AUSTRALIA’S NO.1 SERIES, THE MOST TALKED ABOUT SOCIAL EXPERIMENT: MARRIED AT FIRST SIGHT IS BACK IN 2021
This year on Married at First Sight, Puerto Rican clinical sexologist Alessandra Rampolla joins relationship experts Mel Schilling and John Aiken in their endeavour to match hopeful new singles with the love of their lives.
Each couple will lock eyes for the very first time when they walk down the aisle on their wedding day, and from this moment onwards every aspect of their forming relationship will be under the microscope while all of Australia watches, as they experience the highs and lows of marriage at full speed.
Brides and grooms will be expertly matched in this extreme social experiment, and their relationships will be fast-tracked through challenges and romantic hurdles that haven’t been seen before in any season of Married at First Sight.
In 2021, the dating landscape has changed more than anyone could ever have expected. The new and unfamiliar “normal” for dating adds yet another challenge for the newlyweds to approach together, in the hope that it can bring them even closer.
Once again, the couples will all live under the same roof and have the chance to compare the highs and lows of their relationships at the highly anticipated and explosive dinner parties. And more than ever, the experts will hold the couples accountable for their actions at the weekly commitment ceremonies – where secrets are revealed and bombshells dropped.
Each newly married couple is ready to experience the highs and lows of their relationship in this pressure-cooker environment, baring all for all of Australia to see.
Alana, 30, QLD Teacher
Alana is an energetic, fast-talking teacher with a heart of gold. She is passionate about girl-power and empowering women, both in the classroom and in her own life.
She’s sensitive and emotional and takes things to heart, something she fears may have negatively affected her past relationships.
Alana always likes to communicate how she is feeling – which can sometimes be seen as a little intense or full-on. Her future partner will be loyal, honest, and also enjoy deep conversations.
Dedicated to her students, Alana works tirelessly as a teacher, which takes up a lot of her time, and finds it hard to date due to the long hours at work. She’s been single for three years.
Beth, 39, WA
Closing in on 40, Beth has always wanted kids and is sad she may not have enough time left, because she has a lot of love to give. She’s feeling the pressure to meet the right man to have a baby with.
Beth ideally wants to be matched with someone who also wants a family. She is committed and dedicated in a relationship, but when the love of her life broke her heart after nine years together she put up the walls, withdrew, and has been single ever since.
This woman with a graduate diploma in psychology is a deep thinker who is sensitive and emotional. A free spirit with a big heart, Beth comes to MAFS after really struggling to find “the one”.
Beth also has a silly, funny side and would love someone to laugh with and “take the piss out of”. She is searching for a down-to-earth, passionate partner
… with rugged Mick Fanning looks!
Coco, 30, NSW
Pilates Studio Owner
Coco is a gorgeous, boisterous Pilates instructor from Sydney who is very energetic and career driven.
Coco was married, but it fell apart after only six months because she always felt she was running second to her mother-in-law. She’s now looking to be someone’s absolute number one.
In the past she has chosen her career over relationships, because “your job is never going to wake up and tell you it doesn’t love you anymore”.
With a regimented lifestyle, health and fitness are very important to Coco, so her husband-to-be will need to be someone who understands her routines.
With a tendency to date younger men, she is looking for someone who is in the 25-35 age range and has a sense of humour.
Samantha, 31, ACT Property Developer
Strong and driven, this divorced single mum celebrated her 30th birthday already an owner of several businesses in her home town. Samantha has raised two sons while juggling her career as a successful property developer in a male-dominated industry.
She describes her looks as a “little bit of Aussie bogan” and is equally at home on the power tools or camping with her sons.
In relationships, she is the dominant one who is confident and knows what she wants in life and in a man – if they don’t tick all the boxes, she is out.
Her next husband won’t be a superficial type who only wants to date her looks and money. She is looking for someone who is honest, loyal and well established, with a “country old-school mentality”, and who will be a good role model for her sons.
