They say there’s love at first sight, but seeing your man-to-be make a James Bond-like entrance from the back seat of a helicopter probably helps, too, right? Enter Coupled, FOX’s latest dating show, which premiered last night (and airs Tuesdays at 9 pm EST) and features men literally descending from the sky and landing on the scenic Caribbean island of Anguilla. Awaiting them are 12 single, young professional women who will be making the call each week about with whom they feel chemistry.
One of those dozen single ladies, Lisa Rotondi, originally hails from Bedford (though now lives and works as a real estate agent in Manhattan), so we caught up with her a few nights before the debut episode to get an idea of how a Westchester native becomes a national reality star, what makes Coupled stand apart, and staring down the “realest person on the show.”
Firstly, what prompted the move from Westchester to NYC?
Oh, well, you know, I was still living at home with my family and was offered a position here in the city, after you live at home for 23 years, isn’t everybody’s goal to start their own life?
Then how does a real estate agent find herself on a FOX dating show?
It’s funny actually, my roommate at the time, she signed me up for it. She had wanted to sign herself up for it, the age requirement was from 25-35. She was 23 at the time, so she didn’t make the cut. So she signed me up for it without me knowing, and then when they called, I was caught so off-guard. I was like, “Wait, what is this?” But once I heard more about the show and the experience, I was super excited.
And then next thing you know you’re off to Anguilla?
Exactly. First, we went to California for the application process, and then a few days later, they were like, “Pack your bags.” You have to go to Saint Martin first, and then take a boat to Anguilla.
How did your relationship with the other women develop?
I can’t really give too much away, but just like in real life, you click with some people and you don’t click with other people. For the most part, we all got along very well, and pretty much everything you see on the show is it. Nothing really happened off-camera. It’s going to be a real experience for the viewers.
I also noticed cell phones, selfies, and videos were integrated into the dates. How did that affect the dynamic?
It created a little bit more drama, but it made the whole situation so much more realistic, because in real life, when you’re dating someone, you might not be with your girlfriend, but you want to text them and be like, “Oh my god, he just said this, what do you think? What do I do?” It was helpful and it was hurtful, so you kind of had to take it for what it is.
Were you thinking about how the show might affect your career?
I wasn’t really. I had the flexibility of taking time off and knowing that I would come back to my job.
And has it in fact had any effect on you personally and professionally?
It’s not like people are coming up to me on the streets like, “Oh my gosh, you’re from Coupled,” but the people I know who I didn’t tell I was on the show were like, “Wait, did I see you on the promotion for Coupled?” [Laughs]
Can you give us one good tidbit we can look out for later in the season?
So much happens. It’s [me and] 11 other women, who also have incredible stories to share and I think it will definitely be interesting for the viewers, and especially for my friends in my hometown. I haven’t been able to give anything away, so I’m excited for my friends and family to be able to follow along and experience what I experienced.
Well, the premiere did end with somebody cautioning you not to mess with them.
[Laughs] Day one is when I got into my first little battle with one of the girls. We didn’t really see eye to eye on a certain topic. I would just say that the “realest person on the show” wasn’t too real.