If you’re like millions of people in this country since February 13, you’ve probably tuned into Netflix’s newest hit Love Is Blind and become addicted. It’s a trainwreck of a dating show at times, but you just can’t look away. And for all of the drama and struggles that the couples go through, there are a few who we watch flourish in the experience. One couple, for example, is Lauren Speed and her beau, Cameron Hamilton. After meeting and falling in love fast in the pods, the two, like everyone else, had only a few weeks to strengthen their connection enough to make it to the altar. If you tuned into the finale [SPOILER AHEAD], then you know that Lauren and Cameron did indeed both say “I do.”
But that was a long time ago. The series was filmed back at the tail end of 2018, and as of more than a year later, Lauren and Cameron are still married and in in love. At least, that’s what she told me during our phone conversation. Lauren says there connection has grown, and so has his connection to her family. Despite the whirlwind of an experience that it was filming the show, it worked out perfectly for her, and she told me more than once, she’s grateful.
Check out our chat about her falling head over heels fast, overcoming cold feet, and why it was so important for her to stay authentically herself, and authentically Black while navigating her first interracial relationship.
MadameNoire: We wanted to know, how did you find out about the chance to try and find love on a show like this?
Lauren Speed: So it was through a casting director looking for people who were possibly interested in doing a dating show about finding love in a not-so-traditional type of way. I was basically drawn to it because of the premise of the show. Dating someone through a wall seems weird, right? But I was actually drawn to it because I feel like, nowadays, it’s so hard to really connect with people. They don’t know how to have a conversation, right? We’re so used to the text world and media and dating apps. So I was really drawn to the fact that I could connect with someone on a deeper level and literally look past all the aesthetics of it and get down to the nitty gritty. The real stuff that matters.
We were like, was this on like Craigslist?! How did this get around? [laughs]
Girl, nah! [laughs] It was just online. There’s always castings for different shows, especially being in Atlanta. It’s always something going on here. Luckily the opportunity found me and the rest is history!
Going into it, were you fully expecting that if you met someone, he would be a Black man or did you go in and you were really fully open to whatever?
I was really open, honestly. I had never dated outside of my race before but I wasn’t going to let that limit me in case I did make a connection with someone who wasn’t Black. For me, the most important thing was connecting with someone who I felt like I could see longevity with, regardless of their race. I would say I didn’t have any preconceived notions going into it.
Obviously you and Cameron hit it off pretty hard in the beginning, which I felt was a common occurrence for most of the ladies. You guys were head over heels and then you were all dealing with cold feet as you got closer to the wedding. You couldn’t even tell Cameron you had a good feeling that you would say yes to marrying him. Why were you unsure all of a sudden? Was it because the reality that this would be a real marriage hit you?
Yeah! All the above. For me, I take marriage real seriously, regardless if it’s a TV show or not. We’re talking about a legal marriage on paper and that’s not something that I take lightly. Just coming to terms with the timeline we were in, I was still in super strong feelings with Cameron and the feelings were reciprocated, but I think that I would have been doing myself a disservice if I hadn’t stopped and really thought about what I was doing. I was just really transparent about that whole time and experience and thought process during the show. I told him, “I can’t give you an answer because I’m scared! I’m nervous.” I didn’t want to say something and then turn around and not do it so it was really important for me to communicate that with him, how I was feeling, that I was nervous and I was getting scared and cold feet. It was a scary thing. So I just wanted to be honest and authentic about my whole thought process throughout the experience.
What was adjusting to married life like once the cameras cut off? This is different from Married at First Sight, which the people behind this show also produce. They have experts who guide couples for eight weeks. You all went through this thing seemingly on your own in a matter of a few weeks. So was it an easier or tougher transition then?
I did go through a hard time right after the show because it was such a drastic change in my life. Like I said numerous times on the show, I had been alone for a long time. I was really used to having my own space and I was set in my own ways, so having to do a complete 180, for me it was definitely a transition. Cameron was very patient with me throughout that time. Even just coming off something like filming a show like this, which is so emotionally deep, and like you said, we didn’t have therapists throughout that, so it’s something I really had to work through myself. I had to adjust to a lot of things. As I said on the show also, I’ve never seen a successful marriage. My parents are divorced. So I kind of had to learn how to be a wife. I had to still learn how to double my personal time and be strong on my own and also grow into this partnership and share a space. That’s a lot to go through and transition into, but that’s also a good reason then that we had this buffer time in between the show coming out. We needed that time to grow into each other and reflect on everything and get comfortable with our experience and our relationship before the hot light hit us. So that’s why I can talk about that type of stuff in this interview now because I had that time to go through that transition. I’m grateful for it.
