Does eating bugs on "Survivor" look terrifying, nauseating, and ill-advised? Well, now reality-TV has fresh hell to dish out.
Last week on the cable network FYI, a new show aired, called “Married at First Sight.”
And, yup, that’s what it’s about: Three couples wed on the air the moment they meet each other. Some don’t even know their future life partner’s name before they walk down the aisle.
In what is being billed as an extreme social experiment, four relationship gurus — a sexologist, a spiritualist, a sociologist and a psychologist — chose partners for three marriages, matching the couples from among 50 eligible bachelors and bachelorettes that the show’s casting crew winnowed from a pool of 625 possible candidates.
Instant brides Jamie Otis, Monet Bell, and Cortney Hendrix spoke Monday on TODAY with Hoda and Kathie Lee, who wanted to know: What were these three women thinking?
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“For me it was all about the experts and being able to have their advice,” said Otis, 27, a labor and delivery nurse in Harlem, New York, who wants badly to be a mother.
Otis grew up with a drug-addicted mother and abusive stepfather who abandoned the family, prompting her to take custody of her younger siblings at age 19, and through college. She didn’t get to date a lot. Then she tried her luck on two ABC series, “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelor Pad.”
“It was always awkward,” Otis said. “First dates were never my thing, and I’ve always had this commitment problem.”
Monet Bell, a 33-year-old product development manager in the fashion industry who wants a family, said her motivation to wed a stranger was simple: The clock is ticking.
“I think we all really just wanted to get married,” Bell told Kathie Lee and Hoda. “That’s really the essence of it. And you’d think it’s easy — you’ll meet, you’ll date and then the gradual process will be to get married. But it doesn’t happen like that.”
Cortney Hendrix said the show was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
“I don't want to be 45 and say, ‘What if?’” said Hendrix, 26, a North Carolina native who moved to New York City to become a makeup artist.
Hendrix said she’s religious but also has a wild streak, which could explain her interest in spontaneous matrimony. She has performed with a burlesque troupe, “The Hot Box Girls.”
Otis said the experts helped convince her, showing real concern during evaluations.
“They just were really professional, really into it,” Otis said. “It felt so genuine. You felt like they weren’t just going to throw you with someone.”
But she felt a bit different on her wedding day. “It was so awkward. It was weird. It was strange.”
She wept a little on her wedding day, but she didn’t kiss her new husband, Doug Hehner, during the nuptials. “The photographer is putting us together and wanting us to look cozy, and I’m feeling so uncomfortable, but I didn’t want Doug to know I felt like that,” Otis said during the premiere. “I didn’t know how he was feeling. He seemed happy.”
She wouldn’t say how the relationship developed. “That’s to be seen,” she said.
Both Bell and Hendrix did smooch their new grooms, and gladly. “I liked him,” Bell said of groom Vaughn Copeland. “He was handsome. He’s a nice guy.”
Her initial impression was that she could fall in love with him.
Hendrix was looking for a fellow with a strong personality who could make her laugh, and new husband Jason Carrion did not disappoint. “It was the first time he could show me he was a man, and he kissed me,” she said.
Kathie Lee and Hoda told the trio of newlyweds they wished them happily ever after.
“But we’re not holding our breath!” Kathie Lee added.