Welcome back, “Love Island USA” fans old and new.
It has been a few weeks since the season 4 finale, so let’s refresh your memory (or just give you the lowdown of what happened in case you didn’t watch this season):
- Cincinnati native Jeff Christian Jr., 25, stayed in the “Love Island USA” villa this summer. After several weeks on the show, Christian decided to call it quits during episode 35, voluntarily leaving with Nadjha Day, a 22-year-old college student from Barranquilla, Colombia.
- Their departure occurred only two days prior to the season finale on Aug. 28.
- Christian and Day had been developing a romantic connection since episode 14. They were a fan-favorite couple until an argument between Christian and Timmy Pandolfi, a 29-year-old personal trainer and real estate agent from New York City, led to the couple’s breakup and departure.
- Due to their premature exit, the couple was not eligible to compete in the season finale, forfeiting the opportunity to win the coveted $100,000 prize.
Caught up? Good.
The reviews are in:Here’s what Chrissy Teigen thinks of Skyline Chili
Todd Packer in Cincy?‘The Office’ and ‘Goldbergs’ star David Koechner coming next week
The Enquirer chatted with Christian nearly three weeks after the season ended to discuss his notorious exit, his time on the reality TV series, his future plans and his love for his hometown.
Here are a few highlights that stood out from the Q&A. These excerpts have been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Can you start by telling me a bit more about yourself?
A: I’m a Cincinnati native. I went to Colerain High School. I went to Ohio University, Southern Oregon University. I’m an entrepreneur, I played football and I was on “Love Island USA” season 4.
Q: What made you want to go on ‘Love Island USA’?
A: I never did reality TV and things like that. I watched it before and I seen a girl from my city, her name Ellie, and I was like, ‘that seemed like a cool show’ or whatever. So, me and my best friend, we literally was like, ‘we should do this. We should sign up.’ She actually, not forced me, but encouraged me to do it.
I really enjoyed the process, just knowing I can really do this TV stuff right now. I’m just thankful for the whole journey I was on.
Q: Be honest, did you go on the show for love, money or fame?
A: I went on the show to find love for real. I really wanted to come out of there a different person and change who I am and stuff like that. And I know it’s gonna be some fine honeys on there. So I was like, ‘this might be my chance.’ Because they’re not gonna put nobody on there that’s probably not my type.
I feel like, being in the villa, nobody really was thinking about the money aspect at all. Nobody brought it up once. We talked a lot, even off camera, we talked a lot. It wasn’t nobody saying like, ‘you know what I can do with this 50K?’
The fame? We already know that stuff was gonna come with it. I really wasn’t trying to do it for the fame. It was cool to be on TV, have my name out there and everything, but I really was trying to find somebody.
Q: Do you think you found love?
A: I did. I really do care about Nadjha, and I really do love her. It’s just situations right now, we in two different spots, but I still do love her and care for her.
I’m very vulnerable now and not afraid to share and express my feelings. I really do love her, and I do want the world to know that, so she can know that, and know that it’s real.
Q: Are Jeff and Nadjha still together?
A: Me and Nadjha, we are not dating right now. I think we do have a lot of potential to be a couple, but I feel like we had some growing to do. It’ll come around, you just don’t wanna force nothing at the end of the day.
I do love the girl. I have so much care for her. I really do. I’m really not trying to be a playboy no more. I’m done with all that. I would really give her the world if it ever came down to that. But we’ll see the future one day.
Q: What is life really like in the villa?
A: Life in the villa, man, it was just chill. We eat all the time. I was sleeping all the time. Just having conversations, just talking about life and just talking about feelings 24/7, it was crazy. I never did something like that.
I love my phone. I can’t put my phone down at all. Being without my phone was crazy. It just felt weird without my phone. And then having the phones in the villa, it was just useless to have them. Everybody had the same phone, it was programmed not to do anything but take pictures and get texts.
Y’all gotta understand us being in a villa for many weeks like that, getting told what to do, just being on camera and everything like that. A lot of times, we wanted to sleep stuff off just ’cause we was irritated and a lot of emotions running. It was just a lot being in there.
We was in there smoking vape, and most of us don’t even smoke. We had to feel something. It was just hectic. It really was a lot. That’s why we had to take psychology tests and stuff to really make sure our mental was good. I didn’t know it was gonna be like that.
Q: Was it your decision to leave the villa early?
A: I was ready to leave that villa like two weeks before that. I was ready to leave that night. I really was. We was just fed up. She was ready to leave, too, but it was some things on the side and they wouldn’t let us. I ain’t really say too much at the end, too. I let her say what she had to say. She wanted to look like the victim or whatever. It’s cool. We know the real, honestly, so it’s all good.
Q: What has life been like since exiting the villa?
A: It is crazy, ’cause I was loved on the show. You know that little episode happened and people have their different opinions, but I still think it’s love at the end of the day. It’s still the same love. I’m just gonna keep being me, though. That’s all I know how to do. And everybody on that cast love me, obviously.
Just going places, you know, they taking pictures and stuff now. It’s definitely weird for sure.
Q: Would you like to address the allegations made by fellow cast member Tigerlily Cooley?
A: I ain’t even worried ’bout that. That’s clout. I’m cool.
Q: What’s next for Jeff Christian Jr.?
A: I’m moving to LA for good. I want to get into a lot of things. I want to get into runway modeling. I might become a musical artist. Y’all know I can sing. I know I could blow up in that. So yeah, I might be doing that. I might be doing a lot of things. I’m really going to take this platform that I got now and really take it up to par. I’m not saying I’m doing stuff for clout. I just wanna put myself in a better position in my life, if that makes sense.
Q: How do you feel about your hometown?
A: Being from Cincinnati, I was raised in Avondale, Blue Ash to be exact. I went to a lot of schools. I went to Sycamore Junior High. I went to Colerain High School, that’s where I graduated from.
I love Cincinnati. It’s a great city. It’s on the come-up. It’s good to come back and see it when I’m gone for a minute. I love Cincinnati. It’s always gonna be in my heart.
I’m a Bengals fan, too. I love the Bengals. I’ve been a Bengals fan since (Chad) Ochocinco. Bengals had their down time and stuff like that. But at the same time, I’m glad they back on track. Joey Burrow doing this thing, (Ja’Marr) Chase doing his thing, too. It’s really good that they put on for the city.
Q: Did you come straight to Cincinnati after leaving the show? If so, what was your first stop?
A: Yeah I did, actually. I came straight to Cincinnati, seen my people. I went to Alabama Fish (Bar) and Saks Fifth. That’s where I went soon as I got back to the ‘Nati.
I like Skyline, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not the first place I’m going. If anything, I’m getting LaRosa’s first or Alabama Fish, that’s the best food in Cincinnati ever.