How is the relationship between Cameron and your dad these days?
Aw man, Cameron and my dad are super close. That’s his son, you know what I mean? My dad comes over about once a week, usually on Sundays and we cook and eat. We play music, we play with the dog. It’s just like any other family. They’re good so it’s awesome. We’re continuing to grow and flourish every day. My dad is actually about to come over here now and eat some dinner and watch the finale episode together. It’s great, man. It’s like my two favorite guys. I’m in heaven. I love it.
Did you ever give up your apartment?
You know what? I kept the apartment for three months after the show wrapped. It was for that bumper, transition time, but after that three months, I gave it up. I let it go.
As you mentioned earlier, you found out about the opportunity to be on this show way before it was really anything back in 2018 after learning about it online. What would you say to people who might say you all did this for clout or for an opportunity to get on? How do you respond as someone who obviously got married and stayed married?
I’m sure there are some people who that was the reason they were drawn to the series, but let me tell you, I’m not marrying nobody for clout. I can get clout on my own, chile. I don’t need to sign a piece of paper to do that, honey. For me, the experience was very real, very genuine. I never really wanted to do reality shows because you see the stuff that’s out there now. It’s always some women being catty and women aren’t always depicted well. I never really saw myself doing reality TV so surprisingly when this came up, I was drawn to it. I just so happened to do it, and it just so happened to become #1 [laughs]. Luckily I had a great experience and it was authentically my experience. I’m blessed for that, because a lot of people don’t get that opportunity. I’m grateful.
Any couple you went through this process with that you were shocked didn’t make it?
Not really because I feel like it’s a tough thing. I’m surprised that two couples even made it that far because it is kind of not the typical, traditional thing. You do have to be a special kind of person and you do have to have a super special type of connection to do something like this so I’m really not surprised. I feel like the people who were open and vulnerable enough to pursue it and go for it and really be married and try to be married now, those are the people who should have made it and continued.
What did you think of Carlton and Diamond’s drama with his sexuality and her response to it and the chaos that ensued with that?
Oh, girl. I thought it was really unfortunate. I wish they could have communicated better without it blowing up and the fighting. Unfortunately it didn’t go that way, but I really wish them both the best. Individually, my experiences with him have been super nice, but as a couple it ain’t gon’ work with them, chile! It’s real unfortunate that it had to come to that on TV, but I will say that Diamond killed me with those Beyoncé lyrics. I was like, okay! Well, quote Beyoncé then, girl!
[Laughs] Right! Lastly, people have applauded you online because you’ve stayed very authentically you and in that way, very authentically Black, while trying to navigate an interracial relationship. You wore a bonnet on the honeymoon, you worried about what fellow Black people might think and say. It wasn’t like you came in there like, “I’ve always struggled with Black men!” or some of the stuff people do and say when they feel like they need to justify their romantic choices. Why was that so important for you to do?
That was extremely important to me just because Black people represented in the media, especially on reality TV, a lot of people are put into a box. Like I said, it’s always catty and fighting and what have you. It was so important to me to be super transparent in this experience with how I was feeling and what I was going through in the experience. How I was feeling as a Black woman. What would my peers think? These are real concerns, even when it came down to me kissing him. That’s a real thing! The bonnet even, I just wanted to be authentically me, authentically Black and I wasn’t going to tone that down because my connection was with a white man. I really wanted him to accept me for who I was authentically. Even if he was a Black man, I would have done the same thing. Just being able to represent that for so many women — I’ve gotten so many messages from people saying, “Man, it’s so refreshing to see a woman like you on TV,” because we don’t see that! So, I’m grateful that Netflix and Kinetic Content really stayed authentic to my story. They didn’t try to water it down. They didn’t try to edit it to make it seem like it was a certain way, so I’m grateful for that. I was really authentically me.
Lauren and Cameron weren’t just our favorites on Love Is Blind. Hit the flip to see all of the people who ended up falling in love with their love this season: