Married at First Sight participants are notoriously under tight contracts which forbid them from speaking out but today Lauren Huntriss spoke to KIIS FM about behind the scenes manipulation and her portrayal in the series.
She revealed Instagram accounts of contestants were controlled by the show.
“We have to send them what we want to post and they will approve it, and the caption that goes with it,” she told Jackie O & Beau Ryan.
“You can’t have random people comment on your post unless you follow them.”
“So it’s ‘You are who we say you are?'” Ryan asked. “Not who you are exactly?”
“Yes exactly,” she replied.
Last night Media Watch noted participants have a clause in their contracts which bans them from “criticising, disparaging or denigrating” the program or anyone associated with it and prevents them from doing any media work for up to two years without Nine’s approval.
Lauren also hit out at her portrayal on the show, saying she was told to use the word ‘lesbian’ when describing a former relationship after dating women due to bad experiences with men.
“I was like, ‘I’m not ok with that. I don’t want to us that word. I don’t label myself as a lesbian,'” she said.
“It didn’t feel right. But when you are sleep deprived, under all this pressure, you’ve got 2 cameramen there, a producer, and you all sort what Matt was like -he never really stood up for me. So it was all of these men against me. At the end of the day if that’s what’s going to get this over with, then I’ll say it.”
Lauren also expressed anger over feeling like she had been portrayed as a “nympho” matched with a virgin.
“I was talking to Matt about some of my friends who are married and are into swinging … and I said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with that, everyone in relationships have different desires and needs, but it’s not for me’ “she said.
“I was never, ever proposing to Matt that we swing or have a threesome, I was essentially trying to say, ‘This is what some couples do’. All I asked for was for him to be more dominant and show me affection, and that wasn’t asking too much.”
She acknowledged she has batted anxiety for 6 years and also raised questions around the mental health of some contestants.
“I just feel like certain people with these mental health issues shouldn’t be put on a show like this. Even though it was our choice in the end, surely they have a duty of care to say ‘You know what, I don’t think this person’s going to cope.’
“I’m like a mess… I’m just grateful I have a really good support network. Work has been really supportive… family and friends.”
“I feel like I don’t matter… see you, bye!” she said.
Nine and Endemol Shine Australia have previously indicated the show has behind the scenes psychologists separate to those who appear as talent.
An Endemol Shine Australia spokesperson said, “All participants are adults and remain in full control of the choices they make. They choose to apply to be on the show, choose to accept selection, and choose whether or not to continue in the experiment. During broadcast, we continue to reach out to every participant, including Lauren. They may choose not to respond to our contact and offers of support, and we respect their decision.
“But the offer of support remains for each and every participant. This always includes access to our show psychologist. Everyone makes their own decision about what they say and do. But, this experiment can be highly emotional and the participants’ reactions can often be unpredictable, even to themselves.”
“If anyone’s seen UnREAL they know what goes on,” Lauren said today.