Since the conclusion of Netflix’s Love Is Blind on Thursday, fans have been recovering after finally learning which couples were married and which ones decided not to tie the knot.
We caught up with Mark Cuevas, the 24-year-old fitness instructor and “hopeless romantic” who was left at the altar by Jessica Batten, the indecisive bride-to-be, and Lauren Speed, the kind-hearted content creator whose romance with scientist Cameron Hamilton was a fan favorite. They answered some burning questions in a phone interview with BuzzFeed News on Thursday afternoon.
What was the most difficult thing about keeping quiet about this experience for two years?
Mark: It was just so intense that I think having a year and a half to reflect on it — I mean, it was a perfect amount of time because if it had been sooner, I don’t know if I would’ve been as introspective.
Lauren: Wow, it’s definitely been tough because you want to share things with the people around you, like your close friends and family. But you had to keep it mum, especially on social media, and things like that were tough for me.
Why did each of you decide to go on the show?
Mark: I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic. I wear my heart on my sleeve. So it’s like one of those things where I viewed it as you could find the love of your life. And if you don’t, you don’t, but I went into it being 100% myself. I think everyone is looking for that kind of love and for someone to grow old with.
Lauren: I decided to go on the show just because my dating life wasn’t really going anywhere. And I had these constant failed romances so I was really intrigued that I would be able to date someone and it wasn’t just based on physical appearance, but based on something deeper. I could really make a connection with somebody outside of just being cute or attractive. Because I feel like that’s kind of hard to find nowadays. We’ve become a shallow society with the internet and social media and dating apps so I was really drawn to that aspect of the show.
“We would be in those pods for hours every day. Even up to 16 hours, 18 hours a day. I know that sounds ridiculous, but that is accurate.”
What was the audition process like?
Mark: You had to get almost as vulnerable as you were in the pods, ya know, with a producer or with someone that was asking questions. Because I think they really were trying to find authentic people that were just themselves, and I think that they did.
Lauren: It was actually like a casting process. Once [the producers] figured you were interested in the show, we had to take a psych exam, we had to record a video explaining our personalities, and the stuff we were looking for — and then I guess as you went further and further in the process, if you moved on, you were selected and you were chosen for the show.
Have you been watching the show? Was anything edited in a way that felt misleading to you?
Lauren: I have been watching the show and I wouldn’t say it was misleading, but I think that my father came across like, Oh, I don’t like him because he’s white, and that wasn’t even really the case. My dad was just concerned with his daughter going on a show, meeting a man through a wall, as any protective father would be. He wanted to make sure whoever this person was that they were the right person for his daughter. So in some ways, I thought that came across a little cloudy.
Mark: My number one rule throughout this whole process was just be 100% myself. You know, looking back at it, it’s weird. The weirdest thing is just seeing myself on camera. You know what I mean? I think that’s the only thing where I’m like, I’ve never been on camera before. I’ve never done, like, anything video live. Honestly, for me, I think it was just an adjustment.
Has anyone recognized you in real life?
Lauren: Yeah, recently, I guess, like in the past couple of weeks. People just yell out “love is blind.” Even there’s been some stuff floating around on the internet like people taking photos of the back of my head walking through the supermarket. What? They could have at least come up and said hi. It’s been kind of crazy. And the crazy thing about reality TV is that it’s such a brief part of your life that you’re sharing with the world, and people come up to you and it’s like they know you already. It’s a weird feeling having someone who you don’t know anything about coming up and know everything about you and want to talk about it.
Mark: I’ve definitely had people come up and say, “Can I take a selfie with you?” You kind of forget that you did the show when I’m just living my day to day life and then I’m like wait, what, someone wants to take a selfie with me? This never happened before. It’s been pretty cool.
Is there a deeper intensity to the pods than the edit makes out?
Lauren: Oh, absolutely. We would be in those pods for hours every day. Even up to 16 hours, 18 hours a day. I know that sounds ridiculous, but that is accurate. We were talking for like 10 days. So imagine the amount of things you would talk about for 10 days, on multiple days for that long. It was definitely intense especially talking about topics as deep as we were so it was definitely emotional, intense, and all of the above.
Mark: There was a lot more humor. It’s hard to condense everything. I’m a lot funnier, and I know there was so much content to try to get into an episode so they didn’t get all my TV jokes.
Are you surprised at how well the show has done?
Lauren: I would say pleasantly surprised. I mean, whenever you put yourself out there with your truth and your testimony and your story, you always hope it’s going to be well received by the world, but you never know. So to just see the outpouring of support even to get the show to the point where it’s like a number one show is amazing. So we’re definitely grateful.
