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‘Love Is Blind’ season 2 stars on how they plan to handle overnight fame

Five cast members from season two sat down with TODAY to discuss their experiences on the Netflix hit show including lessons they've learned along the way.
love is blind season 2
Shaina Hurley in season 2 of "Love Is Blind."Netflix
/ Source: TODAY

Season two of the hit Netflix reality show “Love Is Blind” is underway on the streaming platform, this time with 30 new cast members ready to find love.

With the first nine episodes having aired, fans are anxiously awaiting for the final episode of the season, set to air on Friday, Feb. 25.

Though eight couples got engaged, only six engagements were shown before they headed off to Cancun, with two cut from the season. Five of the cast members from season two sat down with TODAY to discuss their experiences on the hit reality dating show before it premiered.

Warning: There are spoilers ahead for the first nine episodes of “Love Is Blind” season two.

Deepti Vempati
Deepti Vempati.Ser Baffo / Netflix

Deepti Vampati, Iyanna McNeely and Shaina Hurley talk overnight fame

Deepti Vempati, the 31-year-old information data analyst, Iyanna McNeely, the 27-year-old program coordinator at a surrogacy agency, and Shaina Hurley, the 32-year-old hair stylist, discussed how they felt about the overnight fame that comes with appearing on a reality TV show, let alone with one that has as far of a reach as “Love Is Blind.”

“I feel like there's no preparing,” McNeely, who ended engaged to Jarrette Jones, told TODAY. “I mean, I’m trying my best to mentally be like, ‘I know that there’s gonna be haters, you’ve got it, girl! You’re good!’ So I’m giving myself pep talks, but I feel like I’m not gonna really know how I’m gonna react until I’m in it because I am absolutely the type of person to stand in a corner when I’m around people I don’t know.”

For Vempati — who got engaged to Abhishek "Shake" Chatterje — she thinks some of the scrutiny is going to come from her family, explaining, “Since I come from an Indian background, I’m putting myself in a very vulnerable position for a lot of judgement, so I have to remain strong and yeah, it’s gonna be bittersweet, but here for the journey.”

Iyanna McNeely
Iyanna McNeely.Ser Baffo / Netflix

In the second batch of episodes that dropped Friday, Feb. 18, Hurley broke off her engagement with Kyle Abrams, much to the ire of fans. She cited their religion differences as the cause, even though many people have taken to social media to cast their doubts on this.

“I’m just in denial,” Hurley said of her impending fame. “It’s scary. Again, we live in such a society where we’re so judgmental and we’re so opinionated. I was just saying I will never judge another reality star ever again. Like, ever.”

"I’m getting checked, OK? Looking back I’m like, forgive me," she added. "It’s definitely gonna be interesting. Thank God we all have such like strong support systems. Each other, our family, our friends and they know who we are. It’s like that cheesy saying, 'You could be the sweetest peach in Georgia, but there’s still going to be people that don’t like peaches.' And so it’s just one of those things where you signed up for it, unfortunately. We’ll see how it pans out, but you have to have a true sense of who you are."

When it came time to talk about how casts of reality television can often be perceived in a negative light without full control over the narrative, McNeely shared, “I will say, people don’t allow the proper grace to people and they take what they see as face value.”

Shaina Hurley
Shaina HurleySer Baffo / Netflix

For the girls especially, prior to the season’s start they were already relying on one another for support, especially relying on a group text message chat to help get through the scrutiny.

“We rely on each other quite a bit because there’s so much unknown of what’s going to be shown,” McNeely — who already has almost 50,000 followers on Instagram — said.

“Every time we need to have a girls thing... we just get together, we talk about our experience and we kind of heal through that,” she added. “Only we can really understand.”

Kyle Abrams and Salvador Perez on what surprised them most

Meanwhile, Abrams, the 29-year-old glazier, and Salvador Perez, a 31-year-old executive assistant, discussed what surprised them most about the reality show, especially after having watched season one. 

“For me personally, how shocking it was emotionally like the doors opening and you’re seeing that person and you’re like, ‘Oh my god’ and your mind is trying to put together the voice that you’ve been talking to this whole time and putting a face to them,” Perez — who got engaged to Mallory Zapata — explained. “You’re happy, you’re scared, you’re nervous, you’re shocked. It's you, and there’s nothing like it.”

Kyle Abrams.
Kyle Abrams.Ser Baffo / Netflix

For Abrams, he found that the entire show’s production and set most surprising.

“It was so real when you walked in, it was so silent, and you can hear the other person,” he explained. “But you are given nothing, you almost sometimes don’t hear emotion through the speaker, so it was really hard to gauge their tone and where they were coming from or if they were upset. So it was kind of difficult to interpret how somebody was feeling. It wasn’t as easy at it might seems when you see it on TV.”

The two contestants also had an opportunity to learn more about themselves through this experience.

Perez said that through “Love Is Blind,” he was able to discover what he was actually looking for in a partner.

“I feel like there are some questions and we just get so deep in those pods and we talk it all out," he explained. "We cry together, we laugh together. It made me look at dating much more differently and really created that safe space whenever you’re dating anybody. It made me think about my previous relationships and maybe how I messed up, too, so I had a lot to learn.” (Perez may have been referring to a previous relationship that came back to haunt him during his time on "Love Is Blind.")

Salvador Perez.
Salvador Perez.Ser Baffo / Netflix

Abrams learned an important lesson during his time on the show, explaining to TODAY, “What I learned is don’t put on an act.”

“I felt like I was really brash and vulgar and was trying to throw curveballs all the time, and I think that really intrigued a lot of my dates,” Abrams said. “They thought I was a wildcard… but I wasn’t going to lie and be like ‘Oh, I’m the honorable student. I’m the smartest on the bus.’ I was like, either you like me or you don’t. You can tell me how it is, and I’ll tell you how it is."