I recently went undercover on Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker and learned the hard way, YOLO does not apply to every life situation, especially when re-runs are involved. While I may have embarrassed myself on national television, I learned to accept my quarter-life crisis and discovered that it’s okay to be single on Valentine’s Day.
I didn’t go on Millionaire Matchmaker for “fame”.
I wasn’t there to “gold dig”.
I wasn’t even there to date a millionaire.
I was there because of YOLO.
Yes, I know the motto (You Only Live Once) has become trite. But back in May when I shot the episode called, “Tale of Two Jimmies” that aired Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013, Drake’s “The Motto” AKA “The YOLO song” was at the height of its popularity. Now, the acronym is so mainstream that even kiosks in third world countries like Hermosa Beach are spray-painting it on trucker hats.
I can thank YOLO for inspiring me to do something seemingly as tacky as that trucker hat. Go undercover as a contestant on Millionaire Matchmaker, because, well, why not?!
Thankfully, my appearance of shame does not exist online (to my knowledge), yet everyone and their mom (literally) has seen it. According to one of my friend’s moms, they were “harsh” on me. Which, if my memory serves me correctly, yes, yes they were.
A little bit about myself; I’m 25, single and a hopeless romantic who gets her heart broken every five seconds. So I tell jokes about it. I’m the self proclaimed Taylor Swift of comedy without the whole “people care who I am” thing.
So, you may be wondering. Besides “YOLO”, why the hell was I on Millionaire Matchmaker? Well here’s an in depth look at the how the “casting” process really works.
I got scouted at a club in Beverly Hills. I know a club. Gross.
I was in a bad place. I was in the midst of a “F**k what am I doing with my life?” crisis. I was listening to an unhealthy amount of Adele. So of course I agreed when this girl came up to me and asked, “Do you want to be on Millionaire Matchmaker?!” Because in my crazy convoluted head I thought, ”Why not?! YOLO! Maybe this is what I’m meant to do with my life! Maybe this will be my big break!”
If anything, this was my big downfall.
Word of advice: No matter how good of an idea it sounds at the time. Don’t do reality TV. Just don’t.
Next, your scout will call you and ask you to fill out a lengthy application. Asking you everything from: “Are you married?” “Are you sure you’re not married?” To, “Are you a convict?” And “Are you sure you’re not a convict?” With all the gushy love stuff in between. Since I’m an unmarried, non-convict I thought I nailed it.
True or False: “I believe in love at first sight.”
True! True! TRUUUUUEEE!!!! I absolutely believe in love at first sight!!!!! I’m a hopeless romantic and I know when I meet “the one” I’ll know it’s him the minute we lock eyes!!!!!!!!
Just call me Shakespeare.
“Why should we choose you above all other candidates?”
You should choose me, because unlike your other candidates I am honestly and sincerely looking for true love!
Next, you will go in for what you think is an audition of bragging about how great you are, but really it’s a mini photo shoot.
The only question they will ask you is your age. And for some reason I drew a blank. Maybe I was nervous. Maybe I’m not used to telling people how old I am. I have a feeling that this whole forgetting my age debacle might explain what happened at the audition….
The Phone Call
I got a call a few days later for an appointment to meet Patti. Question, if she’s such a great “matchmaker,” why is she single?! Let alone qualified to match millionaires…That would be like taking driving lessons from Lindsay Lohan, or diet tips from Oprah or fashion advice from Stevie Wonder… (I’ll be here all night).
The big day will come. You must wear a dress. It can’t be white or black or too busy. You have to wear heels. You will take a lot of selfies and finally decide on something that is the perfect balance of expensive prostitute and a sorority sister at a semi-formal event.
The Cattle Call
I arrive on location where I am shoved into a van which a bunch of Hollywood types. Hair extensions, fake boobs and Botox galore. The van reeks of stuffy perfume, hairspray and desperation.
We arrive at Matchmaker “headquarters”, which I assumed was in Beverly Hills, but is actually in the dodgy part of Marina Del Rey. “Elite dating service”, my ass. I take my seat in a sea of crossed legs topped off with fake Louboutins.
