Yaz, host of Dating Unlocked, shares some insights from working on the show, and shares a little dating advice!
TELL US ABOUT THE NAME “DATING UNLOCKED”, WHAT DOES THIS TELL US ABOUT THE SHOW?
My initial thought around the show was "finally". I’m not embarrassed to admit that I absolutely love reality TV. It is such an entertaining escape from reality. The lack of queer representation here is astounding, so I was quite excited to hear that there would be one created that was about us for us. It was also a breath of fresh air to see the effort put into education alongside entertainment. I really love the little informative tidbits that come up on screen about terminology and the depth of conversation that was encouraged while filming.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS WORKING WITH THE DATERS. I have quite a bit of experience facilitating, so these interactions felt pretty natural for me to navigate! That said, I’ve never done it with studio lights and full camera crew, so that was definitely interesting and at times challenging. I totally assumed going into it that the types of intimacy (a deep chat, a make-out, a shared dance, etc) would differ not only depending on each person’s comfort, but also the potential chemistry or non-chemisty between the pairings.
HOW WERE THE DATERS CHOSEN? I was part of pre-production, so I got to see all of the dater’s videos before stepping on set. From what I learned about them, I helped create and design what the second game for each episode would look like based on what I thought the daters on that episode would resonate with. During the show you hear me say something like "as we know, people can be different online than they are in real life", and wow, that was definitely true! There were some daters that presented one way in their videos and then same to set and totally surprised and even shocked me with how different they were. So I had guesses for who would pick who based on the videos, some of which actually came true, and some of which totally didn’t. Each morning, I thought "wow, let’s see what happens with this mix of personalities today!"
DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE A SECOND SEASON OF DATING UNLOCKED? Coming back for a second season of the show would be very, very fun. The team was absolutely incredible, the concept was cool, and the outfits I got to wear? Don’t even get me started on the outfits.
LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTFITS. THE WARDROBE ON DATING UNLOCKED WAS GORGEOUS! Ha! Okay, great segue from the last question. I guess you’re getting me started on the outfits! The stylist Jess Mori wanted to incorporate my own style into the outfits so some of the pieces that you see like the black latex bra and the platform Doc Martens are from my own closet. Jess did an incredible job really nailing the vibe I wanted from just a few chats and me sharing a Pinterest board. I got to try on a bunch of outfits before filming and the ones you see on the show were the ones we chose!
DO YOU HAVE ANY FUN ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO ARE LOOKING FOR LOVE? Oh wow, I’m flattered but I am most definitely not an expert. If anything, I’m just good at making a potentially awkward encounter a little less awkward. Based on my own experiences and work though, I would say the following: - There is really no such thing as a perfect person for you. Consider reframing to something like, a good fit for the person that you are right now. I think it takes some pressure off of the search and gives you more space to problem solve and stay curious. - Be as honest as you can from the get go about your deal breakers, non-negotiables, and your values and ethics in general. - Everyone wants that super romantic and exciting meet-cute, so why not initiate one yourself? Next time you see someone who catches your eye, take a breath, remind yourself that you are wonderful, and go for it.