Love Island‘s Trina Njoroge became the latest islander to get dumped on Thursday’s episode, exiting the villa alongside Andre Brunelli in a surprise recoupling. Her time in the villa has had its fair share of ups and downs, and while the 25-year-old psychiatric nurse admitted it was “challenging” at times, she ultimately had “no regrets whatsoever” — even when it came to the messy triangle with Cashay “Cash” Proudfoot and Melvin “Cinco” Holland Jr. (Cash and Cinco have since rekindled their romance outside the villa.)
“One thing I learned about myself was that I have a lot of patience,” Trina told ET of the triangle and what she’s learned from it. “I felt like I couldn’t really be my true self with Cinco and I did hold back and had my guard up because I knew that he was still contemplating who he actually wants to be with… Casa Amor was actually really great timing for Cash and I because we had no interruptions, no distractions and we could really dive in deep with what was going on with Cinco. I told her I’m glad that she’s following her heart.”
In her exit interview, Trina opened up about the powerful moment where she and Cash wore matching dashikis, why she’s confident their friendship can overcome divisive fans and what the biggest lesson she’s learned from her whirlwind experience on Love Island.
ET: Sadly, your time in the villa has come to an end. Was it a surprise to you?
Trina Njoroge: It was definitely a surprise because we were actually having a little party before Arielle [Vandenberg] came in and we had to discuss with our partners who we think was the least compatible. With Andre and I, we feel like we know that we were compatible together but we didn’t have a romantic connection. I wasn’t sure if people were really taking that into consideration while deciding on their choices for that night. We ended up choosing somebody else, but it was a surprise that we got eliminated. But we’re both happy. We’re both content with our experience. If this happened weeks ago, I know my mind still would have been foggy and I’d be a little bit frustrated, maybe have some regrets. But I feel like I did everything that I needed to do there on Love Island, and leaving with the friendships that I established with everybody was really amazing and heartwarming to have.
You had a lot of ups and downs in the villa this season. How would you describe your villa experience?
Going into the villa, I wasn’t expecting to go in-depth about my emotions and really expressing them to people that I just met. It’s like talking to strangers about your personal life, which I was very skeptical about. I thought it was going to be an easy ride throughout the villa. But with me, I ended up really shutting down and I had my guard up because I was hesitant showing people my true colors and the side of me where I felt like people would judge me. I think that’s what actually made others fall in love with me.
My experience in the villa was a little bit challenging because I felt like talking about my emotions was a sign of weakness, but having my friends by my side continuing to reassure me and also remind me that I am a strong individual for really putting out there and helping them out while also lifting myself up when I was completely down. I had the best time during the villa, even though it may have not seemed like it in the beginning. But as time went by, I started to get more comfortable and I was showing my sense of humor and showing my sarcastic and sassy side with everybody and creating this really strong bond. Those people in the villa are my family, and I have no regrets whatsoever.
I have to ask you about the triangle between you, Cinco and Cash. What was it like for you navigating that?
Ohh, that love triangle. One thing I learned about myself was that I have a lot of patience. Cinco, he is a good person. He was a great friend to others. But when it came to the love triangle, he was just very indecisive. I knew even though when we were in a couple he was still thinking about Cash, even though he verbalized to me multiple times that he’s 100 percent in with what we have and wanting to create our romantic connection. It was just very frustrating because Cash and I were friends. Well, we are friends, but it was very awkward. Even when I was paired up with Cinco, it was hard to be comfortable with him around her. It was out of respect, but I still had feelings for him. And vice versa when they were coupled up, it was very uncomfortable for me.
So I felt like I couldn’t really be my true self with Cinco and I did hold back and had my guard up because I knew that he was still contemplating who he actually wants to be with. Even leaving Casa Amor, we had unresolved issues that we didn’t have time to discuss. And Casa Amor was actually really great timing for Cash and I because we had no interruptions, no distractions and we could really dive in deep with what was going on with Cinco. I told her I’m glad that she’s following her heart. I’m glad she’s putting herself first because initially, she told me to go for Cinco when things were wishy-washy with Jeremy. I took her advice in the beginning and I wanted to let her know, “Do what you need to do. It’s up to him at the end of the day, but I’m honestly very tired waiting,” because it was emotionally draining for me.
