She’s in South Africa for the first time as she prepares to fulfil a new hosting role on forthcoming reality show Survival of the Fittest.
But Laura Whitmore admits her three week stay on the sweltering savannah, where 12 contestants will face off in a fiercely competitive battle of the sexes, means she will miss her first Valentine’s Day with boyfriend Iain Sterling.
‘I think he wanted to come out because he had four days off – he’s on a stand-up comedy tour – and now it looks like he’s only got two days,’ the Irish presenter, 32, told MailOnline.
Laura has a enjoyed a low key romance with Scottish comedian Iain – best known for his voice over work on ITV2 hit Love Island.
But contrary to rumour, she insists they were not introduced by Caroline Flack, with whom Iain works on the Majorca based dating show.
‘I think the first time I met him was at the Children’s BAFTAs,’ she said. ‘I was presenting an award and he won an award, so I met him there. I don’t know if we were in other relationships but I was just friendly with him. That was before the last series of Love Island.
‘So we were just mates, and we were friendly for a while before it developed into something more, but we didn’t tell anyone for ages. Again, you don’t really know until you decide and you don’t want everyone knowing your business so we decided to keep it quiet as much as possible.’
But the flourishing relationship was initially hindered by work commitments, with Laura engaged in a six month theatrical tour with Peter James play Not Dead Enough and Iain filming Love Island in Majorca.
‘it’s quite hard when you’re back and forth and you try and see each other as much as you can,’ she said. ‘It was slowly, it wasn’t a rush. it was a slowly developing thing. We kept it very quiet.’After weeks of speculation the couple finally confirmed their relationship via social media, and with hindsight Laura admits the decision ultimately worked in her favour.
‘I think with me and Iain we kept it quiet for as long as we could, then one day we both decided let’s do one Instagram thing and it’s out there,’ she said. ‘But I realised that once it’s out there people don’t care as much.’
The presenter is now focused on her new role with Survival of the Fittest, a gruelling endurance-based reality show with a romantic twist that enables rival contestants to date one another, thus testing their loyalty to their teammates.But while the dramatic overseas location, coupled with the promise of romance draws obvious comparisons with Love Island, Laura insists the forthcoming show has some major differences.
‘I suppose there’s always a reason to compare it, but the difference is this isn’t a dating show,’ she said. ‘If you’re not a couple, you don’t get sent home. Its boys versus girls and I think you can see similarities in a lot of shows with that – even on Love Island there was something like that with Chris and Kem and their bromance.
‘There’s other things that weren’t explored before so with this show we can explore the brotherhood, the sisterhood. If I fancy someone on the other team, is that going to affect my tactics, and I think that’s the really interesting aspect of the show.’