BY MARCY SHORTUSE – When 24-year-old Elizabeth Weber was contacted through Instagram by someone who claimed to be working for CBS on a new television show idea, she was not sold on the idea. However, a leap of faith has brought her out on the other side of an amazing journey she wouldn’t take back for the world.
Elizabeth is originally from the metro Detroit area, but she grew up coming to Boca Grande to visit her grandparents, Mary Ellen and Richard Weber. She has fond memories of stays at Turtleback, going to South Beach for dinner, the Pink Pony for ice cream and church on Easter Sunday.
“One of my favorite memories was going to see Ziggy the Piggy at Whidden’s,” she said. “We loved to bike around the island and go crab hunting on the beach at night.”
Elizabeth had moved from Detroit to New York when she received the Instagram message. She was working in advertising and modeling at the time, so she made it clear to the CBS employee that she was very hesitant to leave her job for such a risky endeavor. “I flew out to Los Angeles and met everyone who would be working on the show, which was called ‘Love Island,’ and they were very nice,” she said. “They assured me I was a good fit, and I finally decided, why not? It’s an adventure!”
The first “Love Island” aired in the U.K. and was a huge hit. They brought it to the U.S. in the summer of 2019. In all, 25 cast members rotated in and out of the series, and matchmaking began as the single males and females came together at an island villa in Fiji.
Every few days the islanders paired up, and those who didn’t have a match were at risk of being taken off the island. As some cast members rotated out, others rotated in. Throughout the show the cast members went through different challenges to become closer with each other, including one called the “baby bird food” challenge that involved the passing of food from one cast member to the other through a very unique method.
At the end of the series, television viewers voted on which was the best couple. As luck would have it, that couple was Elizabeth and her match, Zac Mirabelli of Chicago.
“We stuck with each other throughout the entire show,” she explained, “and we made it all the way to the end. Eventually we were voted by America as the top couple, and I won $100,000 which I split with him.”
Elizabeth said they are still “sort of” dating, and they definitely seem to be good friends. She said she is hoping to convince him to come to Boca Grande with her at some point, so he can see the place she is always talking about.
When asked what was the worst part of spending 54 days on an island with no phones or television, her answer was surprising.
“Honestly, there was no worst part,” she said. “I thought I would have major anxiety about not having my phone, and during the two weeks before the show started we had to go into lockdown to get used to not having them, or talking to our family and friends. By the end of the show all of us were surprised to find out we really didn’t want our phones back.”
Elizabeth said she will be moving to Los Angeles this week to pursue a new career, and she hopes to continue with her social media and modeling. She is still doing some freelance advertising work as well.
In the meantime, you might be seeing Elizabeth on your screen, if things work out.