They’re the couple that rocked this year’s season of Married At First Sight when they began a relationship without the knowledge of the experts and other contestants, and now Carolina Santos and Daniel Holmes have spilled all the details about their time on the reality TV show.
The pair, who have seemingly proven their haters wrong by staying together in the real world, have spoken exclusively with Yahoo Lifestyle about how their ‘affair' first began, the impact from producers, and what viewers didn’t get to see on TV.
The Dinner Party
After entering the experiment halfway through as intruders, Carolina and Daniel’s first encounter was during one of the dinner parties when they struck up a conversation at the end of the table.
And while the personal trainer-turned-3D designer says that his attraction was instant, seeing as his relationship with his ‘wife’ Jessica Seracino was nearing the end of its course, Carolina was more hesitant.
“Look, when I first saw Daniel, I did think he was extremely handsome and more my type, but I think I didn’t let myself think too much of that because of the circumstances,” the online business owner says.
“I think I was just stressed, and you’re always like, ‘Oh my god what’s everyone going to think? You’re not allowed to like this guy’, so maybe it was a bit of that.”
“I was actually convinced that they had put her there to lure me into a cheating scandal,” Daniel adds, “On paper, she seemed like everything I had asked for.
“And the producers actually pulled me aside twice like, ‘Daniel is there anyone here that you, you know?’ And then towards the end of the night when they did it again, I was a bit drunk by that point and I was like, ‘I know what you’re doing, you’re trying to get me to say something about Carolina, aren’t you? Just say it, I know it!’.
“They were like, ‘Why don't you talk to her then?’. And I was like, ‘Maybe I will!’.”
While the most recent seasons of MAFS have all featured a memorable cheating scandal, the pair insist that having an affair to get the most airtime was never on their minds.
“I think a part of our personalities, we’re both very ‘go for what you want’. We know it’s a TV show and above all, it’s not marriage, it’s an experiment,” Daniel says.
“I definitely didn't go there thinking like, ‘Oh my god, I want to be part of a cheating scandal’ or any of that,” Carolina reflects. “But I was definitely happy to cause some drama and give the entertainment to the viewers, why not!”
Speaking about the viewers, the couple explain that they’ve had a mixed response from fans of the show about their romance.
“People are really nice on the streets, it’s mainly on social media [that people are rude],” Carolina details.
“But I've seen a massive turnaround in the comments, that's for sure,” Daniel says, with Carolina adding, “I think because we're still together, so people are starting to go like, ‘Okay, well it's not too bad, they’re still together, it was real’.”
The Text Message
After Daniel’s ‘wife’ Jessica decided to leave the experiment, he was asked by producers if there was anyone he wanted to speak with.
“I was like, ‘Carolina?’. And they were like, ‘Ooh really?’,” he recalls. “So they lined up all the numbers and that kind of stuff, and it was actually genuine. Like, they got the number but I text her and I had to formulate a game plan of like, ‘Oh my god, this girl’s coming over that I’ve met once, what am I even doing?’.
“So she came over and I was just being flirtatious and a bit silly, but there was definitely something real there.”
As for Carolina, she says that the text message was a completely unexpected surprise that ended up being caught on camera, but was never aired on TV.
“So I was basically doing some cleaning at the Skye Suites apartment,” she says.
“They wanted to catch the moment of me receiving the message, so I'm literally cleaning for a whole hour. I’m like, ‘This place is clean, there’s nothing else to clean!’ and they’re like, ‘No keep cleaning!’. So I got the message and I was not expecting it at all.”
The Gym Date
The pair’s first official rendezvous, nicknamed “the famous gym date”, took place a couple of days after they connected over text.
“I actually left the gym date thinking, ‘I've blown it, I’m going home’, because I thought she wasn’t interested at all and it was too risky,” Daniel reveals.
Carolina, however, says that she loved the date and there was a major moment that she’s disappointed didn’t make it to air.
“We had a very long chat about struggles and upbringing, and Daniel shared with me what he had gone through growing up,” she explains.
