‘Love Island USA’ Star Hannah Smith On Why Her Relationship With Kendall Washington ‘Died Out’

By mzaxazm

From the moment “Love Island USA” Season Six star Hannah Smith stepped into the villa, she instantly became a fan-favorite with her funny one-liners and bold personality. 

The 26-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, developed a strong friendship with the rest of the contestants, particularly the girls, and seemed to form a connection with Kendall Washington after they were paired together on day one. But the two hit a speed bump when bombshell Hakeem White entered the villa. After Hannah jokingly kissed White in a game, her budding romance with Washington fizzled, leaving her “single and vulnerable” as they say on the popular dating series. 

Hannah was hopeful that she could build a connection with new bombshell Miguel Harichi and the two enjoyed a flirty workout together. Despite expressing her interest in him, Harichi decided to couple up with Olivia “Liv” Walker instead, and Hannah became the first OG girl to get dumped from the island this season. 

Love Island USA - Season 6
Hannah Smith became the first original girl islander from “Love Island USA” Season Six to be dumped from the villa.Ben Symons / Peacock

“(Miguel) was so flirty, and held everything to himself. He didn’t let anybody know who he was choosing,” she tells TODAY.com in an interview. “I was very shocked that he did choose Liv, like she was shocked herself … I did think maybe I had a chance, but obviously I thought wrong.” 

Even though she exited the Peacock show during Episode 10, Smith has still been keeping up with all the drama taking place in the Fijian villa — especially the recent dramatic elimination that split of Rob Rausch and Andrea Carmona and saw Washington learn surprising information about his partner Nicole Jacky. 

“I have seen all the tea and the drama about the girls and the guys got to choose one person that was going to be leaving the villa. That was insane!” Smith says.

Below, she opens up more to TODAY.com about why her romance with Washington quickly “died out” and a “stigma” she faced in the villa. She also shares her thoughts on the unexpected elimination after her departure. 

TODAY.com: You didn’t initially step forward for Kendall in the premiere. How did you feel when you two were first paired together?

Whenever, I first went into the villa, these five guys are walking in, and you have to make a choice. Who am I most attracted to? Who do I want to step forward for? I’m looking for a tall, fine man so Coye (Simmons), he hit the nail on the head, so I went with him. I mean, me and Kendall got paired by default.

Love Island USA - Season 6
Hannah Smith and Kendall Washington coupled up in the season premiere.Ben Symons / Peacock

I’m actually very happy that me and Kendall did end up getting to meet each other and being paired up with each other because we had so much in common. With me and him, we were just like the goofy couple in the villa. We had so much fun and I really got to know him. And I can honestly say Kendall is a great guy. He is so genuine. Even though we didn’t end up together and our connection didn’t last as long as I wanted it to, I have nothing bad to say about him. 

TODAY.com: It seemed like things were going well and then Hakeem came in and you got to know him. Kendall previously got to know Liv, as well. How do you think you both handled those situations differently?

So the thing that me and Kendall talked about every single day is we told each other we are both each other’s number one. But we did have open communication. I told him that I was interested in Hakeem as well. He also told me that he was interested in getting to know Liv. There is some things that I left out. I didn’t feel like I needed to tell him the 50/50 thing that Hakeem obviously brought up at the recoupling. But I feel like we had open communication. I feel like things went south when the recoupling happened, when I chose Kendall. I knew in my mind I was going to choose Kendall, but I wanted to see it through with Hakeem, as well, because me and Hakeem did get along. Everything played out how it was supposed to. I wish me and Kendall would have lasted a little bit longer. But, we kind of just died out, and it was more of just a friendship vibe. So, we both saw it coming. But obviously the little speed bumps and everything that happened along the way didn’t help our connection to grow. 

TODAY.com: It seemed like after the kiss the relationship couldn’t be repaired. Is that how it felt in the villa? 

So the challenge is really kind of what set it off. So how the challenge went is us girls went in and we were like, ‘We’re not going to choose our couple. This is funny. We’re not taking anything personal.’ And it was so different for the guys. The guys took it so personal. They were all so pissed. And when we went back to the villa after the challenge I had a chat with Kendall, and he just was not having it. He’s like, ‘You just basically slapped me in the face twice. I just have a wall up now with you … I want to take a step back and kind of just figure it out.’