He did get in between Cash and I, and our friendship. Luckily with Casa Amor, we created a stronger bond. I even did her makeup for the recoupling and we just hit it off. I felt like that situation, that love triangle that we were in, we realized we should never let a man get in between our friendship again. It’s beautiful. Even that iconic moment of me giving her my dashiki, it was a very sentimental piece that I got from my grandmother in Kenya. I wanted to give it to her to show her, look, we’ve been through ups and downs here the villa. We are both Black queens. We are resilient. This was just a bumpy road for us, but we have a long life friendship to look forward to after this.
Let’s talk about the moment with you and Cash wearing the dashikis, which was incredibly powerful and poignant. What prompted that moment?
I did get those pieces from my grandmother back in Kenya. She raised nine children out of poverty and I know it was very challenging for her. So when I went to Kenya with my family, she bought me two dashikis and I’ve kept that really close to my heart and next to me at all times. I carried it to me with me in the villa, so that way I felt like I was close to her. I felt like I was close to home. I was actually going to wear those on two different occasions, but I realized I had both of them and I’m like, “Look, this is something that I should give to somebody that I love and admire and adore, which is Cash.” And she’s like a sister to me now. So I decided to give her one and I was like, “We should twin. This is an iconic moment. This is something that’s very powerful even though nothing is said.” People can see we can go through thick and thin and come out stronger, and that’s one thing that I wanted everyone to realize, and even us ourselves.
When I spoke with Cash earlier this week, she said she hopes to keep this friendship going. What are your hopes now that you’re both out of the villa?
That was just the beginning of our friendship. Even when we were in the villa, I respect her so much because she put all of her pride aside and even her feelings for Cinco and comforted me when I was very emotional. And that takes a lot out of a woman to do. We had the same feelings for the same man, but Cash was a true, genuine friend because she allowed herself to put me first and take care of me while we were going through the same struggles. We are going to have a great friendship from here on out. I can’t wait to get my phone back honestly, so I can contact her, FaceTime without the mics and really talk about everything, dissect the issues and the problems that we were uncomfortable talking about on camera and just put it behind us and move forward.
What do you hope people take from your guys’ strong bond?
I hope from this experience, people will realize that friendship comes first before relationships and never let a man get in between you and another friend or being indecisive when it comes to that. I think people should realize that friendships are very important in life and that when it comes to a man, never let them get in between your friendship. We came out stronger and even more empowered. If we can do it, they can do it too.
Viewers are also divided over you and Cash. How do you feel about that division amongst viewers?
It was actually very frustrating because Cash and I did know that us being in a love triangle, it was going to be like Team Cash or Team Trina. We were the only two Black, original girls there in the villa. The last thing that we wanted is to be separated, to be divided. We wanted to come together and show others, yes, we can overcome anything. Even though we did have a rocky ride in the past, it really doesn’t faze us till this day. I understand that the viewers have different points of view and they’re entitled to their own opinions. But I think at the end of the day, all that matters is that Cash and I have resolved our issues and we are working on establishing this friendship and making it stronger.
What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to now that you’re out of the villa and you’ve had this whirlwind experience?
I’m really excited to debrief and take a vacation and be single. I’m just going to be really picky with the men that I allow into my life because I feel like it’s a privilege to get to know me now. With that love triangle and my feelings for Cinco, I think it jeopardized the strong qualities that I have as a woman and I don’t want to ever feel that way again. I’m also just going to take things slow. I do want to go back to work, maybe work on call because that’s what helps me stay grounded, helping others and be surrounded by my support system, my friends and my family, and also getting reunited with the girls back from the villa too. That’s my plan.
Who do you think has a shot at winning it all?
I love Will and Kyra to death. I think just seeing things firsthand and witnessing everything, they have a lot of stuff to work on. As for me, I think Korey and Olivia have it in the bag because they really took their time in deciding that they are meant for each other. They started out as strangers and then acquaintances, built to a friendship. They see how they are with other couples and decided to slowly but surely come together and work things out. I see them falling in love and I can see that they’re so comfortable around each other. There’s no awkwardness. There’s no “he said, she said” drama. It’s just them two. I feel like they are a power couple and they have an empire to build in the future. I really think they will end up being the winners of this show.
Love Island airs Tuesdays through Fridays, as well as Sundays, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Fans can binge the entire season of Love Island on Paramount+ before the finale on Sunday, Aug. 15.
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