Dating is complicated, messy and dramatic for anyone; you don’t need to be on Love Island to agree on that one. However, we can also probably agree that we can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to date in front of an audience, isolated with our potential suitors in a villa for weeks. Cely Vazquez, of course, can, though; she was on Season 2 of Love Island USA and recently competed in the first-ever season of Love Island Games. Though Vazquez didn’t find a lasting relationship from Love Island, she’s now dating IRL and using a certain dating app to help her (hopefully) find a boo before Valentine's Day.
Vazquez made it far on both Love Island seasons she appeared on; she was part of the runner-up couple the first time around and then was victim to a weird mutiny the second time in the villa, nearly making it to the final before getting dumped. But being a self-proclaimed “lover girl,” Vazquez is looking for her special someone, dating outside the villa.
Read on as Vazquez tells Parade what it's like dating outside of the Love Island franchise and how that's impacted her dating experience now.
What Is Dating Like Outside the ‘Love Island’ Villa?
Love Island is a dating reality competition series where hot “Islanders” are sent into a villa and made to couple up and get to know each other, in hopes of finding “the one.” That’s obviously different than asking someone for coffee or chatting on a dating app. But Vazquez kind of prefers the non-TV kind of dating.
“You know, I think it's made it better because it's like such a different world when you're dating in a villa, you're in a bubble,” she tells Parade about dating regularly versus on Love Island USA or Love Island Games. “Everything… every emotion is heightened. Everything's so much more fast-paced. As to where, when I'm dating at home, it's just like all at my own pace. I'm like genuinely having so much fun with it.”
She also noted that even though she didn’t change who she is for the cameras, “there’s so much more” to her than what she can show on a TV series.
“I'm having the best time just like getting to know people, people getting to know me for me rather than like me,” Vazquez explains.
This is the first time Vaquez has joined a dating app and she is actually having a great time. But she did hold some stigma around dating apps before joining one, as many do. The dreams of having a “meet cute” in a coffee shop or store are alive and well for many, but there’s nothing wrong with using an app to find "The One," especially one where you have a common ground to start with.
The Dating App Cely Vazquez Is Using
Vazquez is using Match Group’s Chispa dating app, the #1 dating app for Latinos, to help her out and she’s been “putting in the work” to get a Valentine this February 14.
“People gotta get on Chispa and find their Valentine for real,” she tells Parade. “Days are winding down and you gotta set up your plan. So get on out there and go get your flirt on.”
While everyone is allowed to join Chispa, the point of the app is to be a place for Latinos to meet and create bonds with people from a similar background and culture, much like sites like Christian Mingle or Jdate. Vazquez notes that finding someone with a shared background is important for her because she wants someone who not only understands but also appreciates the fact that she’s Latina (and proud of it).
“There's just something about that. Like you just get them, there's just like an extra spark,” Vazquez explains. (Fun fact: “Chispa” means “spark” in Spanish.) “I don't know, there's a magnetism and it's just so cool. I feel like even when I'm chatting with people and you can throw something in there like Spanglish or… the conversation just fully switches to Spanish and then fully switches to English, and I'm just like, ‘Oh my God.’”
She says that while this added element of not even thinking about switching between Spanish and English hadn’t been something she thought about in the past, when you have it, it "changes the game.”
“I feel like with Chispa, it’s so different too because it's like, you just automatically know that someone's gonna understand your culture, who you are fundamentally,” Vazquez adds. “And… that's already a meet-cute in itself. You just like get me on a different level, you know? So it's been really cool.”
Vazquez also hopes that a shared background will make it obvious just how important her family is and how to act around them in order to be a part of it.
“I love my family. I have a huge family. You're gonna have to be great with my mom and say that she has the most amazing cooking that you've ever tasted,” she says. “It just comes with so much more, it's so loaded that you just want somebody who appreciates that as well. And then it just makes you mesh so much more.”
Outside of a shared Latinx background, Vazquez wants someone who is loyal, who can banter back and forth with her and who can be spontaneous with her. But of course, with family being so important to her, along with finding someone who fits in, it’s no surprise that Vazquez just wants to find a partner to bring to the carne asada, who can get down at her niece’s quinceañera and who just "gets it."
What’s Vazquez's ‘Game Plan’ When on a Dating App?
With Vazquez knowing pretty well what she’s looking for (and with some pretty public examples of what she doesn’t want, thanks Love Island), how exactly does she use a dating app like Chispa? What’s her game plan? Well, to flirt, duh!
“I'm very much like a very flirty person and I feel like when I match with someone, I'm like, ‘Hey, you gotta like know the flirty side of me, the funny side of me,’” she shares. “And then I'm like, ‘So where are you taking me on a date?’”
Vazquez tells Parade about having a karaoke date coming up with someone from Chispa, which she's very excited about. She also just loves designing her profile and making it as much like her as possible (AKA “cutesy”). She has to give her matches “variety” and good photos, right? She also adores Chispa’s sticker feature; right now her fave is the “Cafecito Lover” one.
There is one potential concern Vazquez shares regarding the dating app: the amount of “cuties at the touch of my fingertips.”
“There are too many to pick from,” she exclaims. “Which one am I gonna choose?”
And of course, with Valentine’s Day coming up and cuffing season coming to a close, that’s a pretty good problem to have.
Next up, if you're a woman over the age of 40, these are the best dating apps for you!