LOVE Island and glitzy reality TV shows like it all too often seem like harmless fun. A dash of glamour and silliness to brighten up our lives but there is a worrying side to it.

These shows make stars of so-called social media influencers such as Molly Mae – and give them an unwarranted influence over young people.

Mae, 22, told the Diary Of A CEO podcast: "You're given one life and it's down to you what you do with it.

"I understand that we all have different backgrounds and we're all raised in different ways and we do have different financial situations, but I do think if you want something enough, you can achieve it."

Now, her comments would perhaps have been received as the misguided, idealistic comments of an influencer trying to inspire her young audience if it wasn't for her position as creative director of international clothing giant Pretty Little Thing.

In July 2020 it was reported that Boohoo, the company that owns Pretty Little Thing, had subcontracted to warehouses in Leicester that paid workers as little as £3.50 an hour. The company said it was addressing the issue.

Mae's comments suggest a total lack of self awareness about the lives of the workers in these warehouses. To claim we all have the same opportunities is naive, at best, and at worst, insulting and possibly damaging to the mental health of those young people who look up to her and are struggling to get by.

Mae and her boxer boyfriend Tommy Fury have an estimated joint net worth of £2million. Despite this, she stands by her point that these workers have the same opportunities that she does.

She is entitled to share her opinions on success. However, she misunderstands the harsh realities of the world. She seems to imply she has got where she has solely due to her own drive, and not brand deals garnered by fame collected via a dating show known for only casting thin, able bodied, attractive straight people.

Molly Mae represents a worrying side of the phenomenon known as Girl Boss culture. It is a side of capitalism and exploitation aimed, in particular, at young women. It also is rooted in individualism: prioritising your own success over the wellbeing of others. Furthermore, in a society obsessed with productivity, the glamorisation of intense work culture is a problem.

In her ‘apology’ Mae claimed she was trying to inspire her audience, but inspire what? The exploitation of workers to line your own pockets, the denial of your privilege, or toxic work culture?

Influencers like Molly Mae shouldn’t be underestimated; their huge audiences give them sway over the opinions of younger audiences. Political ideologies now lurk in the Instagram captions of today's influencers and those ideologies need to be be held up for inspection.

Annie Scott is a law student at Edinburgh University. Agenda is a slot for outside contributors and new voices. Contact