(WIVB) – New York City-based dancer/actor/model Cashay Proudfoot emerged as a fan favorite on this season’s Love Island on CBS.
Proudfoot, 25, was a member of the original Season 3 cast. She’s also a WNY native – a 2014 graduate of Lockport High School.
Proudfoot says she had plenty of support from back home while she was on the show.
“I’m still close to everyone I was close to in high school,” she said via Zoom. “I’ve had people from high school reach out and say they were doing watch parties, old cheer coaches reaching out – it’s been incredible.”
In high school, Proudfoot played lacrosse, cheered, and was in the school musicals.
“I tried to keep myself busy,” she added. “I would say this to anyone still in school – get involved in everything!”
Proudfoot made it to Week 5 of the reality dating show.
“It definitely was not an easy journey, but I think I wouldn’t change anything,” she said. “I learned so much about myself, met the best people in the world – it’s something I can take and apply to different parts of my life forever, I think.”
A few weeks before the start of the show, Proudfoot shaved her head.
She wore a wig for the start of the show, but then took it off in the first episode – and that’s when she says her journey really started.
“For me, I was like, I can either go on the show and live this whole journey with a wig on, or I can live my truth and redefine what I think beauty is for me,” Proudfoot explained. “I was always the type of woman who, if my hair didn’t look good, I couldn’t leave the house, if I couldn’t make it to my hair appointment, I didn’t feel attractive – I was just tired of letting hair define my life.”
“It was just me trying to figure out how to feel beautiful without hair on the show,” she added.
Proudfoot’s decision to take off her wig resonated with many viewers.
“It’s crazy because I never thought anything I was doing was affecting anyone else – when you’re in the villa, you don’t have phones, you’re not connected to Insta or Twitter or any news sites,” she said.
When she got out of the villa during Week 5, she found an outpouring of support.
“People still DM me to this day – I’ve had cancer patients who were like ‘you helped me feel beautiful’,” Proudfoot said. “I love reading those kinds of messages – it makes my journey and the struggle I went through all worth it.”
Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2016. See more of her work here.