Given that her parents didn’t like her ex-husband, her partner of 10 years (and didn’t attend her wedding), Samantha is hoping they will finally get to see her in a wedding dress.
Joanne, 39, VIC – Barber
Joanne wants more – to meet someone to share it all with.
She is a real go-getter, outgoing, adventurous and vivacious. Living in a very family-orientated area, Joanne finds it hard to meet single men. While she doesn’t have too many requirements for a partner, she would love to find someone who is funny and laidback.
Joanne is honest and direct with no filter. She says it like it is and confesses to having a short fuse and, at times, a jealous personality.
Belinda, 29, VIC Door-to-door Sales
Meet Belinda. She’s going on 30, confident, quirky – and has only been on three dates in her life. A door-to-door sales representative who lives with her cat, Belinda has never had a boyfriend or been in a relationship.
No wonder Belinda is looking for love. She has dreamed about her future husband and wedding day for a very long time.
Open-minded, ambitious and a little wacky, Belinda thinks she isn’t good enough for most men, based on her looks: “They don’t like my curly hair … guys tend to like tan skin and big boobs, which I’m not.”
She’s a keen dancer and horse rider, and her close-knit family are supportive of her MAFS journey. Belinda’s ideal partner will be a positive, accepting type of man who is honest, humble and comfortable in his own skin.
Booka, 31, WA Musician/Mental heath worker
Hailing from the wild west, Booka splits her time by touring with a heavy metal band as a singer and keyboard player
– and working in a psychiatric hostel, helping people with mental health issues integrate back into society.
With her passion for music, Booka jumped at the invitation to join the band Make Them Suffer. She follows a different lifestyle to her family of academics, who were not impressed when she dropped out of school.
With a touring schedule that puts her on the road for nine months of the year, Booka leads a very lonely life as a musician. Being single since 2016, when her last serious romance ended, she is now looking for a partner with whom she can be her own person with her own identity, as she has had a tendency to “lose” herself in previous relationships.
Melissa, 31, VIC Workplace Trainer
Melissa is a well-groomed, beautiful young woman who has had a stable job for 13 years – and unbelievably, has never been on a date.
Extremely shy and introvert, Melissa lives alone and is now desperate to find love and put an end to her loneliness. She has certainly tried to remedy her single status by plucking up the courage “to put herself out there” and go on dating apps, with no luck.
Embarrassed by the fact that she has never been on a date, Melissa is nervous to tell her future husband about this, hoping he won’t judge her on it.
Melissa is hoping to at last find a relationship in the MAFS
Rebecca, 27, WA Business Manager
Incredibly confident, direct and successful in her career, Rebecca is a force to be reckoned with.
After a 10-year relationship, she recently separated from her fiancé, an AFL player, after there was infidelity on both sides and knew their relationship was done for.
She’s extroverted, adventurous, and can be savage and stubborn. Her flirtatious ways and love of attention see other women being intimidated by her, according to Rebecca, who doesn’t like to apologise.
Rebecca is looking for a partner with good banter, cheek and attitude, and she has a list of physical attributes that tick her boxes. As long as her partner isn’t a lover of Netflix by night or an open-mouth food chewer, love may yet be found!
Brett, 31, VIC Student/Electrician
Brett is an electrician and psychology student with a real man-sized heart. He volunteers with the Salvation Army to assist the homeless, and his dream is to open a treatment centre to help the vulnerable.
When it comes to romantic love, Brett is looking for a naturally beautiful, funny, laidback girl. Thanks to a chance meeting with Gordon Ramsay, he now has a go-to meal to impress his dates. In his spare time he also makes funny videos in the kitchen, “Little Bretty Cooks”, or surfs and skates with the boys.
Most of his mates are partnered up with kids and Brett can’t wait to be a dad, because family is very important to him.
Bryce, 31, ACT Radio Announcer
This super-confident single is a great talker. An alpha- type male who can come across as cocky, Bryce is opinionated and outspoken, and it doesn’t bother him at all.