Mark: It’s the first season of this so you can’t really predict how people were going to receive it, ya know? It could’ve gone really well or it could’ve gone really poorly. But the fact that people have been so supportive of this entire thing has been really amazing because I think we were all just authentic and I think people related to a lot of castmates and it’s such a blessing. I’m so thankful.
Questions for Mark
Has watching the show given you any closure about what happened with Jessica?
This whole experience was very, very intense. People are just trying to figure it out. I said it in the show: She’s gonna be her and I’m gonna be me and we’re gonna move forward. And I think no matter what, I have never had any ill will. I think the closure happened over the year and a half [since filming].
Are you currently single?
You gotta wait for the reunion to find out. I don’t want to spill all the tea.
Have you spoken with Jessica since the show wrapped?
Yeah, we have. We’re friends. It’s one of those things where you go through this entire intense experience with someone. It’s almost like they can’t not be part of your life. We’re cool. She’s doing her thing, and I’m doing mine.
Were you having your own misgivings while she was sharing hers?
I mean, no one’s ever done this experience before. I can say that multiple times, but I fell in love with how we felt in the pods. I’m a fighter. I’m a person that puts his heart on his sleeve. I love really hard, and for me, it was one of those things where I took it day by day.
What has life been like for you since the show started airing? Have people been reaching out?
Life’s good. I’m still the same old Mark. I’m working toward my career which is fitness and helping people in that sense, and ya know I’m just taking it day by day and being myself.
Do you wish you made different choices while on the show?
No, because I feel like everything that happened on the show happened for a reason, and I think that applies to everything in life. I’ve become the man I am today, the communicator, the son, the brother, whatever title, the friend, that I need to be in order to find love or just be a better friend and a better person.
How is your mom doing?
My mom is amazing as always. She’s doing great.
Is there anything you’d like to add that didn’t come up?
I really hope that people take us for who we are. We’re real people who went through real-life problems in just a short amount of time, but that doesn’t take away the fact that other people are dealing with the same things and decisions and emotions every day.
Questions for Lauren
Did you and Cameron have an additional wedding after the show?
We did not have an additional wedding.
Are you and Cameron still together?
You have to watch the reunion. [Editor’s note: Speed recently told the New York Post that she and Cameron are “happily married, with a little fur-baby puppy.”]
Lauren, do you feel like the interracial aspect of your relationship with Cameron was more of an issue for you than it was for him?
It actually wasn’t really an issue for me. It was something that I knew had to be addressed, and it had to be addressed honestly and without trying to protect each other’s feelings or walking on eggshells. But for me, it was never something I thought would stop us from being together.
What has the process of being on the show taught you about marriage?
Wow, a lot. It taught me that you really have to open yourself up to people to be loved properly and to love them properly. It also taught me that sometimes you have to step outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes it might not always be comfortable but that’s what makes something grow and flourish and that’s important.
If your father disapproved, would you have canceled the wedding immediately?
No, absolutely not. I really wouldn’t even expect my father to disapprove because he trusts my character and who I picked to be married to. But even if he did, and there was someone who I was really in love with and I felt like I wanted to move forward with that person, I would do it because that’s a decision you have to make for yourself. Even though we value the opinions of our family, we don’t sleep in a bed with them every night. So sometimes you have to do what makes you happy outside of other people’s opinions.
Did you keep your apartment?
No, actually the apartment is gone. It’s gone.
Have there been any negative reactions to you’re being with a white man?
Actually, no. It’s been all super supportive. Everyone’s giving me nothing but love and support throughout this whole process, and if there is, it’s like a small sliver and usually that person gets attacked. So I really don’t see it, to be honest.
Does Cameron still rap for you occasionally?
That is so funny. You know, Cameron loves music and every now and then he may rap here and there.
I loved the moment in the show where you were dancing while Cameron rapped to your mom. It was so cute.
Oh yeah, I was a hype person. I was like, Hey, if we’re gonna do this, let’s go all in. So I did a little shimmy, a little shake.
Are you glad you went on the show?
Oh, absolutely. I definitely feel like the show was life-changing. I mean, it changed me as a woman. I’m a way better person. I learned a lot about myself other than just being prepared to be a wife.
Do you keep in touch with the other couples?
There’s a couple of people that I keep in touch with from the show, like Mark, of course. And I talk to a couple of the ladies who weren’t exactly featured on the show, but yeah, a few of them.
Is there anything that didn’t come up that you like to add?
I would like to say that I did meet Cameron’s parents, but it didn’t make the edit. I know a lot of people have questions about that like, “What happened with Cameron’s parents? Did they not like you?” Unfortunately, that part wasn’t shown but I did meet Cameron’s parents and so did my dad. We had a whole big powwow with everybody.
Would you ever use Cameron’s toothbrush?
Oh hell no, I’m not using anybody’s toothbrush, ever. Not now, or later.●