“And I remember at that point complaining that Dion [Giannarelli] wasn’t opening up much and I was struggling because I didn't find any, you know, physical attraction or chemistry with him. So I was trying to find a connection on more of a deeper level, and he wasn't really talking or sharing anything.
“I remember confronting him about it, and he was like, ‘Look, I'm sorry, I have had an amazing upbringing. And even if I didn't, I signed up for the show, my family and friends haven’t, so I'm not going to expose anyone. I'm not willing to share anything deep at this stage’.
“So when Daniel left on that gym date, I did the interview and I was saying, ‘Look, this guy has so much to share, this is kind of weird because I do find him attractive, I do find him handsome and then I also have that emotional connection there now because he's being vulnerable and sharing so much the first time that I've actually talked to him’.”
Although they’re upset that not everything from their date was shown on TV, Daniel says it wasn’t a shock.
“We understand that you can't make the cheaters look like humans, essentially,” he remarks.
“There’s no way that we would really have been willing to put ourselves through all of that if there wasn't a real connection, and based on what they showed, it just seemed like this fabricated, sexual, silly thing.
“They’re very smart with what they do and I've got nothing but respect for the producers and the whole team behind Channel Nine, like they do such a good show and there are so many people involved. But man, they're good at painting narratives. Small things like the music, it’s like World War III music when we walk in,” he continues, adding with a laugh, “There are never scenes of us smiling”.
Following the gym date, Daniel and Carolina’s next outing was at a private bar where their relationship progressed even further over cocktails.
“The scene where I kiss Carolina and she gave me the cheek and I was like, ‘No!’, we actually kissed after that at the table, but they showed us down an alleyway kissing, with me grabbing her ass and stuff,” Daniel says.
“Because after she gave me the cheek she eventually went in for a real kiss but they didn’t show it because we would’ve looked too cute.”
“And that's the most upsetting part,” Carolina adds, “because we wanted to see our first ever kiss and we never got to see it.”
Seeing as their relationship wasn’t intended to be a part of the experiment, the producers wanted to have full control over when Daniel and Carolina saw each other.
“They were like, ‘You cannot, under any circumstances talk to each other outside of us knowing and knowing the context and everything’,” Daniel explains, before confirming that they were “naughty” and had plenty of off-camera dates.
“I was like, I actually really like this chick, so if I tried to build a connection with her based on just what the producers dictate, it’s probably never going to happen. So I’ve got to put some work in behind the scenes.”
“We went to dinners, drinks. We did heaps!” Carolina shares.
The couple also say that they received plenty of encouragement from producers to continue their relationship.
“They told us like, ‘You guys are doing the right thing! Jess left! Dion’s an idiot! You are doing the right thing!’,” he says.
“Everything bad you do they’re like, ‘Oh you’re doing perfect!’. They make you think that you’re doing the right thing.”
“Yeah that’s their way to trick you into things,” she agrees. “Just whatever feeling you're having, even if it's a negative thought, they always validate it like, ’Yeah, you’re so right!’.”
Daniel and Carolina both knew that their on-screen portrayal “wasn’t going to be great”, but they had no clue how bad it would be.
“We definitely didn't think that they would think of us as cheaters,” she asserts.
“At the end of the day, we never had anything apart from the fake marriage. It wasn’t like the cheaters in previous seasons where they actually had some sort of connection, whether it was a kiss or they had sex or something. Neither one of us had anything at all with the people that they matched us with, so we never thought they would portray us as cheating.”
“Not one romantic thing happened between me and Jess,” Daniel concurs. “Not even like a hand hold for a second or anything. If we had had sex with them and stuff and then we did a swap, or whatever you want to call it, then I’d be like, ‘Oh shit we really f**ked up’.
“Producers were constantly like, ‘Yeah you guys had nothing with your partners! It’s fine! This is love!’”
Part two of Carolina Daniel’s exclusive chat with Yahoo Lifestyle will be released on Monday.
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