before the age of eight’ but ‘wouldn’t change it for the world because it’s part of who I am’
He said: ‘I’ve thought about this and obviously the show starts at 9pm so a lot of my younger ones probably won’t be watching it and then my older ones finished at half term with their GCSEs, BTECs and A-levels and I haven’t seen them for a month or so, but I imagine they will be very shocked seeing their PE teacher on TV in the evenings.
‘I don’t have a school lined up for after the summer so I’m not too sure what’s going to happen and what this opportunity is going to bring for me so I will have to wait and see.’
This week MailOnline revealed a video of Hugo from his university days where he branded himself ‘a massive sha***r’ – an admission he failed to deny when asked about his sexual conquests.
He said: ‘I would definitely say I’m a relationship kind of guy, but I have definitely had some chaos and fun in between. Good chaos! Saying yes to everything I can, do you want to go on a night out? Yeah, why not – being up for a laugh and enjoying experiencing being young.
‘My longest relationship has been just over two years I’ve had a couple of other ones. I was at university, and I was going out quite a lot and I had a lot of fun in between so I’ve experienced both sides of it.’
Love Island starts at 9pm Monday 28th June on ITV2 and ITV Hub. Episodes are available the following morning on BritBox
‘I have had some chaos’: This week MailOnline revealed a video of Hugo from his university days where he branded himself ‘a massive sha***r’ – an admission he failed to deny when asked about his sexual conquests
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