reality tv

"Of course I’m not OK." What no one tells you about going on reality TV.

Over a couple of months, we witnessed Ines Basic become the most-hated woman on Australian TV.

The 28-year-old was a contestant on Channel Nine’s Married at First Sight. Ines was initially matched with Bronson Norrish, but she decided he wasn’t right for her and that she “didn’t want to touch him”.

She then set her sights on Sam Ball, who’s currently matched with Elizabeth Sobinoff on the reality TV show.

The pair began texting, then they met up at a local pub and went back to Sam’s room to hook up.

Although we don’t yet know how much editing played a role in Ines and Sam’s “cheating scandal”, Australia was quick to turn on Ines and label her a villain. She’s been called narcissistic, trash, and a nymphomaniac.

People have commented on her appearance and her personality. They’ve said terrible things about her on Twitter and they’ve sent her the kind of direct messages no one would ever want to receive.

Now, months after her Married at First Sight experience ended, Ines is allegedly too scared to leave her house.

According to Woman’s Day, the reality TV contestant is struggling so much she’s become a recluse and she’s lost an incredible amount of weight.

Her story is not unique.

Listen to The Quicky on what life is really like after reality TV. Post continues after audio.

Last year, after he decided not to choose anyone during The Bachelor finale, Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins found himself in a dark place.

“You’re a jerk or you’re an absolute jerk,” he later told The Project, while trying to explain his decision.

Nick pointed out that no matter what you do on a reality TV show – or what decisions you make – you can easily be painted as the villain and you’re always going to be fodder for a social media pile on.

“I’ve been involved in some pretty high pressure situations, and high stress situations with rugby. I’ve played on the world stage, big crowds, you’ve got the public and the media all scrutinising every move you do on and off the field. I get it, I’ve lived like that,” he explained.

“This was a whole other beast, this thing. I’ve never been in a mental space as low as I have been on that show, especially towards the end of it.”

 

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To the best Dad I’ve ever had, happy belated Father’s Day! @thebachelorau

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But even the reality TV contestants who aren’t labelled villains, struggle to settle back into normal life after the cameras stop rolling.

Clare Verrall appeared on season two of Married at First Sight. She was matched with Jono Pitman, the guy who infamously said, “She’s not what I ordered” as she walked down the aisle.

Clare and Jono’s marriage was brief but turbulent, and it was far from what either of them had imagined when they signed up for the experience.

Now, Clare has spoken openly about her appearance on the reality TV show and the impact it had on her mental health, on Mamamia’s new daily news podcast, The Quicky.

Speaking to host Claire Murphy, the ex-reality star said she’d originally applied to be on the show in season one. But while she was selected by the producers, she decided to travel overseas instead.

She was then approached for season two and agreed to take part.

However, in the period between season one and season two, Clare was the victim of a terrifying random attack. A man grabbed her on the street, and although she managed to fight him off, the incident left her suffering serious PTSD.

As a coping mechanism, Clare took Valium and consumed a lot of alcohol while filming the second season of MAFS.

After an incident with Jono, Clare left the show early. She was thrown back into her normal life and left to cope with her new found fame, on top of her debilitating PTSD.

“People were really lovely,” she said. “But my thing was I was struggling with PTSD. People would come up and just hug me without asking me or saying anything. People would come up to me in the supermarket and say ‘Omg, it’s Clare’ and just grab me and take a photo.”

“Literally I had two panic attacks behind the bananas in Coles. It was really hard for me during that time, while I was in such a bad place.”

Clare said her life “spiralled” after her appearance on the show, and she wasn’t able to return to the job she had loved for two years.

“I actually spiralled right down. My family had to put me in a trauma facility for a month which cost them $30,000,” she told the podcast.

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“I was unable to work because I was such a mess, and I couldn’t afford psychology, so I ended up not being able to work for about two years.”

 

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The recruitment consultant, who says she didn’t go on the show for fame, also had to deal with the constant media coverage around her personal life. Clare said she became a target of the paparazzi trying to get unflattering images of her.

“I had like paparazzi on me. They would get these horrible photos of me,” she said. “I was just so distressed and depressed. I fell apart.”

Now, almost four years later, Clare’s life is finally returning to normal.

“I can go lots of days just being Clare,” she said.

“You go back to work and life does start to go back to normal, and that’s the best feeling on earth. I’m just starting to have that now.”

In Sam Frost’s season of The Bachelorette, David Witko was portrayed as the superficial, conceited villain, who was eliminated in episode two after a few ‘tense’ exchanges with Frost.

He was shown essentially ‘storming out’ after not receiving a rose, while the other bachelors looked on in shock. However, in the documentary Creating a Monster, David and others expose the misrepresentations that coloured their experiences on reality television.

David, for example, claims he hugged and said goodbye to all the other contestants before leaving. Clever editing created an entirely different narrative.

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“The one thing I hated most about people coming up to me after the show was, ‘Are you OK?’,” he tells filmmaker Gena Lida Riess.

“Like, are you for real? Of course I’m not OK. There’s people trying to like kill me online… After losing your job, and having it impact your modelling, and your whole family watching it… then a publication saying ‘The most hated man in Australia.’

“Yeah, I’m alright – not.”

 

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Road trips… #middleofnowhere

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David says his ‘character’ was formed immediately. He tells Reiss that on the first night of The Bachelorette, the contestants all brought along a gimmick or a gift for Sam Frost. Unlike others who presented her with an owl, or made her a rose from paper, David donated to BeyondBlue, and told her as soon as they met. This exchange was edited out.

In fact, a soon as David appeared on screen, he noticed “the music went from literally like twinkles to like hardcore base”. He says it was then that the people watching the show with him said, “David – you are literally f*cked”.

After going through the experience herself, Clare says there’s something we need to remember about the people we’re watching on our TV screens at night.

“These aren’t actors. You don’t get media training. You’re just thrown into it,” she said.

“A lot of the time the villains are the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and the heroes are just awful.”

Listen to the full episode of The Quicky and subscribe here

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