The experiment at the heart of Netflix’s “Love Is Blind” was so successful that 26-year-old Lexie Skipper got a ring and still got cut. Like seven other couples, Skipper and Westley Baer became engaged after meeting in the pods, never actually seeing each other until Baer’s proposal.
Unfortunately for Skipper and Baer, however, show runners were not prepared for the experiment to produce so many engagements, and they ended up cutting two couples from the Mexico trip. Skipper and Baer were one of them. When filming ended, the pair broke up after only a few months because Baer moved from Atlanta to Asia. Now they’re both in New York City and remain friends, waiting for the dust to settle before jumping back into things.
I asked Lexie for behind-the-scenes details about the show, which has ranked as one of Netflix’s most popular programs since the company began releasing daily top-ten lists. She went in depth on everything from pod conversations to Lauren and Cam to the ubiquity of alcohol during production. Stick around for her answer to the million-dollar question: Is love really blind?
Emily Jashinsky: Why did you decide to do the show? What was the casting process like?
Lexie Skipper: For me, the show approached me through Instagram. At first I was a little skeptical considering this was something completely new, but it came to me at a perfect time in my life. I truly believe in good timing, I was at a point where I was at a crossroads in my career and I just wanted to take a leap of faith because dating in this day and age isn’t easy. I had to do phone interviews/Skype interviews and several psychological tests before being cast. We also did questionnaires about compatibility, the show did a great job going into detail and really wanted to know exactly what I was looking for in a life partner, and I was totally honest and myself throughout the casting process.
EJ: How did it turn out for you?
LS: I think it turned out just the way it was supposed to for me. I went into this experience completely open, honest and true to myself. I know my values and what I want in a life partner so I really tried to be present in every conversation I was having with the guys. I did connect with multiple guys, but after a few days, I really narrowed it down and Westley and I seemed to match up in a lot of aspects of life. We have the same views, morals and life goals. It just felt right for me and I knew in my gut that it was the right decision.
You didn’t see my story on the show, but Westley and I did get engaged. We didn’t go to Mexico with the rest of the group, but we continued to date after for a bit. He moved to Asia for 6 months and when he got back I got an opportunity in Fashion in New York for 6 months. Now here we are, a year and a half later, really great friends. This experience taught me so much about how to be a better communicator and be more present in every conversation I have.
EJ: Did you really think you would get married?
LS: To be honest, I’m not sure. Like I’ve said, I really did go into this whole thing with an open mind. I didn’t think I would actually connect with someone the way that I did. I’d never say never, but looking back I couldn’t be more thankful that I wasn’t sent to Mexico. A wedding and a marriage for me is a one-time thing. That isn’t something I will ever get back, especially having my dad walk me down the aisle, I really do only want that experience one time because it is so special to me.
EJ: Did you head into the pods with any strategy? Were there certain questions you wanted to ask first?
LS: I didn’t have a strategy at all. I knew by the end of the first day who I was really interested in. It’s crazy to think after just a few conversations (without seeing each other) you can truly get an idea who you are compatible with in a romantic way and who you think would be a great friend.
EJ: Were there guidelines on what you could or could not talk about?
LS: No, we didn’t have any guidelines. I felt like I was truly just on a date being totally myself. I tried to really use this experiment to stray away from asking questions about people’s appearances. I wanted to truly see if Love was blind for me.
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EJ: How long were the average conversations in the pod? Did you just get up when you were done or were there time limits?
LS: It depended on the day. The first day we went on 15 dates, and they were about 7 minutes each. The further along we got in the process, the dates got shorter and our list of matches got smaller. We were able to narrow it down each day and rank the guys. Towards the end of the pod experience we would spend hours talking to our top people. I think my longest was 4-plus hours.
EJ: Did you connect with more than one of the guys? If so, how did you handle that process in such a short period of time? Was it emotionally draining?
LS: I did connect with several guys. I wanted to really explore and see if this process was possible. I tried to go into each date with a clean slate and really get to know these guys. It was for sure emotionally draining, dating in general is emotionally draining. I wouldn’t take anything back and I don’t regret a single thing!
EJ: Were you picturing what they looked like or just trying not to guess at all? If you were guessing, did you ask them for physical hints? Did you try to guess based on their voice or interests?
LS: Of course, picturing what someone you are connecting with is only natural. I tried to stay away from the physical questions, towards the end we touched on a few things, but for me at that point it didn’t really matter. I knew that I truly cared for this person for who they were, and not what they looked like.
EJ: How did he compare to what you imagined? What was it like to see him? Did it take a second to process?
LS: Honestly Westley was really similar to what I had pictured in my head. Seeing him was such an emotional and exciting moment. It seemed like we had been waiting forever for this moment, it was a really special moment for both of us. It took a minute to process, I kept saying to myself “Is this really happening to me?” “Is this a dream?” I couldn’t believe what was happening.
EJ: Did you guys drink a lot on the show?
LS: Alcohol was provided, and I love wine. They stocked our fridges with whatever we wanted. I never got to the point where I was drinking too much because I truly did take this experience seriously. I was trying to find my forever.
EJ: Did you make friends with any of the other girls? Are Lauren and Cam really as sweet as they seem?
LS: I did, the girls side was truly like a sorority. No one will ever understand what we all went through together, we supported each other through the good and the bad. Lauren and Cameron are truly made for each other. Seeing them together after filming, you can feel their connection, it’s so genuine. They are amazing people and I’m so proud to call them friends of mine!
EJ: What was it like to watch the show? Did you expect it to explode like it has?
LS: Watching the show was a rollercoaster of emotions. I had no idea what to expect to be honest. I was fully prepared to see my love story play out, however that didn’t happen. I think at first I was upset, but looking back I am thankful and just happy I can talk about it now. I’m OK with the fact that it’s not for the world to see, it was very special to me.
EJ: One final question: Is love really blind?
LS: I really think Love is Blind. You see the success stories for the couples like Amber and Barnett, Lauren and Cameron, and even Giannina and Damian—it worked for them. Some of us would have probably never met, or even become friends. I’m just thankful for the production and the entire concept of this show, now I have 29 best friends who I couldn’t imagine life without now!