A footy bloke never shy to speak his mind, other guys tend to be intimidated by him. And if Bryce can see a way to benefit from that, he’ll use it.
Despite recently ending his engagement, Bryce says he’s ready to settle down and wants kids and “a white picket fence”. His ideal girl is adventurous, attractive and loves sport. He’s in the experiment to “do whatever it takes to make love blossom”.
Cameron, 32, VIC Crane Operator
People often mistake Cameron for a bit of a meathead due to his tattoos and shaved head, but this love- seeking crane operator is really just a “teddy bear”.
Single for two years since returning from working in the mines in Western Australia, he’s been enjoying catching up with friends and has put work before everything else but is now ready for a proper work/life balance.
Cameron is often put in the unromantic “friend zone” when dating, or self-sabotages, as he has trust issues after being cheated on in the past.
However, he is ready to marry and settle down with the next girl he meets and likes. Cameron feels financially stable enough to “marry someone tomorrow” and have children – he just needs some help finding the right girl.
Jake, 32, VIC
Ex-professional AFL player and now charming CEO of a mental health charity, Outside the Locker Room, Jake is an old-school type who grew up in the country with country manners.
Jake struggles to find a girl who doesn’t try to take advantage of him; he wants someone to love him for himself, not for who he is. Previously engaged, he ended the relationship when he realised he didn’t love her anymore.
Jealous of his siblings who have their own families, Jake is looking for a partner to settle down and have kids with ASAP.
James, 44, VIC
Prestige Car Company Owner
A successful businessman who surrounds himself with wealth and a luxury lifestyle, James, a divorced father of three, has been single and dating for a year.
James describes himself as a “cheeky chappy” and the ringleader of social groups.
With a love of luxury cars and designer clothes, James does his best to separate his wealthy lifestyle from the early days of dating, so that he can attract the “right type of woman”.
Confident in approaching and chatting up women, he wants to find someone with a huge passion and drive.
Jason, 35, QLD Construction Estimator
One of the boys and a true larrikin, Jason is your genuine life of the party. Still living the same bachelor lifestyle of his twenties, he is typically out on weekends with his mates for a big night.
But having noticed that he is one of the last in his group who is still single, Jason has realised that it’s time to leave the partying behind him and get serious about finding The One.
Jason is confident with the ladies but rarely finds a woman he could see a long-term future with – probably because all three of his ex-girlfriends cheated on him. Now he’s getting a bit desperate to find a long-term partner.
Jason’s mother has been trying to set him up and would love him to settle down. He’s searching for a girl with a sense of humour like him, and a relationship with the “spark that Hollywood makes movies out of”.
But the question remains – is Jason really ready to leave his party boy ways behind?
Patrick, 27, VIC Personal Trainer
Previously unlucky in love, Patrick is also looking to settle down and start a family.
Bubbly, friendly and upbeat, Patrick sees the positive in every situation. With a heart of gold, he believes laughter is the best medicine.
While he loves his work and tight-knit family and group of friends, living by himself has highlighted the fact that he is lonely, with a lot of love to give.
A fitness fanatic who also competes nationally in power lifting, Patrick loves to travel and wants a wife to continue his adventures with. His ideal girl would be loyal, caring and friendly, definitely not “fake” or “plastic” looking.
Rusell, 37, SA Diesel Mechanic
Your quintessential Aussie larrikin, always with a yarn or a joke to tell, Russell is happiest when he’s downing a beer and eating a steak.
Owning his own mechanic’s business and contracting in the mines, Russell works hard to distract himself. With all his mates married with kids, these days he finds himself without mates to go out with.
Russell, who desperately wants to start his own family, is super-close to the nephews he loves nothing more than to go dirt biking and camping with.
His last relationship was quite dramatic: he proposed to a stranger on a holiday in Las Vegas as a joke, she loved the gesture, and they started dating. Later on they did marry, but it only lasted a year.
Having been single for the last four years since the end of that marriage, Russell would love to find an active, fun-loving and adventurous partner.
