MAFS 2025 set to make huge casting change: 'Immense pressure'

The Australian reality show is following in the footsteps of the UK version.

MAFS expert John Aiken.
Nine executives are ‘furious’ after two MAFS participants hard launched their relationship in public before the season premiered. Photo: Channel Nine

Married At First Sight’s upcoming 12th season is tipped to be the show’s most diverse season yet with filming scheduled to start within the next eight weeks.

Yahoo Lifestyle can reveal that producers are “actively pursuing” transgender and gender-diverse participants to star in the Australian version of the reality series for the first time.

The lengthy application process for season 12 even features an entire section dedicated to quizzing potential cast members if they’ve ever been in a relationship with someone who identifies as transgender or non-binary, and if they would be open to being matched with someone who is.


Casting producers also prod all applicants on any same-sex experiences they’ve previously had or would be open to having on-camera – regardless of their sexual orientation.

MAFS experts John Aiken, Mel Schilling and Alessandra Rampolla.
Season 12 is set to commence filming in the next eight weeks. Photo: Channel Nine

These questions are all asked before enquiring if applicants have a criminal record or if they have any Apprehended Violence Orders against them.

The updated application form also requires applicants to state their weight and vaccination status, and to describe “in detail” any cosmetic procedures they have previously undergone.

A source connected to the show tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the Australian producers have been inspired by MAFS UK, who cast the reality show’s first-ever trans participant Ella Morgan last year.

Married At First Sight UK led the way last year by casting an openly trans bride, which caused huge discussion and discourse all around the world,” the source shares. “Producers are now under immense pressure to raise the bar on our version to keep the format fresh.”

MAFS UK star Ella Morgan.
MAFS UK featured the show’s first-ever trans participant last year. Photo: E4

This comes shortly after MAFS expert Alessandra Rampolla spoke with Yahoo Lifestyle about the lack of diversity on the reality show, which has only featured three same-sex couples across 11 seasons.

“One thing that I think always happens with our show is that it is a show. It is an experiment in the concept of how we put together the show, but we are a reality TV show and we are dependent on the people that choose to come on reality TV,” she said.

“I think that's part of the reason why we haven't had more representation of different sexual orientations and different sexual identities and whatnot on the show because we haven't necessarily had those people raise their hand and say, ‘I want to be a part of this’.”


Alessandra went on to emphasise that she would love to highlight more sexual identities on the series and hopes this could change in the future.

“It depends on the humans that show up and want to share their stories and want to go on this wild ride with us and try and find love and definitely try and understand themselves and learn about themselves a little more because I think everybody leaves the experience with that,” she added.

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