Married at First Sight has smashed ratings and created a whole new legion of Reality TV addicts with its latest season. With jaw-dropping moments coming thick and fast, absolutely everybody was talking about it week after week.
In Season 3, Andy Ankers and his ‘husband’ hit headlines for being the first same-sex couple on the show, right in the middle of the political nightmare that was the Marriage Equality debate. Some slammed it as a publicity stunt by Nine and members of the LGBTQI community were outraged that at a time of such gross inequality, a same-sex couple was being used as a pawn in the chase for ratings gold.
But Andy remained steadfast in his quest for love, declaring, “I think you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.” I caught up with him to find out some of the things we are desperate to know. And to ask, among other things, “What the Far Kew doing now?”
Why did you think it would be a good idea to look for love on a TV show?
I endured two failed long-term relationships prior to applying for MAFS and was damaged. I had given up on finding love. Not sex! I thought long and hard about applying and I reasoned that if I had ‘experts’ looking for love for me and knowing that most arranged marriages work, what did I have to lose. The trade-off between having to do it on TV was worth it.
How much of what we see is actually real vs scripted or ‘led’ conversation?
None of Married at first sight is scripted. You really can’t make some of that shit up! Of course, it’s stage-managed, they need to arrange the wedding venues, honeymoons, dinners and scenes so as they can pull the format together. But I assure you, not one word was put in my mouth.
Were you ever made to re-do a scene to suit the narrative the producers had in mind?
We did everything three times! Mainly so as they could get the right angles to edit everything together. In terms of narrative, as I’ve said, the show isn’t scripted.
Do you feel like you came across on-screen as you are in everyday life? Or was it totally edited for drama?
Although I was grateful that I was edited in a good light, it could have been a lot worse. I am nothing like the person that they turned me into. I’m a lot worse!
How much did you get paid?
You don’t get paid to be on the show. We were provided pocket money during the honeymoon and a small allowance weekly to pay for things that they want to film you doing. Food shopping, dinners etc. Sadly, I didn’t get that far!
How long after the show are you bound by a contract, in terms of what you’re allowed to say?
We’re not allowed to do any media for 3 months after the show and anything done whilst the show is on air is tightly managed. I am NEVER allowed to give up its secrets. THERE ARE MANY!
How long was the process, from auditions to the final screening of the show?
It took about a year from sending my application and video bio to when the first episode aired. The application and interview process took about six months, then we filmed some background scenes, wedding shopping etc. and then the big day arrives and goes in the blink of an eye. It took 20hrs to film the wedding day.
How do the producers protect you from social media trolls/bullies/stalkers? Did you have any nasty experiences?
We were told that we weren’t allowed to be on social media. I explained that I had to due to having friends and family living all over the world and especially Facebook being an easy way to stay in contact en masse. I created a new profile and only had a select few friends and family members.
When the show aired, there was quite a lot of trolling and general nastiness from those that didn’t approve of two gay people being on the show in the middle of the marriage equality debate. I mentioned this to Channel Nine and they released a social media video of the reasons why I applied. It’s still my favourite piece from the whole experience. The tone of voice changed after that.
Was going on the show worth it? Would you recommend it to a friend?
I learnt a lot about myself prior to going on the show, I also learnt a lot about my friends and acquaintances once the show aired. Some people gravitated towards me and I also lost a few friends, that was the most difficult part, losing what I thought were really good friends. In fact, a few of them were my wedding guests!
I wouldn’t recommend going on the show in its current format. The experiment failed, only one couple from all of the past series are still together. That says failure to me. Channel Nine have turned what could have been an honest experiment into Big Brother on steroids.
If you had your time again, would you do anything differently? Do you regret going on the show?
If I was to do it again, I would have shared the physical and mental qualities that I look for in a partner. However, I left that up to the ‘Psychologists’, as MAFS is an experiment, I wanted to leave the matching up to science. I don’t regret going on the show, but if asked again, I would do things differently.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying, in the genuine hope of finding true love?
I truly believe that when I applied to become a part of the ‘experiment’, that the producers wanted to help people find love. I don’t believe that I would have got through the process if I just wanted to be on TV. The vetting process is quite intense and we’re put through several stages of psychological testing.
I was willing to give it a go if there was a possibility of them finding me my forever person. Sadly, I think ratings are more important now and the show is much more intense. My advice to anybody considering applying would be to try Tinder, Grindr, eHarmony, friends, the local pub or walking down the high street totally naked before applying. You would probably have more luck…
Are you still in contact with anyone from the show?
Absolutely, I’m friends with most of the people on MAFS, especially Jess & Keller. We meet up from time to time. Keller has spent a few nights on my sofa!
Did doing this show impact your employment afterwards?
Not at all. In fact, most of my clients were glued to the show and complimented me on how I conducted myself. Those that didn’t know I was gay certainly did afterwards…
Who was your favourite from this year? Least Favourite? Have you been watching?!
I’ve been glued like 2.2 million other Aussies. Ryan was by far my favourite, he could be the next Bachelor, he’s handsome, down to earth and funny. I think that Davina has a lot to answer for, her behaviour was abominable. We can put some of that down to editing, Let’s say 1% and the other 99% is nasty to the bone.
What the Far Kew doing now? Did you go back to normal life or change direction?
Normal life came back quickly. I was back at work the day after returning from my honeymoon. I came into a bit of cash and took six months off work to travel and enjoy myself. I’m now working with a new advertising agency, winning some great accounts and working with a brilliant bunch of talented creatives. Dean need not apply!
I’m still looking for love, can you pass my number on to Ryan, please! x