Why singles are saying yes to reality TV
HEIDI Latcham understands why people may baulk at the idea of marrying a stranger.
But the bubbly radio announcer says you shouldn't judge someone without walking in their shoes, or in her case stilettos.
The 38-year-old Sunshine Coast native, who most recently hosted a breakfast radio show on Townsville's Star 106.3, is one of 20 singles who have put their faith in three relationship experts to find their perfect match in the new season of Married At First Sight.
"When you've tried lots of things and when you are meeting people all the time but you're never meeting anyone to spend your life with, but all your friends are, it can become disheartening," she says.
"You do crazy things like go on a TV show to meet a husband; that's what you think is left to do. People can judge that but no one can walk in your shoes. I just felt like I had to do something."
Gympie plasterer Mick Gould, 31, has a simpler way of putting it: "It's like the lotto; you're not going to win the $170m if you don't put a ticket in it".
Both Queenslanders have taken the plunge, with viewers seeing them walk down the aisle in the reality dating show's dramatic first few episodes.
Mick had a close call with a boisterous best man and some protective in-laws on Tuesday, while Heidi fell head over heels for Gold Coast sparky Mike Gunner last night.
While the MAFS experiment has had some success, producing one stable couple and a baby, none of the couples from last year's season, which was rocked by a cheating scandal and partner swapping, lasted the distance.
"I'd only watched season five, so I was so nervous and I didn't apply until the last minute," Heidi says.
"But the thing is I've got one life. I'm 38, single and while it's fun to be the single auntie and everything, I'm just over it."
Tonight, viewers will see the first four couples, including Heidi and Mick, go on their honeymoons. It will be their first chunk of alone time, if you don't count the cameras, to get to know their new partners.
For the next few months, their love lives will be in the spotlight on one of the most talked-about TV shows of the year. Their struggles and triumphs will be talking points in lounge rooms and on social media.
"I don't know how to prepare for everyone else watching it," Heidi says. "I'm nervous, excited, anxious, but I'm just going to go with the flow.
"It's our lives but it doesn't feel like people are going to be watching it yet."
Married At First Sight airs tonight at 7.30pm and then continues Sundays to Wednesdays on Nine.