Gemma Owen says she wants to be a ‘positive role model’ for her fans after signing deal with PLT


Her father is a former England footballer.

But Gemma Owen is on a mission to be ‘relatable’ and a ‘positive role model’ for her fans.  

The Love Island finalist, 19, made her admission as she modelled designer clothing for a new shoot with Tatler at her Grade II listed family home, Lower Soughton Hall, in north Wales.

'I wanted to be relatable': Gemma Owen is on a mission to be ‘relatable’ and a 'positive role model' for her fans

‘I wanted to be relatable’: Gemma Owen is on a mission to be ‘relatable’ and a ‘positive role model’ for her fans

Gemma, whose father is Michael Owen, posed with her horse Sirius Black III, wearing Dolce & Gabbana and Giambattista Valli among others for the society bible.

Gemma, who is the eldest of four children, followed in her father’s sporting footsteps as an international dressage rider and continues it after finding fame on the ITV2 dating show. 

It comes months after she signed a reported six-figure deal with clothing brand Pretty Little Thing.

Gemma said she was ‘incredibly lucky’ to work with the fast fashion label, and said she chose to work with the brand as she wants to be ‘relatable’.

Chip off the old block: Gemma, who is the eldest of four children, followed in her father's sporting footsteps as an international dressage rider and continues it after finding fame on the ITV2 dating show

Chip off the old block: Gemma, who is the eldest of four children, followed in her father’s sporting footsteps as an international dressage rider and continues it after finding fame on the ITV2 dating show

Speaking to Tatler, she said: ‘I’m incredibly lucky. People seem surprised to see me with that brand. It’s a different demographic of followers than I had before.

Interview: The Love Island finalist, 19, made her admission as she modelled designer clothing for a new shoot with Tatler at her Grade II listed family home, Lower Soughton Hall, in north Wales

Interview: The Love Island finalist, 19, made her admission as she modelled designer clothing for a new shoot with Tatler at her Grade II listed family home, Lower Soughton Hall, in north Wales

‘But coming off a show like Love Island… I wanted to be relatable. A positive role model. With PLT working towards being more sustainable and with its new Marketplace, I just thought it was a really good brand.’

Gemma said she had ‘full confidence’ in Umar, the son of Mahmud Kamani, the owner and co-founder of Boohoo Group PLC which owns Pretty Little Thing.

The Group faced allegations of modern slavery after a Sunday Times investigation in 2020 found workers in Leicester making clothes for Boohoo were being paid as little as £3.50 an hour.

‘People are going to have opinions no matter what,’ Gemma said of her signing.

‘And I think you’ve just got to take it all with a pinch of salt. It’s your career at the end of the day, so do what makes you happy.’

Gemma, who reached this year’s Love Island final with her boyfriend Luca Bish, is used to harsh opinions having faced accusations that her famous father is the only reason she made it into dressage.

She said: ‘There were a lot of classic not-very-nice comments, bringing Dad into it.’

‘You know, “Oh, Daddy got you a nice horse, so that’s why you’re here.” I really had to prove myself as a rider. I focused on competing and doing well.’

Success: It comes months after she signed a reported six-figure deal with clothing brand Pretty Little Thing

Success: It comes months after she signed a reported six-figure deal with clothing brand Pretty Little Thing

Before going on Love Island, Gemma hit back at claims her famous father bankrolled her bikini business.

She began her swimwear brand, OG Beachwear, in 2020 during the height of the global pandemic, and it has nearly 69.2k followers on its Instagram account. 

She received mostly positive feedback, however some trolls claimed Gemma is just ‘another rich footballer’s kid living off their daddy’s money’ – an accusation she vehemently denies.

Family: The 19-year-old dressage rider, who is daughter to England football pro Michael Owen and his wife Louise Bonsall, admitted she felt she had to 'prove' herself (pictured in 2005)

Family: The 19-year-old dressage rider, who is daughter to England football pro Michael Owen and his wife Louise Bonsall, admitted she felt she had to ‘prove’ herself (pictured in 2005) 

Speaking to MailOnline, Gemma said: ‘I get negative comments and nasty messages a lot. 

‘In my dressage, if I’m doing well, I get comments like “you’re only doing well because daddy bought you an expensive horse” and then with me trying to set up my own business I get “you’re using daddy’s money.”

‘It’s constant but I want to make it clear to people that with the business side of things it hasn’t been an open wallet.

‘I got given some money for my birthday and that was my budget. I quickly ran out of that and there are so many more things that I want to do with the brand but I am going to have to wait now until the money comes back in.

Famous father: Gemma, who is the eldest of four children, followed in her father's sporting footsteps as an international dressage rider and continues it after finding fame on the ITV2 dating show

Famous father: Gemma, who is the eldest of four children, followed in her father’s sporting footsteps as an international dressage rider and continues it after finding fame on the ITV2 dating show

‘I am extremely lucky but I would say my dad has actually been… not tight, but he’s been quite tough. He said this is your budget and I’m not funding this.’

Gemma didn’t mention mention her boyfriend Luca in the Tatler interview after co-star Paige Thorne made suggestions that one of the show’s remaining couples is a ‘showmance’.

Earlier this week, paramedic Paige, 24, revealed that not all those who appear to still be together since leaving the Majorcan villa are as they seem, suggesting that some may be keeping things afloat for the cameras.

But an inside source has hit back against the possibility of it being 19-year-old Gemma and her fishmonger boyfriend Luca, 23, describing the pair as going from strength to strength.

Couple: Gemma didn't mention mention her boyfriend Luca in the Tatler interview after co-star Paige Thorne made suggestions that one of the show's remaining couples is a 'showmance'

Couple: Gemma didn’t mention mention her boyfriend Luca in the Tatler interview after co-star Paige Thorne made suggestions that one of the show’s remaining couples is a ‘showmance’

In response to the question, ‘Who is the fakest couple to come out of Love Island this year?’, Paige says on the Saving Grace podcast: ‘All I’m gonna say on this is, wait how many couples are left now? Three?

‘Really, there’s only two. But that’s a secret I’ll never tell.’

Speculation then rose on who was the ‘fake’ couple still performing their relationship to Love Island fans three months after leaving the villa.

But an insider has insisted this does not concern the likes of Gemma and Luca. 

Speaking to The Mirror, a source close to the couple said: ‘There is lots of talk and rumours about a showmance amongst this year’s contestants but it certainly isn’t Luca and Gemma that everyone is talking about.

‘Luca and Gemma are closer than ever, they don’t feel the need to ham it up on social media every day.

‘Both have lots going on but they’re staying together most nights and when they do have to be apart, they are constantly on the phone with each other.’

The December issue of Tatler is available on newsstands and via digital download from Thursday 27th

Spilling the tea: In response to the question, 'Who is the fakest couple to come out of Love Island this year?', Paige says on the Saving Grace podcast there's 'only two' couple's left

Spilling the tea: In response to the question, ‘Who is the fakest couple to come out of Love Island this year?’, Paige says on the Saving Grace podcast there’s ‘only two’ couple’s left



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