If you’ve watched Married at First Sight, then you know that it takes a lot of guts to agree to not only marry a stranger in your quest for love, but to do it all in front of a national audience.
It takes even greater guts to agree to do all of that on MAFS when you don’t know what to expect because you’ve never seen the show.
That is the situation Philly native Kristine Killingsworth is in. The 28-year-old, who works in real estate, was persuaded by a friend to sign up, and Kristine wasn’t opposed based on her dating experiences in the city. She was ready to be married, sooner rather than later, and was sold on the idea of getting matched by the show’s experts. Still, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t scared to do it.
We talked with Kristine, part of one of two Black couples being featured on the newest season of MAFS, to understand the dating scene in Philly, her nerves surrounding the premiere, and the motivation behind her decision to sign up for the show, especially as someone who hadn’t watched it before.
MadameNoire: What was the dating scene like for you in Philly?
Kristine Killingsworth: The dating scene in Philly? It was rough. You can go out if you want, but for me, I was a little busier. So of course, I fell into the apps like everyone else. The Tinder, the Plenty of Fish or whatever. But the guys never really seemed to quite match up to what you want. They faked a lot if that makes sense. They just really weren’t who they seemed to be. They would seem to want one thing, they were after another thing, or their backgrounds didn’t really check out. Or their personalities, they played themselves off as humorous but not really. Things just didn’t check out.
You’re 28, and some would say that’s relatively young to feel like you need to seek out help through this reality show. Why did you do it?
That’s pretty funny, I don’t really think 28 is that young to be completely honest. I think I’ve had good role models as far as marriages. They actually got married a little earlier, all the couples I know. It just felt like it was a good time. I’m in a good place in my career. I really had what I wanted out of life. I just needed that partner to do it with.
Are you nervous about the public profile that comes with the show? You work in real estate, probably have a good reputation and clients, and sometimes these shows come with a lot of chatter and criticism on Twitter and you never know how that can affect you personally or professionally.
Oh God, of course. I feel like not everyone is going to understand you. You’re going to have some people who completely understand and then you’re going to have people who are going to be opposed to you. It was really scary because I married a complete stranger. Who does that? So you have to tell your family, you have to tell your business and your co-workers, and then I have clients who find out. It’s really weird, and you never know what effect it’s going to have on them or if it’s going to affect your relationships. It was a really big risk, and it’s all still scary.
In your show profile, it said that you had to overcome some insecurities before taking part in the series. What were they and how did you work through them?
I don’t know how true the insecurities are. I always felt that was kind of like a weird portrayal. Maybe I do seem insecure in some aspects. I feel like we all are though because we’re single and we’re taking this big risk. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We could meet somebody we’re not going to like at all. We don’t have either a physical attraction, or emotionally we just can’t connect. Maybe we’re the ones someone isn’t attracted to, so there are a lot of insecurities that go into that, in that aspect. I don’t think that was quite my problem though. I thought I was actually a big risk-taker to be honest with you. Out of my group of friends, I’m someone who does a lot of dares. But I’m adventurous. It was a big risk, but I felt like it was worth it.
How did you cope with knowing that you were going to have to expose certain things about yourself personally? For instance, the sex life of the participants — whether or not they’re doing it — is often a big topic of conversation.
It’s a lot, I’ll be honest with you. You have to be 100 percent open and you’re pretty much like, “Holy sh-t, what did I get myself into?” At the end of the day though, it’s a process and it’s what you signed up for. You knew the cameras were going to be there, so whether you’re nervous or not, you kind of have to get over it ’cause people want to know what’s going on.
What do you want people to know about you before the premiere? The entire process can be difficult and elicit all sorts of reactions and emotions that can cause you to be judged by viewers. So what would you want to present to people about yourself before you’re presented?
I feel like I gave them what I gave, so I don’t really care how they portray it to an extent. But just know I’m a great person, I’m down to earth I guess, and I’m reasonable [laughs].
Are there any couples you’ve watched on MAFS, Black ones specifically, whose relationships you were inspired by and whose relationships you would run for the hills from?
I haven’t watched. One of my good friends actually watches this show. I had never heard about this show until I signed up. She pushed me to get on. I was like, alright, cool, I’ll check it out. I filled out the forms and here we are.
Wow! So you weren’t familiar with experts or anything?
I wasn’t familiar beforehand. I filled out everything and then I started watching a few episodes, but like, not really. It was really my friend who kind of talked me into it. But the fact that they had the experts is why I got sold on it.
Married at First Sight: Philly Season 8, which will feature four couples for the first time, will premiere January 1 with a Matchmaking Special at 8 p.m. on Lifetime. The special will be followed by a two-hour premiere at 9 p.m.
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