reality tv

Limited alcohol and strict lockdown periods: The intense rules reality TV stars have to follow.

In a landmark case, a former reality TV contestant has won compensation after being portrayed as a “villain” and a “bully”.

Nicole Prince, who appeared on Channel Seven’s renovation reality show House Rules in 2017, claimed that she had been traumatised psychologically following her appearance on the show.

Nicole, who competed on season five of House Rules, claimed that she was “harassed and bullied throughout filming” and struggled to find work after she was “portrayed as a bully” on the show.

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Speaking to Mamamia, former Big Brother contestant Tully Smyth weighed in on the case.

“I can’t say I’m surprised,” Tully told Mamamia.

“I think we’ve all seen this brewing for quite a while but to have the ruling be in favour of the contestant? That was a bit of a shock,” she added.

It’s believed the ruling could now open a Pandora’s box for other reality TV contestants to seek compensation.

“I can think of countless ex-reality TV contestants who probably would have sued had they known that this was possible,” Tully added.

“I reckon we’ll even see people from shows that don’t even air anymore – from five or even 10 years ago – to come forward.”

The rules reality TV contestants have to follow.

As part of Nicole’s case to the Worker’s Compensation Commission, a list of bizarre rules from the set of House Rules were released.

Although from the outside, reality TV can look like a breeze, the contestants are subject to some pretty intense rules.

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According to documents shared by the Daily Mail, contestants weren’t allowed to socialise with other contestants on the show unless they were in the presence of producers and/or camera crews.

They also had to share their whereabouts with the producers at all times and were unable to remove their microphone under any circumstances.

In another bizarre rule, wearing sunglasses and playing music were also banned – unless contestants received permission from producers.

Here are just some of the other rules that contestants have to follow on reality TV:

Australian Survivor

Speaking to Mia Freedman on No FilterAustralian Survivor winner Pia Miranda shared some of the behind-the-scenes rules on the show.

While opening up about the boredom that came with playing the game, Pia shared that before and after challenges the contestants had to “sit in a chair and not look at each other or talk for between one or two hours”.

If they tried to even so much as “give each other eyes”, Pia said they were yelled at by minders.

Pia Miranda won this season of Australian Survivor. Image: Network 10.
Pia Miranda won this season of Australian Survivor. Image: Network 10.

Behind the scenes, there is also a huge crew on the reality show.

"There are so many cameras and so many people, you walk up to the challenges and there’s almost 100 people," Pia said.

"But they don’t talk to you, so at the end of the 50 days I walked up and introduced myself to the camera crew because I didn’t know them."

Love Island

While Love Island looks like one giant summer romance on screen, behind the scenes, contestants are subject to lots of strict rules.

Although the islanders have no contact with the outside world while they're in the villa, they actually enter a 'lockdown period' with no access to their phones or the internet three days before they even go on the show to prepare them.

During their time on the show, contestants are also banned from leaving the villa.

"I don't know if you know but production are very strict; we couldn't even get a f***ing pregnancy test if we wanted!" former contestant Erin Barnett told Now To Love.

Josh and Amelia had a chance to leave the villa for a date, last season. Image: Channel Nine.

To prevent further access to the outside world, the islanders are also banned from chatting to crew members on set.

"The only contact with the outside world the Islanders have is with a handful of crew – none of who are permitted to interact with the Islanders at all," the show’s executive producer, Alex Mavroidakis, told Nine last year.


Instead, the contestants can go to the Beach Hut, where they can talk to the producers at any time.

"The Beach Hut is the most important room in the Villa. Islanders can go there 24 hours a day to discuss their feelings and ask for basic things like Panadol if they have a headache etc," Mavroidakis explained.

But even then, the islanders can't actually see the producer they are speaking with.

Sounds... intense.

Big Brother

Much like Love Island, Big Brother contestants are also in lockdown during their time on the show.

Writing for Mamamia, former contestant Tully Smyth shared that contestants on the show were in lockdown for 10 days prior to entering the Big Brother house.

Tully Smyth appeared on Big Brother in 2013. Image: Instagram.

"For 10 days, all 20 of us were holed up in different rooms at The Hilton Hotel on the Gold Coast, each with our own chaperone and loved one of our choice," she explained.

"We are minded from 8am-6pm, and they basically did our grocery shopping for us, made sure we didn’t escape or accidentally meet any of the other housemates prematurely," she added.


"We weren’t allowed our phones or access to TV or radio so it was a lot of reading and watching DVDs."

According to Tully, contestants also aren't allowed to leave the house at any time – besides to go to the Rewards Room or Showdown arena – and smoking was banned.

"To say we felt like rats in a cage would be an understatement!" Tully said.

The contestants also had access to a plastic folder full of the 'house rules' while they were living in the Big Brother house.

"Sometimes Big Brother would make us all sit down and have a bit of a refresher," Tully told Mamamia.

"[The rules] were mainly about what we can and can't talk about (we weren't allowed to discuss the audition process) and how we were to behave in the house (zero violence policy etc)."

The Bachelor franchise

the bachelorette australia 2019 premiere
The Bachelor franchise also comes with rules. Image: Channel Ten.

In The Bachelor franchise, contestants are also subject to strict rules.

On Bachelor in Paradise in particular, there's a 'drinking rule' enforced.

According to the Daily Telegraph, a spokesperson for the show said Bachelor in Paradise Australia contestants were only allowed two drinks per hour, and only after midday and if they’d eaten breakfast that morning.


Just like most capital cities in the early hours of Sunday morning, single alcoholic shots were also off-limits and had to be paired with a mixer.

The publication also reported a psychologist was on hand 24 hours a day should any of the contestants want to talk, and all contestants were provided with sunscreen, insect repellent, hydra-lines, non-alcoholic drinks and food at all times.

bachelor in paradise australia instagram
Alcohol is restricted on Bachelor In Paradise. Image: Channel Ten.

On The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, contestants are reportedly forced to practice abstinence.

"You’re not allowed to get it on. There’s no sex allowed on set," Grant Denyer shared last year.

On Bachelor in Paradise, sex is allowed, but a consent camera is used.

“You have to announce to the whole crew that you’re about to do it and they go, ‘bring in the consent camera,'” he said.

“And they bring in a consent camera where you go to confess to everybody on production that ‘I consent to doing this,’ before you actually do it in front of everyone."

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