Lights, camera, romance: falling in love on reality TV
GOLD Coast golden girl Sophie Monk says using The Bachelorette to find love isn't all that different to dating in real life.
The cameras, the publicity, the prior knowledge, the likelihood of being Googled, the possibility of being used for fame - it's all pretty commonplace for Sophie and it's all part of the reason why she's reached 37 without finding 'the one'.
"My life has always been in front of cameras anyway," Sophie says.
"The only thing this time is I've got a bit more control over it, usually they just write what they want but this time I'm expecting it all and I'm generally painted in a pretty good light as the Bachelorette.
"It's great. I'm used to cameras around me in my face so it wasn't really that different."
It must be a strange feeling to meet someone knowing they have prior information on you, everything from your previous sexual partners to your parent's names to your favourite meal, but Sophie says that's her dating life anyway.
"It's all out there about me anyway," she says. "If I was on the show or if I went on a date in real life, they can Google me either way.
"I do want to be treated normal but at the same time they'll be taking on my lifestyle, it's a different lifestyle. So they do have to be a bit prepared for that."
Being the first celebrity to star in the reality romance franchise, Sophie has also been faced with public backlash, saying she's using the show as a platform for further publicity.
Throughout the promotional phases, however, Sophie has maintained her authenticity and genuine yearning to finally find her other half.
"I don't need the career move. I don't need the fame. If you watch it then you'll realise, I'm totally me in it - because I have to be," she says.
"It's made me very vulnerable. It's a bit embarrassing because I cry a lot but I took a risk doing it.
"A big risk but most people, I think they'll watch and realise its genuine."
Sophie says the cameras, the public backlash, the potential for nationally televised heartbreak didn't detract from the magic of finding love.
"It's made it so much better," she says.
"It's forced me to get to know these people so slowly.
"I tried to be strategic and not rush in because I've always made mistakes, but with this process I knew I had time and I knew I had to be a bit smarter.
"It wasn't easy because everyone behind the scenes is working really hard to make me fall in love, so I just had to be patient.
"I guess I can jump the gun, but the process really works."
The process certainly has worked for Sophie, who confirms that she not only survived the show but emerged with a partner she's not engaged to, but can undoubtedly see a long-term future with.
"Yes, I've definitely found the one," she says. "It happened towards the end, kind of slowly developed and towards the end I just knew.
"We can only talk on the phone now, it's hard because I'm really bad at secrets but it does kind of make it better. It's exciting."
The Bachelorette premieres tonight at 7.30pm on Channel 10 and continues on Thursday.