Heartbreak Island Maiata’s revenge: ‘don’t mess with me’

It might take two to tango, but this Kiwi dancer knows how to shake things up all on her own

She may be young, however, Maiata Boxer is no fool – this is something her competitors on new reality show Heartbreak Island have had to learn the hard way.

Wise beyond her 20 years, the South Auckland professional dancer reveals to Woman’s Day that during her toughest times on the island, she had two superpowers to draw on – resilience, much of it gleaned from tumultuous previous relationships, and her youth, which saw her continually underestimated by the older contestants.

Hosted by Clint Randell, the third season of original Kiwi reality series Heartbreak Island shakes things up by featuring a

mix of local and international contestants all competing for the chance to win $100,000.

A cross between Survivor and Love Island, it sees 16 attractive, charismatic singles matched up in Fiji to face a series of demanding physical challenges, as well as the critical task of keeping their romance alive.

Maiata – who is of Māori and Cook Island descent – reveals that things with her partner on the show, English postman Kieran Hickey, 24, got off to a rocky start when he was open about picking her solely because of her curvaceous figure.

“I was surprised he chose me,” she says. “One of my biggest turn-offs is when guys talk about my body. It makes me think, ‘OK, you’re there for one thing.’ I got the ick real quick! After that, it was just drama after drama after drama.”

She got the icks with Kieran.

During these intense periods, Maiata reveals it helped to remember why she chose to go on the show in the first place – to represent the majority of Kiwi women who don’t fit into the typical dating-show stereotype.

“One of the reasons I wanted to do this was to portray and normalise all female body types,” the influencer explains, revealing that a family member told her she wouldn’t be accepted on Heartbreak because of her cellulite.

“I was shocked, but it just made me want to do it even more – to show you don’t have to look a certain way to be on TV. I want to inspire people to be body confident and to love themselves no matter what they look like.”

If the remarks hurt her, Maiata doesn’t show it. Brimming with confidence as she chats to Woman’s Day, she now shrugs off the rude remarks.

“That’s family, I guess!” she laughs. “If you can’t love yourself, you can’t love anybody else!”

Having learnt Cook Island dancing since she was three years old, Maiata says the practice is the secret behind her sky-high confidence. However, just over a year ago, her self-esteem came crashing down when she found out her long-term boyfriend had been cheating on her with tourists while in Rarotonga.

Behind Maiata’s grace is steely determination.

Maiata was crushed, however, she dusted herself off and plotted her revenge, which took the form of a well-known influencer.

“I won’t name names, but I did hook up with someone famous,” she smirks.

It was this failed relationship that enabled her to get through the toughest times on Heartbreak Island.

“I’m grateful for what I went through with my past,” Maiata says, putting a positive spin on a dark period.

“I feel like I learned a lot from a young age, so that definitely helped when people started being sneaky on the show. If I didn’t go through all that, then I probably would have been a real duh-brain on the show!”

As viewers will learn, Maiata is anything but silly, scheming and plotting with the best of them, and turning her youth into an advantage.

She explains, “Being the youngest makes it hard to get along with people because it feels like everyone is thinking, ‘Oh, she’s way younger than us.’ But it’s one of the reasons I stand up for myself so much on the island.”

There was no love lost between Maiata and her “sneaky” competitors.

While the competition does get fierce, Maiata insists the older women never rattled her, despite their best efforts – and she kept her eyes firmly on the prize.

“I wasn’t going to let any old bags get emotions out of me and ruin my game!”

Heartbreak Island is now streaming on ThreeNow.

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