If there’s one thing that Australians love more than reality TV, it’s a villain. And not just any villain, but a built-for-purpose villain who comes delivered to us as a total package of witty banter, rude stares and general displeasure about everything and everyone that surrounds them.
Viewers love them as much as producers and in exchange for us slinging sometimes less than socially acceptable opinions about them at the television every week, we justify that in exchange, they become famous and launch their media careers. Don't they?
The short answer is yes and no. The longer answer is a little more complex.
For starters, what show you're on matters. A lot.
Listen to The Binge podcast's deep dive on Bachelor 'villain' Keira. Post continues after audio.
Generally, villains who are made from franchises such as The Bachelor (Keira and Laurina), The Bachelorette (Sam) and Big Brother (Tully Smyth) have a successful strike rate of carrying their fame on and turning it into a long-term thing that can be used for anything from complimentary brunches and invitations to the hottest openings to brand endorsements and future reality TV stints.
Since appearing on television, Smyth has amassed 227,000 Instagram followers, launched a blog and has been taken on by a management company. Johnston has landed a number of major modelling campaigns and both Keira and Laurina have appeared on seasons of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, trading their public personas for serious long-term monetary gain.
The other thing these people all have in common, though, is their youth, ridiculously Instagramable fashion sensibilities and... well, their Caucasianess.
For reality television stars like Andrea Moss of The Real Housewives of Melbourne, her media career not only imploded within weeks of being created but also died a swift, hate-fuelled death thanks to her on-air behaviour and treatment towards other members of the show.
A similar story can be told for WA friends Chloe and Kelly from the 2014 series of My Kitchen Rules, who have admitted to being cast as, and playing up to, the villain typecast. Not only did they face intense scrutiny and online abuse while the series was airing, but they were essentially never heard from again once the series ended and the next season premiered.
No red carpet events, no free products from local brands, no free holidays in exchange for some social media love.
This trend also carries over to 2017 House Rules contestants Fiona and Nicole and Kim and Chris (okay, just about every couple on the 2016 series of The Block, to be honest) who were all deemed to be the villains of their respective seasons by viewers and promptly forgotten from the circuit of Aussie television celebrities. The difference being though, these contestants actually experienced substantial financial incentives to take part in the typecast.
The lesson from all of this? If you want to make your media career count, all you need do is be young, attractive, photogenic, have a perfectly toned body and know how to take a mean selfie.
Oh, and be Caucasian, of course.