A Springfield native and his now-girlfriend placed third on this season of “Love Island USA.”
Jesse Bray, 27, was one of the 10 initial people on the dating competition show, which aired on Peacock. The 35-episode season ran from July 19 to Aug. 28, and had a total of 34 islanders throughout the show.
“I’m blessed to be on the show and share the experience with fellow islanders. Everyone was so dope as a person. It’s crazy to be there,” Bray told the News-Sun.
“Love Island USA,” from ITV Entertainment, is a reality show were people in a villa couple up and compete in challenges. Throughout the season, the islanders must decide if they want to remain with their current partner or recouple with someone new, according to Peacock. The islanders are voted on by viewers to determine who gets to stay or leave the villa, and the winning couple receives $100,000.
Bray was born and raised is Springfield, but currently lives in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Wayne High School in 2013, and went to Urbana University before moving to Texas in 2020 after the college closed and COVID-19 hit.
Bray said a producer reached out to him last year on Instagram for a different show in Austin, TX, but he turned it down. The same producer then asked him to be on Love Island, even though he had never heard of the show before. He said the timing felt right, so he agreed to go on the show and “take the risk.”
Starting the process to be on the show in January, Bray had to do several Zoom interviews and psychological testing before getting the call on June 16 that he was chosen to be on the show. On June 19, Bray was flown out to Santa Barbara, California, where he had to quarantine before going into the villa. He couldn’t have any phone or contact with the outside world, which he said was hard to adapt not talking to his family every day.
“Being on the show for me, it was definitely a new experience. It was definitely a challenge,” he said. “I had to be used to being microphoned up and living with roommates and being on camera. That was an adjustment.”
Bray won third place with his now-girlfriend Deb Chubb, 26, whose hometown is Dallas, Texas, but she currently lives in Redondo Beach, California. The two are still together and have plans for the future.
“I’m so blessed I was able to meet Deb. When I first walked into the villa and saw her, I had a thing for blondes and I was physically attracted to her, but we connected on a spiritual level and share the same beliefs and morals. I found out she is so much like me, she’s my person,” he said.
Along with leaving the villa with a new girlfriend, Bray also left with new friends, saying he’s blessed to have been chosen for this opportunity.
As for their future, Bray said he believes he and Chubb have a “bright, long” future together since they know each other so well, communicate well together, and went at their own pace and took the time getting to know each other while in the villa.
“To last from day one to day 40, it felt great. When you accomplish something that lasted that long, I don’t think we knew it was a big deal. We just connected as a couple. I’m definitely honored to be in third place for sure,” he said.
Zeta Morrison, 29, and Timmy Pandolfi, 29, were the winners of this season and split the $100,000. Second place was Sydney Paught, 22, and Isaiah Campbell, 21.