Love Island USA - Season 6
Hannah Smith also got to know Hakeem White in the villa, causing cracks in her relationship with Kendall Washington to form.Peacock

And I just feel like after he took a step back, things just didn’t progress back to how they were in the beginning. So I feel like after that, everything just slowly started dying out. And then obviously Nicole came in and Nicole kind of shook it up. 

We talked to each other, and we’re like, ‘I think we’re better off just as friends.’ And he told me, he’s like, ‘I really want you to find someone. I’m rooting for you always.’ So we didn’t leave on bad terms. We’re still really good friends. I’m rooting for him, as well. 

TODAY.com: After Kendall recoupled, Miguel came in. Did you feel like Miguel was going to couple up with you?

I did think there was a slight chance because with Miguel, he was like a wild card. He was so flirty and he was so friendly. So it was hard to tell with him. 

We had a couple good chats, and I kind of felt like maybe he could choose me. But he was just flirty with everybody. So that’s why it was so hard to tell … he was so flirty and he held everything to himself. He didn’t let anybody know who he was choosing. I was very shocked that he did choose Liv, like she was shocked herself. 

I did think maybe I had a chance, but obviously I thought wrong.

Love Island USA - Season 6
Hannah Smith was dumped from the villa in Episode 10.Ben Symons / Peacock

TODAY.com: You were very open in the villa and said you haven’t been in a relationship before. One of the guys said that was a “red flag.” Miguel also hasn’t been in a relationship. Do you feel like it was a stigma that only you dealt with in the villa?

I feel like they did put stigmas on both of us because I feel like me telling everybody I’ve never been in a relationship, they did think that was a red flag. They’re like, ‘Why haven’t you ever been in a relationship?’ I kind of explained my situation. Same thing with him, they kind of put him as like, ‘Oh, he’s a red flag. He might be a f—boy. He’s never been in a relationship.’ But that’s why me and him kind of got along and we had a good conversation. 

So yeah, I do think there was a little bit of a stigma … but it’s not, we just haven’t found our person. I think me and him are both not comfortable with being vulnerable. That’s something that we had to learn to do in ‘Love Island’— you have to be vulnerable. You have to have these serious talks with people because time moves so fast. In there, you might be good with someone for five minutes, and then a bombshell walks in and you’re dumped. That’s it. You’re gone. 

Before in the real world, I was not comfortable with being vulnerable, telling people about myself. But now I’m definitely ready to meet someone and be vulnerable, and hopefully I do get in a relationship.

TODAY.com: Have been watching since you left?

I have seen all the tea and the drama about the girls and the guys got to choose one person that was going to be leaving the villa. That was insane! 

The girls, I really didn’t know who they were gonna pick. I knew they weren’t going to vote JaNa (Craig). She’s an OG. She’s a girl’s girl. Like, she’s been with everybody through the beginning. Everybody loves JaNa.

Being there in real life, Andrea and Rob did have something going. They did have a connection. That was pretty crazy. All of the guys were pretty pissed that they chose Andrea. But at the end of the day, you have to do what’s right. It might come off as bad and everybody might be pissed, but when you make those decisions, it’s not just a random decision. It’s because you know what’s going on in real life in there.

TODAY.com: Were you surprised to see Nicole is interested in Miguel?

I was there and I did see maybe she might be a little interested, because they did have a chat earlier in the day before the recoupling. They did have a good conversation. So I did see OK, maybe she might be interested in him. But she had a very strong connection with Kendall as well. 

I think she has a stronger connection obviously with Kendall, because she spent more time with him. But Miguel knows what he’s doing. That man is smooth. He’s a ladies man, for sure. I think he could pull anyone in the villa.

TODAY.com: Were you surprised to see Rob stayed and could possibly rekindle something with Leah?

It was crazy. With Rob, you never know what you’re going to get. That’s the thing. The man is unpredictable. I didn’t think he was going to leave. I knew he liked Andrea, but I don’t think enough to make him leave the villa.

But the fact that maybe him and Leah (Kateb) might rekindle something, I think no. Please don’t do it! Please save us all! It just is too much. Like, love you, both but no. Cut it out. Please bring a bombshell in for my girl, Leah and let her find somebody. Let the snake slayer go on and do his own thing. 

Because you saw how fast his head was turned. I mean, he was so locked in with Leah and I really thought they had one of the strongest connections. And then just to see how fast he switched up. One bombshell comes in, Andrea, and that was it. I just think it’s not worth it. He switched up too much so I hope my girl doesn’t go back. 

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

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