I talk to some of the other contestants, who all look the same. It’s as if I was waiting at a casting call for “Past Her Prime Cougar/ Gold-Digger Who Still Thinks She’s Hot and Masks her Cellulite with Spanx and Spray Tans.” Which actually makes a lot of sense since most of these ladies found out about this from LA Casting, an audition database for actors…
Also, the show is called Millionaire Matchmaker. Do you think any of girls on the show are looking for “true love”? Or have “good intentions”?
They’re looking to date a Millionaire.
I was looking for an experience and a story. I didn’t realize that this experience would include embarrassing myself on national television.
Then I had to fill out even more paper work. I rushed through it in hopes that I could go first and be done with it. When asked to put my career down I wrote “comedian” because I thought that would make me stand out. I started to look around the room. I noticed I was the youngest girl by about ten years.
So, basically it’s in the bag!
They bring us to meet Patti in groups of three. As I’m about to go up, I realize the two ladies with me are well into their 50s. The one who spoke English started talking to me. I find out she has a daughter around my age. Perfect. She then tells me the men are in their mid 50s. This was a joke right? There’s no way I’d be a good match for these guys. I started to get nervous.
Meeting The Matchmaker
I climb up the stairs. In the back of my head I’m ironically singing “Matchmaker” from Fiddler on the Roof. Debating if I should sing it to her. But then thinking she’s probably heard it a bunch of times.
The room is flooded with cameras. I’m a deer in headlights. What did I get myself into?
PATTI: So you’re a comedian.
PATTI: And you’re not sure if you live with your ex?
This must have been the part of the application I rushed through.
ME: Oh, no. You asked if I have a roommate. I do. He’s not my ex though. We never dated.
PATTI: Make me laugh.
ME: Um. Do I have to?
Lesson learned: Unless it’s a comedy audition, if you’re a comedian, never tell a joke on the spot, especially if it’s for an audience of people without a sense of humor. Comedy is all about set-up. Jokes that play well in a comedy club don’t play well in front of a matchmaker who seriously thinks Juicy velour zip-ups are still okay to wear in public.
I start to tell my joke about how my mother thinks she’s a matchmaker by trying to set me up with Enrique Iglesias who she only “knows” from watching him on The View. As soon as I opened my mouth they went out of their way to act bored. They weren’t even listening. I felt like a moron. If you’ve seen the clip all you hear is me saying, “My mother thinks she’s a matchmaker” and “Enrique Inglasis.” .
DIRECTOR: And cut!
As soon as the camera turns off Patti and her posse are suddenly super nice.
ME: It’s weird to do jokes on the spot.
MINION 1: Oh yeah girl, I bet. You’re super cute though. Next time for sure!
PATTI: Yeah! You’re adorable!!!
DIRECTOR: And action!
PATTI: Gabriella. Go home.
Wait. Did I just get “nexted” on national television? What?!
I then put it together. Here I was thinking I was chosen for my personality and killer application only to find out that I was cast as a joke?! I was basically brought in to be like those rejects on American Idol. You know the ones that think they can sing but really can’t. I was brought thinking I could date only to learn I can’t. Specifically millionaires. I am basically the William Hung of Millionaire Matchmaker.
You do only live once. So be selective about your opportunities. YOLO doesn’t apply to every life situation. Especially when it comes to reality TV. Because while you may only live once, on reality TV, you live like a million times because Bravo loves re-runs.
Almost as trite as YOLO is the sudden discovery that being in your 20s is a scary weird time. And you can’t really summarize why we do what we do or fully explain what we’re feeling with blogs of GIFs from Girls, Bridesmaids, Mean Girls, etc. Sure, pop culture can help explain kind of what we’re going though. But everyone’s journey is different. Mine included embarrassing myself on national television. We can all relate to that quarter-life fuck now what crisis that we’re all going through. Life is scary when you don’t have a plan.
This Valentine’s Day I am single and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being single and on your own in your 20s is one of the most terrifying, yet thrilling experiences I have ever encountered. Anything is possible.
I’m proud to be a Millionaire Matchmaker reject. It’s part of my story. Because I’m definitely not ready for my happily ever after, if anything, this is the start of my “once upon a time.”
You can read more from Gabi Conti on her blog.