THE last time we caught up with Dinnington-born stage star Savanna Darnell she had just left ITV’s Love Island villa and decided to shave off her “over-processed and damaged” hair.
Dancer Savanna was also at a crossroads in her career after her short stint on the reality TV dating programme, which she described as a “weird experience”.
But now the 24-year-old is back doing what she loves best — performing on stage every night — and currently on a European tour with Tina Turner musical tribute, One Night of Tina.
When she’s not singing and dancing, Savanna has also carved out a career as an online social media influencer, with nearly 100,000 Instagram fans and 23,000 YouTube subscribers.
Her YouTube video, ‘The truth about Love Island..a year later’, has notched up more than 1.1 million views and Savanna, daughter of 80s singer Kid Creole, has also turned the camera on her family, Kardashian-style.
How was life post-head shave?
It took me a while to get used to my new look. My friends and my family absolutely loved it — on the other hand, I didn’t feel sexy. I felt very boyish — I wasn’t really getting any attention from the boy department, ha!
That did get me down. It started to grow and I had to go through very awkward growing stages, which made me feel a bit rubbish. But I am so glad I did it.
Are you happy with your hair now?
SO Happy! It’s grown back better than ever, in better condition and my curls are gorgeous, haha! It’s thicker, healthier and I love it.
I really like the length at the moment as well. So I had to go through the hard moments for my great hair.
You achieved your goal of getting a verified blue Instagram tick, so how is life as an influencer? What does it involve and is it a lot of pressure to entertain your followers?
I feel a lot of pressure at the moment ,especially when I’m on tour and my life is so busy. I have no time to make content for my Instagram or edit my YouTube videos.
I’ve been very overwhelmed with the job I’m on at the moment so I’ve let my YouTube and Instagram slip a lot and I’ve lost a lot of followers and subscribers. It’s very important to be consistent with your work and when I’m busy I find that very hard. But I’m trying to balance my life as much as I can without it affecting my mental state.
How do you feel about the recent move by Instagram to do away with showing how many ‘likes’ a post has had? Would this negatively affect your work as an influencer?
It might negatively affect some of the bigger influencers…but I kinda like it. There’s less pressure and that’s great for me :)
What do you hope your followers will take from your videos and posts? What message do you want to project and do you ever take a break from social media?
I love being myself, I love posting silly videos on my Instagram showing that I’m completely not scared to be myself. I feel like people like to put on a front on social media to show that their life is completely perfect, that they are perfect, that they have no flaws. When really I’d rather show that I’m human and I like to have fun.
I show people what I’m doing with my life. If I’m touring, filming a TV commercial, doing a photoshoot — I like to show the behind the scenes of everything that I’m doing in my life.
I do like to take breaks, I find them very therapeutic and it makes me realise how much time I do spend on social media.
Post-Love Island, was it difficult deciding what to do next? What did you hope to get from the show?
I found it very hard to choose which lane to go down but I ended up back in the entertainment world, which is where I belong. I tried the whole YouTubing thing and didn’t do dancing and singing any more and felt very down — so now I do YouTube on the side as well as dancing and singing.
What other positives have happened in your work/personal life over the past year? Are you still looking for love?!
It opened the doors to YouTubing, I don’t think I would’ve started YouTubing if I didn’t go on Love Island — so that is definitely a positive.
I started influencing and I started earning money through Instagram, which I found crazy.
My personal life just got a little busier, I started to get invited to events, meeting celebrities, walking red carpets, getting noticed in the street was crazy for me and people asking me for pictures.
As for my love life, I do have a boyfriend now and I’m very happy.
You’ve gone back into touring as a dancer. Is that your main passion? And is it easier to get work now since being on Love Island and building a big online following?
Being a dancer/singer and actress is where my love is at. My biggest passion is performing so I knew it would always come back into my life.
People do book me for jobs because of my following, which I find crazy, but it does definitely help in some situations.
How is the tour going and is it similar to the Michael Jackson Thriller Live show you performed in?
Tour is Crazy. It’s very hectic, very tiring but amazing. I’m making amazing memories, visiting great places and learning a lot.
It’s my first singing contract, which is a massive thing for me. So it’s been very challenging and pushed me to my limits but I’m having the best time.
We live on a tour bus so that is a very different experience from staying in our own hotel rooms every night, which we did on Thriller.
Have your mum and dad been to watch the show?
No, they haven’t come to watch. It’s very hard as we do one-nighters which means we perform in a place one night then we get onto the tour bus that night and move to the next city.
How are the plans going for the Darnell family TV show?!
Still on the horizon. Keep your eyes peeled!
Do you still have a lot of friends in Dinnington and do people recognise you when you’re home? What do you miss about home when you’re on tour?
I don’t really talk to anyone anymore from home. We grew apart and went our separate ways.
Obviously I do bump into some of them when I go to Tesco and we can still have a little chat, which is nice.
But I really miss my bedroom, the “home” feeling, my mum looking after me and just being able to hop into my car and go somewhere — that’s what I really miss, haha!
What’s to come in 2020? Any New Year’s resolutions?
I want 2020 to be full of blessings, great opportunities and happiness.
I really want to focus on my music, release some great songs and take my music and my artistry to the next level.
I’m also looking to start a new YouTubing channel with my boyfriend, so keep your eyes open for that. The Darnells should have more content coming out in 2020 and I want to, hopefully, do more TV work in the new year — so lets see what happens.
One Night of Tina will tour worldwide next year. For more information visit http://tal-ents.com/acts/one-night-of-tina/.