Heartbreak Island’s Kristian, Kelsey and Weiting confess all

Turns out the island’s high-fliers didn’t start off so confident.

Kristian Barbarich

It’s hard to believe it now, but tall, dark and handsome Heartbreak Island contestant Kristian Barbarich was once bullied for his looks.

“I was the fattest, most insecure kid growing up,” says the 25-year-old Aucklander, who weighed 100kg at age 15.

“My boarding school’s dining hall being lined with breads and desserts didn’t make things easier!”

Rowing helped Kristian drop some of the puppy fat, but the entrepreneur says, “I was still overweight and a coach said I wouldn’t make the top crew if I didn’t slim down.”

It was the push he needed. Within three months, he’d lost 24kg and ended up earning a scholarship to row in Canada, where he became a champion and was even offered a place at the prestigious Harvard University.

However, fear took over.

Kristian confesses, “I had a full freak-out because I didn’t have the self-belief I do now, so I turned it down. I went to Auckland University instead and the regret is pretty heavy.”

Now he’s determined not to let any opportunity pass him by. That includes the chance to win hearts on the TVNZ 2 reality series – no matter whose toes he has to step on.

Kristian smiles, “I was completely infatuated with this girl on the island at one point and a love triangle comes up. I knew that if I didn’t make a move and go for what I wanted, I’d regret it again.”

Weiting Shyu

When it comes to dating, professional harpist Weiting Shyu is the most experienced member of the Heartbreak Island cast, going on about 50 last year alone!

And while the Auckland hottie says she dodged quite a few frogs, she also shared the occasional kiss and, even better for the passionate foodie, got to try lots of new restaurants.

“I often eat more than my date!” Weiting laughs.

The 22-year-old’s favourite date involved a supermarket. She recalls, “We spent ages picking out ice cream, then sat in his car, listening to music, talking and eating the whole tub.”

It may sound like simple fun, but Weiting has been told by a hypnotherapist that her standards are too high. “She said I’m not giving people a chance,” the musician admits. “I had this idea that if I met the right person, I’d just know, which comes from reading too many books!”

Regardless, she knew exactly what she wanted in a partner heading to the island. She says, “I won’t go on a second date if I don’t vibe with them or if they’re a bad kisser. I went on a third date with one guy and it was good until he kissed me – it was a five out of 10.

“The most important thing is that they can put up with my weird quirkiness and be silly with me.

“If you can find someone who makes you laugh every day, you’ve hit the jackpot.”

Kelsey Odell

If it wasn’t for glamorous beauty pageants, flight attendant and fitness model Kelsey Odell would’ve never stepped into the Heartbreak Island love fest!

“I was extremely shy back in my school days, but my pageant experience brought me out of my shell,” explains the pretty blonde Wellingtonian, 24, whose first experience in the limelight was competing in the Miss Hutt Valley pageant in 2012.

“When I was 17, my eyelash lady said I should enter and Mum convinced me because she thought it’d help with my confidence. I ended up coming second. You’ve got to start somewhere!”

Kelsey has applied to compete in Miss Universe New Zealand twice and, in 2013, was selected as one of 20 girls to travel to Thailand for a finalists’ retreat, where she placed in the top 10.

The bubbly globetrotter tells, “We did lots of cultural stuff like visiting temples. It was my first big trip other than Australia – where I go every day now for my job!”

Along with sparking her travel bug, pageants helped to build Kelsey’s public speaking and modelling skills. Although she’s “been there, done that now”, she recommends the glitzy experience to other young women.

“It helps a lot with confidence, which I needed for Heartbreak Island. I would’ve never thought I’d be part of a TV show – and if you knew me when I was younger, you wouldn’t have either!”

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