Model Sophie – a former Miss GB herself – stuck up for Zara during the Miss Love Island 2016 pageant by delivering an inspirational speech criticising the decision to strip Zara of her Miss GB title for having sex on TV.
Zara, 20, was dethroned after bedding Alex Bowen on the show in a moment she described as a "stupid" mistake that she very much regretted.
Many people were angry at the decision, including Sophie, 30, who said: "I can say it's time people move forward from their old-fashioned thinking and accept the simple fact that women like to have sex."
Speaking to Reveal this week, Zara said: "Her speech as unreal, she hit the nail on the head. She's a beautiful, beautiful, wonderful girl and I love her. Being a former Miss GB as well, I felt I could really relate to her, she was like my older sister in there."
Zara found out last week that she'd lost her Miss GB title. "The producers just pulled me to one side and said my title had been taken away," she recalled. "They read the statement out that Miss GB put on Twitter, then I had to go back into the villa and tell my fellow islanders."
"I wanted to tell them," she added. "I am so close with everyone in there and I needed that support and they gave me it. The girls were absolutely amazing."
Shortly after losing her title, Zara learned her mother had been taken ill in the UK, so chose to quit Love Island and return home. ("It was a really scary time but she's doing a lot better now," she told us.)
To pay tribute to her, the islanders staged a Miss Love Island 2016 pageant, in which the boys judged the girls on their looks and talents.
Sophie also gave a speech about Zara, in which she said: "Life shouldn't be about judging one another. Say, for example, judging a young woman for enjoying herself. A young woman who hasn't harmed anyone, but a woman who has faced a torrent of judgmental and close-minded opinions since leaving Love Island.
"As an ex-Miss Newcastle and Miss Great Britain, I can say it's time people move forward from their old-fashioned thinking and accept the simple fact that women like to have sex."
"I've watched a bit of Miss Love Island 2016 which was mega!" said Zara. "I loved it. The girls all had a little hidden talent. I liked Cara's fire eating – so cool! And Kady's tap dancing as well. I don't think anyone would have thought it!"
Love Island continues 9pm on ITV2.