As Pride month marches on, MTV inches closer to unveiling the latest Are You The One? cast, a collection of reality-TV revolutionaries who will search for love among the United States’ first sexually fluid roster.
In the video below, the next crop of love hopefuls — who will spend 10 weeks searching for their perfect matches — explain their paths to AYTO and how they often felt ignored by media in their adolescence, when watching reality dating shows meant exclusively investing in straight couples or, occasionally, gay ones. The spectrum of romance expands much more widely (and abstractly), they say, and they’re proud to serve as a jumping-off point for young people who don’t have demonstrable pop-culture proof that their love lives are worth documenting.
“It sucked growing up watching a lot of straight shows because it kind of made me feel like, ‘Okay, it’s not right,’” 23-year-old contestant Amber — an actor from New York — says. Meanwhile, 26-year-old Kai — a nonbinary artist — notes that the new season is more than just a matter of expanding the lens of dating shows and TV romances — it’s about rebuilding them from the ground up.
“Popular media is what influences, so it’s like, instead of fighting the system, why not work the system to your advantage?” Kai asks.
And in the unlikely event those earnest pitches don’t move you, take it from 27-year-old Danny: Season 8 is going to be entertaining as hell.
“If you have a reality TV show that includes the entire spectrum of racial, sexual and gender identities, you’re gonna have a really interesting show,” Danny says.
Check out the clip above -- along with a look into how this season’s AYTO daters define love, below -- and be sure to tune in to the Season 8 premiere of Are You The One? on Wednesday at 9/8c.