Sam, 32, VIC
Construction/Clothing Brand Owner
Sam is a confident go-getter who is sarcastic, outspoken and calls a spade a spade.
While working in construction, he is also pursuing his dream of launching two fashion labels on the side.
Sam has been single for three years, concentrating on his career, with the result being his personal life has taken a hit.
Sam has high standards when it comes to women, knows what he likes and what he doesn’t, and isn’t afraid to say it. Despite a few long-term relationships, he hasn’t met the right girl yet and finds it hard to let anyone get close to him (except his dog).
So Sam is finally ready to meet someone and be a father with his ideal partner, someone having “good family values”, who has “had a crack at life” and chased a dream.
Alessandra Rampolla, a certified clinical sexologist from San Juan in Puerto Rico with over
20 years’ experience, joins Married at First Sight for its eighth season in 2021. Alessandra will bring her expertise in sexology, joining experts John Aiken and Mel Schilling to pair our brave singles from across Australia with the goal of creating perfect matches.
Alessandra began her career as a clinical sexologist counselling individuals and couples. She was educated in the United States, has a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, and holds a number of other degrees and certifications in the field of sexology.
Alessandra has brought her expertise in sexology to television since starting out on a news program in Puerto Rico. She has starred in various programs around the world, such as the international Emmy Award-nominated School For Husbands seen throughout Latin America and Sex Hospital in the UK. She has also been a regular guest on international shows like Dr Phil.
Alessandra has hosted her own radio show, is the bestselling author of five books, and maintains a close relationship with her fans, amassing over two million followers on social media.
She will bring her particular expertise in sexology to Married at First Sight to contribute to the complex mix of components that ensures marriages not only work but thrive in the long haul. Alessandra believes that sexual expression and compatibility are vital in building, nourishing and maintaining healthy, romantic relationships, and she is looking forward to guiding our participants as they balance this important factor in their brave quest for love.
John Aiken has been working in the field of relationships for over 25 years. He has successfully run a private practice over this time, giving out practical advice to singles and couples.
He thrives in his role as relationship expert on Married at First Sight and says: “I am thrilled to be back for my eighth season, as it gives me an opportunity to watch the new couples cope with the pressures of the experiment. I can give them support along the way, and of course hold them accountable when they fall into toxic patterns.”
As well as providing expert skills on Married at First Sight, he has hosted and provided expert commentary on a number of other TV shows, including ABC’s Making Couples Happy and Making Families Happy. He has appeared as the relationship expert on Nine’s Today show, Today Extra and A Current Affair, and is the weekly dating and relationship expert for 9Honey.
John is also a best-selling author and runs exclusive relationship retreats.
“This experiment is a chance for all our couples to learn about themselves as individuals, as well as how they operate within intimate relationships,” he says.
“Whether they find love or not, it gives all of them an experience that improves their overall understanding of what to do and what not to do with their romantic partner, now or in the future.”
Dating and Relationship Expert
Mel Schilling is a dating and relationship expert who is passionate about educating, motivating and inspiring people to be their best. She has the privilege of working with a variety of clients across all stages of life – from dating to relationships, parenthood, career and divorce.
She firmly believes that the number one ingredient for happiness is having great relationships, whether that’s with intimate partners, family, friends or work colleagues.
Of Married at First Sight, she says: “One of the great challenges for our couples is to let go of old behaviour patterns. When they enter the experiment, they have often been single for a long time and there are always underlying reasons for this. Our couples need to unlearn old habits, trust the process and take risks in order to learn new ways to not only communicate but also flourish in relationships.”
Mel has 20 years’ experience in both the corporate and therapeutic arenas. She has worked as a business and personal coach to people at all business levels, from graduates to C-suite professionals, and has operated across the Australasian and Middle East regions.
On a personal level, Mel spent 10 years as a single woman in the Melbourne dating scene before mastering online dating, meeting her partner at 40, heading down the IVF road and having a daughter at 42. In 2019, Mel and Gareth were married in Bali and now have a daughter, Maddie, who is six.