Mackenzie Dipman first gained the attention of the public when she competed in beauty pageants, and was hailed Miss Arizona Teen USA 2015 first runner-up and then Miss Idaho 2017 third runner-up. This blue-eyed blonde’s search for love led her to join the second season of “Love Island USA” in 2020; things didn’t work out well for her at that time, but she’s giving it another try in season four of the dating reality show, which premiered in July 2022.
Background on “Love Island”
“Celebrity Love Island” was a British dating game show, created by ITV Studios in 2005, featuring 12 single celebrities, but was canceled after two seasons due to disappointing ratings. It was revived in 2015 but with non-celebrities as participants, so it just became “Love Island.” This time it enjoyed success, becoming one of the most watched series on the network, but it also had its share of controversies, with the deaths of a couple of its contestants. 32-year-old model Sophie Gadon died by hanging in 2018, and ruled a suicide. She appeared in the show in 2016 and opened up about being on the receiving end of so much negativity online, resulting in anxiety and depression. Footballer Mike Thalassitis, a contestant in 2017, was found hanging in a park in 2019 at the age of 26.
Their untimely deaths brought attention to the pressure and stress of being on reality TV, as its stars were said to be mostly ‘judged’ not on a particular skill but on their appearance and behavior. Those who were looking for validation would have been sensitive to rejection from a potential partner or harsh criticisms from the viewing public. There had been calls to pull the plug on the show, but it went on and aired its eighth season from June to August 2022, with the ninth season set to air in 2023.
“Love Island USA”
CBS acquired the rights to the American production of the hit show, and one of its executive producers, David Eilenberg, said that it would follow the same format, but with certain limitations. ‘We have to conform to broadcast standards, so what happens with language and—to some extent—what we see visually will be a little different because of the platform we’re on.’
It premiered in July 2019, and ran five nights a week. Basically, a group of single men and women, referred to as islanders, lived in isolation but under video surveillance the whole time they were there. At first glance, it should have been a way for them to find someone they could fall for or click with, but with the prize money amounting to $100,000 for the winning couple and longer exposure on TV, perhaps the reason didn’t matter as long as they were coupled up at the end, and could convince the viewers to root for them.
Right off the bat, the first 10 islanders paired up based on first impressions, and after that, a new islander was introduced and in 24 hours was given the chance to steal a partner. They could all mingle and get to know one another, but come night time, couples should share a bed for sleeping. Whenever there was a re-coupling in which islanders could choose to remain with their current partners or to switch, the one who was left without a partner would be dumped from the island. At certain points in the show, voting would be opened via the “Love Island” mobile app, and the couple who received the least votes would be eliminated. At times, the islanders would have the power to remove a couple through voting.
Various games were played throughout their stay, which revealed more of their personality or character, and new islanders joined them to spice things up. For the finale, America would vote, and the couple with the most number of votes would win. There was a twist at the end as two envelopes were handed out to the winners, but only one of them contained the prize money. Whoever received it would decide whether or not to share it with his or her partner.
The first three seasons aired on CBS, with actress-comedian Arielle Vandenberg as its presenter and Matthew Hoffman as the narrator. In its fourth season, the show moved to Peacock, a video streaming service owned by NBCUniversal, and it was hosted by the actress Sarah Hyland and narrated by Iain Stirling, the iconic voice in the UK version.
Mackenzie’s first appearance on the dating show
Season two was supposed to take place in a villa in Fiji, the same as the first season, and was set to air in May 2020, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions, the location was moved to The Cromwell, a luxury boutique casino hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, and premiered in August 2020. As a precaution, the participants were quarantined for weeks, and tested for the virus multiple times before filming began.
Mackenzie was a 24-year-old student from Scottsdale, Arizona when she entered the villa on day one. She described herself as ‘really sarcastic’ and was interested in a guy like that because having a sense of humor mattered to her. Most of the men she dated in the past had been millionaires, not that she sought them out because money didn’t really matter to her, but it just happened that way. She claimed that a lot of guys were hesitant to approach her, as once they saw ‘the blonde hair, the big boobs,’ they thought of her as shallow and dumb. On being part of the show, she said she was genuinely searching for love, and hoped that people would get to know her as there was more to her than her looks.
123MOVIES!! Love Island Season 2 Episode 10 – Full Episodes
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Connor and Mackenzie pairing
23-year-old Connor Michael Trott was an auditor from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He struggled in the dating scene as ‘trying to pick up girls…doesn’t come natural’ to him. Being in the show was ideal for meeting and dating girls. When he was introduced to the girls, Mackenzie stepped forward as she was interested in him, saying he was cute and had a great smile. He agreed to couple up with her.
They had their first kiss in a suck-and-blow card game, and Connor, who was old-fashioned, was hoping that their first time had been more special; Mackenzie was thinking the same thing, and that if they had a do-over, she wanted it to be more romantic. In the confessional, he disclosed that Mackenzie was way out of his league, and that he had butterflies in his stomach when he was talking to her. ‘She makes me feel very comfortable and it’s so easy to be myself around her…I don’t really have to be anyone other than myself and that’s what I think I like most about her.’ He was nervous around girls because he believed he was not the type of guy that girls usually went for – he’s not outgoing, outspoken, and confident, which surprised Mackenzie as she said that his looks didn’t match his personality. Connor lost his virginity on a one-night stand and only had sex with three girls prior to the show, as he explained to Mackenzie why he was taking it slow with her.
