‘Her name’s not Ekin-Su!’: Love Island winner’s days working behind bar as ‘shot girl’ in Preston nightclub

Ekin-Su worked behind the bar at Ships and Giggles while studying acting at UCLAN

The Love Island final aired last night and the dramatic villa finale saw Ekin-Su Culculoglu and partner Davide Sanclimenti crowned winners.

Davide and Ekin, both 27, arrived separately as bombshells and quickly coupled up. And the pair packed all the drama into series eight of the ITV dating series.

When Ekin-Su crawled over the terrace to share a kiss with contestant Jay Younger, Davide branded her a “liar” and “actress” with the relationship over in his eyes. But in a hate-to-love plot line that viewers adored watching, the pair saw themselves re-couple and walk all their way to the final.

Ekin-Su now describes Davide as her soulmate and viewers have hailed the former UCLan student as the “mother of Love Island”.

As viewers across the UK celebrated Ekin-Su and Davide’s win, Ekin’s years spent in Preston city centre have been shared with her former boss and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Ekin-Su lived in Preston while studying her BA (Hons) in Acting before graduating in 2015. During that time, she was known as Susie Hayzel.

Ekin, or Susie, was known to regularly attend student club nights in Fishergate. She also worked at Ships and Giggles, on Fylde Road, as a shot girl and assisting with celebrity appearances.

hips and Giggles opened in 2012, its Owner, Andy MacDonald, told LancsLive: “I’m not a Love Island fan at all but I keep getting these messages and phone calls saying about this Ekin-Su. They say Ekin-Su used to work for you and I say, I have never had anybody called Ekin-Su work for me, ever.

“After a while I thought, what is going on? Looked on Facebook and I go ‘for goodness sake, it’s Susie Hayzel! Her name’s not Ekin-Su, it’s Susie b****y Hayzel.

“I realised she was doing really really well and I feel proper proud of her,” Andy added.

Ekin worked as a shot girl at Ships and Giggles around the years 2014 and 2015. Andy continued: “She was brilliant when she used to work for me. She was just really down to earth, she spoke whatever was on her mind, I remember her saying she won Miss Ireland and I said ‘you don’t have an Irish accent’.

“She said ‘yeah, I won Miss Ireland’ and I said, ‘but that’s overseas’ and she said ‘Ireland is part of the UK, isn’t it?’

“I said, Susie, that’s not part of the UK. Ireland is its own country. She said she never knew that!”

While at university, Ekin-Su took part in a student documentary named Lancashore. The budget doc took inspiration from hit reality series Geordie Shore and followed the lives of various male and female students in Preston.

Andy continued: “She was on a silly university production thing called Lancashore. I remember I watched it on Facebook and everyone on it said about going to Ships and Giggles and going to MACS which was my other nightclub.

“She worked for me and she goes, ‘oh no we always go there, let’s go somewhere different for a change’. I remember I went absolutely mad at her, what are you doing not coming to the place your working!? She said I’m really sorry I was told to say that! No you weren’t, you said that!”

She promised Andy she didn’t mean to skip him the easy promotion and he told her ‘not to do it again’. He added: “She was always up for a laugh and I always used her when we had celebrity appearances or whatever, she was always one of my main YBD girls, one of my main Ships and Giggles girls.

“She’d come down with the other girls and they’d host the event, welcome the artist, she was always, always, really sound. Always was.”

Ekin attended UCLan until 2015. A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) spokesperson said: “We’re delighted for our 2015 BA (Hons) Acting graduate Ekin-su Cülcüloglu after being crowned the winner of ITV’s Love Island.”

By

Rebecca LockwoodTrainee reporter
  • 17:29, 2 AUG 2022

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