The biggest Love Island USA journey goes to Bergie!
Coming in with very little dating experience, Carsten Bergersen, known affectionately as Bergie, won over the villa and went on to change more than anyone else. After being dumped on day one, he returned arm-in-arm with Carmen and Hannah for a second life in the villa that he used to break out of his comfort zone. It worked — he made it all the way to the finale and left Fiji with Taylor as his girlfriend.
We spoke to season 5's beloved relationship newbie about how he's changed, his bond with the other islanders, and leaving Fiji with a girlfriend — and so much more confidence.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you envision Love Island USA going when you entered the villa?
BERGIE: I thought I was gonna get coupled up then really explore that connection maybe in that couple to start. My confidence just got crushed that first day expecting to meet someone and have a good connection to explore. Instead, I had one conversation [with Anna] who wanted to get to know Leo and no other girl had interest in me. It went completely differently than I thought it was gonna go.
What would you in the present say to the Bergie who walked into the villa?
I'd say be confident in who you are. In the beginning, I forgot who I was while I was in there and got nervous and shy around everybody. I felt like I wasn't supposed to be there. In the end, I was supposed to be there and there's a reason for me being there.
How did you and Taylor work through hearing that message from your family?
We talked about how the interview was long and they just picked out segments they wanted to use. My grandpa does like Taylor. It would have been better if we got to introduce our partner to our family and have an actual conversation. I knew I liked Taylor and I knew Taylor liked me and that's all we could worry about.
Before you found Taylor, you were coupled up with Anna and tried to find a spark with Carmen. Looking back, what did you learn from your time with the two of them?
With Anna, we knew she wasn't my person. I needed someone a bit more calm and collected. Anna is more extroverted and she likes a guy that's extroverted. I couldn't be that person for Anna. With Carmen, I felt like I could be her person and meet her expectations, but I don't think she had the same interest back.
With Taylor, she had been showing more interest in me then maybe I was in the beginning, and now we're on the same page. We're still FaceTiming two or three times a day. We're connecting and she has everything that I want and I have everything that she wants.
Sara Mally/PEACOCK Taylor Smith, Carsten Bergersen
How much of a surprise was it to you when Imani shared that she was interested?
Honestly, I was surprised that Imani showed interest in me as well. I wasn't expecting it, because after our one date she showed interest in Jonah and Keenan. I felt like I was on the back burner from there. I think she realized I could be a person that could meet all of her needs and expectations. It was a shock to me, but things were just going good with Taylor at that point.
Friendships don't always get shown on Love Island because folks are looking for love, but we got to see a lot of your friendship with Hannah. Can you talk about building your bond with her as you made your way through your Love Island USA journey?
When I was trying to pursue Carmen, Hannah was there to back me up and helped me through that process. Then after that I knew I could dump all my feelings to Hannah and say, 'this is what I'm going through.' When she was trying to pursue things in the villa, she could ask me questions. Our connection was based on helping each other find their perfect person and we still have a really great friendship.
How's the beard going? You promised Sarah Hyland you wouldn't shave it.
I haven't shaved it. My cousin Andy has an awesome beard, so I asked him for advice on how to trim it. I got a trim now and it's looking good.
How has this experience changed you?
Self-confidence. And I learned a ton about myself in terms of what I want in a relationship. Going in there, I knew I wanted a relationship, but I didn't know what exactly I wanted that to look like.
I do have some opportunities that I'm looking into that I'm probably going to pursue, but I can't talk about just yet. Taylor is coming up to visit my family, hopefully next week, then I'm going to visit her in Dallas.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
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