Things went well between the two of them at first, as they stayed together after a few recoupling ceremonies had come and passed with new islanders to partner up with. However, a series of events led the two to rethink their relationship. When Connor was chosen by the public to date another girl, Mackenzie walked out. Her whole life, she felt she wasn’t good enough and when he was ‘taken’ from her, she was devastated. Connor, on the other hand, was interested in the new girl as she was exactly someone he was looking for. He admitted to her that he had to filter himself to accommodate someone else, clearly referring to Mackenzie. However, he told a different story to Mackenzie right after the date, saying that she was someone he wanted to be with not just at the villa, but also when they were back in the real world. He then officially asked her to be his girlfriend, but the following day, he asked for time and space from her to process things. It seemed that he couldn’t make up his mind about her.
On day 19 at the villa, Mackenzie chose to recouple with a new islander, but Connor remained loyal to her. They talked things over and closed the chapter in their love story. Mackenzie said, ‘It might be one of the shortest relationships I’ve ever been in, but I think it’ll definitely be one of the most significant.’
Rekindled her romance with Connor
After Mackenzie and Connor’s stint on “Love Island USA,” they hooked up and explored a relationship off-screen. They might not have won, but it didn’t matter in the end as they became a real couple after the show; fans could see how happy they were from their Instagram posts. The two even lasted longer than any other couple from the show, as those who were together then had broken up soon after they left the villa.
On 6 March 2021, the two announced their split via Instagram. Having a long-distance relationship didn’t work for them, as he was in Pittsburg while she was in Tucson. As they talked about their future, they realized that they were moving in different directions. They said, ‘We both have so much love for each other and had hopes that we could make this work, but relationships are all about timing, and this is just not our time.’
Dated “Summer House” star, Carl Radke
Mackenzie had a guest-starring appearance in season six of Bravo’s reality TV show, “Summer House,” which aired in February 2022, as she dated one of its main stars, Carl Radke. The two had known each other for two years after meeting in Scottsdale, and they reconnected in New York. He was taking things slowly with her, as he’d never dated anyone when he was fully sober. Interestingly, fans noted his physical resemblance to Mackenzie’s ex-boyfriend, Connor, as they both sported a beard and a mustache. Carl was known as a lover boy due to the series of flings he had during the entire six seasons of the show, which premiered in January 2017. Things didn’t work out between the two, and he had since moved on with his best friend and co-star, Lindsay Hubbard.
Mackenzie’s return to “Love Island USA”
Season four of the reality dating show premiered on 19 July 2022, and promised to be sexier and steamier in its new home in Peacock. The show was already airing when Mackenzie received a call from a producer who invited her to be the last one to enter the villa in California before the finale. She’s single and vaccinated (it’s a requirement), so she said yes.
Mackenzie joined the islanders on their fourth week in another attempt to find someone she could connect with. She said, ‘I’m just really excited to enjoy it in a way that I don’t think I did the first time. Just being able to just freely experiment, try new things, have fun, meet new people.’ She also planned on being a big sister to them and to give advice, having gone through the entire process before.
When it was announced that she would be part of “Love Island USA,” it was said that most fans reacted negatively to this news for various reasons. Some preferred to have new girls enter the villa rather than someone who’d already had her fair shot at finding love, like Mackenzie. There were a few who disliked her way back when she first appeared in season two, and wondered why the producers even brought her back, as this was the first time in the history of the US version of the show that an islander from a past season returned. Others who were rooting for their favorite couples didn’t want her stirring-up trouble and messing them up. However, there were those who were looking forward to the drama and excitement that she would bring to the villa.
Her stay at the villa
As she made her grand entrance, most of the guys were thrilled to see her. One of them even said that she looked like a goddess walking down the aisle. With the girls out on a group bonding session, it was the perfect opportunity for her to talk with each guy, to see if there was chemistry between them. Mackenzie was interested in a few of them but kept an open mind to the others, as she knew from experience that there’s more to a person than what was shown on TV.
Coming in late, she was well aware that some of the couples had pretty much cemented their relationships – Timmy and Zeta, Jesse and Deb, and Isaiah and Sydney – she had no plans of disrespecting any of the girls. Although Joel, a 27-year-old model from Massachusetts, was without a partner at that time, Mackenzie friend-zoned him as she said, ‘I’m sorry…you look just like my ex-boyfriend, and I will never date someone that looks like that again…It’s not happening.’
The moment the girls learned that Mackenzie was with the guys, they immediately went back to the villa, and it was clear that some of them were quite concerned, as they feared that their guys would recouple with her. The anxiety was expected, as that was always the case whenever someone new joined them especially if the relationship with their current partners was somewhat rocky.
On her first night, the islanders engaged in a “boys vs girls challenge” in which they had to get hearts racing as they showed their moves. It was Chad, a 23-year-old personal trainer from Michigan, who sent her heart racing the most. At that time, Chad was partnered with Courtney, a 24-year-old stylist, but was also testing the waters with Phoebe, a 21-year-old student, when the latter expressed interest in him. During the recoupling, he chose to be with Mackenzie and was upfront about sharing a kiss with Phoebe right before that particular segment of the show. Had Phoebe not been chosen earlier by Joel, Chad would have picked her. Mackenzie and Chad had a connection, but it wasn’t a romantic one. As they were still a couple, they continued to work as partners at the games, and even shared the same bed, at least initially, because once it was clear that Chad was really into Phoebe, Mackenzie slept on a different bed.
She believed that things played out the way they should and expressed to the producers that she wanted to leave. ‘I had an amazing time in there. It just felt like at that point in the process, if you’re not in a relationship, then you probably shouldn’t be there.’ Some viewers said that she came in too late in the game to form a strong connection with Chad or any other guy for that matter. Her journey to finding love on the island was short, but she felt validated and said, ‘I can honestly say that I’m proud of myself, and I am just feeling really excited about my future, and one day, I will find someone who loves me.’,
People who wanted more of her could tune in to her podcast called “Out of His League,” as she tackled anythingm because no topic was off limits to her.