Netflix Saved Me From Depression

Chloe Veitch has been on nearly every reality show under the Netflix sun. The bubbly, happy-go-lucky star began her career with the first season of Too Hot to Handle, butting heads with queen bee Francesca Farago, and went on to be catfished into a fake relationship on The Circle Season 2. Though she’s had tastes of romance on both shows, Veitch is still hungry to find The One.

Which is why a show like Perfect Match, Netflix’s splashy new Avengers: Endgame of dating shows, is, well, her perfect match. The series invites around 10 singles from across the Netflix reality universe at a time to pair up as perfect matches. They compete in compatibility challenges to win control over “the board,” which allows the winning couple to bring in two new singles (oscillating between guys and girls) to go on dates with eligible bachelor(ette)s in the house.

It’s basically a combination of Are You the One?, Love Island, and Bachelor in Paradise, creating one cheesy heap of lovey-dovey fun. The difference is that it’s a familiar cast of characters that are dating around, to rekindle old flames or put out the fire for good.

Ahead of the premiere of Perfect Match, Veitch—who doesn’t enter the series until the second batch of episodes, releasing Feb. 21—hops on a Zoom with me to gossip about what it was like to find love on the series. She’s calling me from Orange County (far from her home in Essex, England), where she’s been attending various Netflix parties to promote the launch.

Going into the show, Veitch already had her eyes on someone. “I was really excited to see Mitchell [Eason],” Veitch confesses, as if she was confiding in me about a high school crush. Veitch started seeing Eason, her ex from The Circle (notable for being a 24-year-old virgin), after their season together. The pair dated for eight months once the game show wrapped.

Because she’s in Southern California, his home, I ask if they’ve been hanging out: “I mean, yeah. I’ve seen him,” she says with a smirk.

Between Too Hot to Handle and The Circle, it’s ironic that she found love on the latter, rather than the series that encourages singles to form deep relationships (without having sex or kissing). On The Circle, she managed to find love with Eason—which is pretty ironic, considering it’s the one non-dating show on which she’s starred.

Since Veitch has been on three Netflix reality shows, I wanted to know where she’d rank them against each other. But instead of simply ratting off “best to worst” list, we play a game: Fuck/Marry/Kill, but with her Netflix shows instead of real people.

(For those unfamiliar with the game, it’s usually played with celebrities—you choose one celebrity you’d sleep with, one you’d marry, and the one you’d kill. As an example: “FMK Harry Styles, Niall Horan, or Zayn Malik,” I explain to Chloe, who immediately gets the gist.)

“I would fuck Too Hot to Handle—actually, I would marry Too Hot to Handle,” she says, hesitating. “I would fuck Perfect Match. And I would kill The Circle, only because it’s a solo show. You’re in a room by yourself. The paranoia is real, girl! Being with people on a show, and the premise is just being in the sun, is something that I would marry and fuck.”

Intentional or not, Veitch’s answer teases what kinds of things—fuckable things, if you will—occur during her tenure on Perfect Match. That list includes, predictably, tensions. It doesn’t take long for fights to break out among the cast, especially as Perfect Match brings back Veitch’s nemesis for her to spar with.

It’s shocking to see Farago and Veitch appear in the same show together again, after the former stole the latter’s man in the first episode. (That would be Harry Jowsey, who Veitch was upset couldn’t participate in Perfect Match.) Farago even teases Veitch behind her back in Perfect Match, making fun of what she considers to be Veitch’s high-pitched voice in one episode.

But Veitch insists that the two women had no beef.

“Being around people that are really good at their job in a social environment is really refreshing. Now knowing the industry, being around Francesca again felt like home,” Veitch says. “We butt heads for like five minutes [on Too Hot to Handle], but when you live with someone in such a high-pressure environment at that age, on your first Netflix show, that was bound to happen.”

Farago doesn’t only have her claws out for Veitch. In the first batch of Perfect Match episodes, Farago also goes after The Circle Season 2 star Savannah Palacio for chatting up her man, The Mole’s Dom Gabriel. While Farago is clearly set up as Perfect Match’s villain, Palacio gives her a run for her money; she was one of the antagonists on her season of The Circle, and she’s already attracted a bit of controversy with her pre-premiere comments to press.

In a recent interview with Life & Style magazine, Palacio claimed she didn’t know Perfect Match was a dating show until cameras were rolling: “I was told it was going to be a challenge show and then found out that it was a dating show when the cameras were rolling—pretty much at the same time that everyone else who’s watching will find out,” Palacio says.

“We all knew it was a dating show. We all knew,” Veitch says about Palacio’s comments. “We had multiple interviews, multiple phone calls, it was in the contract—it was a competition dating show. It’s called Perfect Match, so it’s like, how could we not know it was a dating show? That’s why I went, to find love!”

But Veitch had to wait a little longer in order to achieve that goal. In the first few days of filming, Veitch was kept “in holding” alone, preparing for the moment she’d be selected to enter the game and go on her first date. To prepare, she ate a lot of snacks and recited plenty of mantras: “I will find love,” she told herself. She appreciated the time to relax and ready herself for some of the most intense, impactful days of her life, she says.

Finding love while also starring on TV is unbelievably tricky, as Veitch knows by now. Not only are a bunch of strangers judging you from their couch, but there’s also the fact that on Perfect Match, each single is going to be letting a lot more potential matches (who exit the game when left unselected) down than usual. Though Veitch reaffirms herself and her inner strength, and she has a boss mantra among her lineup—“Have no regrets, follow your heart, and fuck everyone else!”—developing a fan base while getting super-vulnerable in front of cameras can be pretty tough.

“Sometimes, I feel like people hate me, or that I’m doing something wrong on social media, because people aren’t interacting with me, she says. “It’s that constant pressure, ‘How do I stay relevant? How do I get these people to like me?’

She continues, “You start changing yourself, because you’re like, ‘Well, maybe I need to change. Am I pretty enough? Do I need filler?’ I went through a stage of losing myself.”

Veitch says that being on Too Hot to Handle and The Circle sent her “down a road of depression,” that the pressure was “too much.” She celebrates being 18 months sober now, a feat Netflix supported her in while she starred on Perfect Match—when she was invited on dates, there was never any champagne present.

Veitch also has Netflix to thank for introducing her to a wide-reaching support system of folks from all over the streamer’s reality realm. She reached out to Circle Season 1 winner Joey Sasso for advice after her season of The Circle had aired. (She called him her “guiding light.”) Netflix offers plenty of events to their reality stars to connect with each other, a vital tool as they grapple with online bullying, death threats, and the overall fear of celebrity status. A flurry of Perfect Match stars just attended the premiere of Netflix’s Your Place or Mine together, for instance, catching up on the red carpet.

“It’s almost like, even though you’re not real family, you’re family,” Veitch says. “You’ve experienced the same thing. It’s a bond no one can break.”

After Too Hot to Handle in particular aired, Veitch became a micro-celeb. Ariana Grande followed (and later unfollowed with no real reason; Veitch is still upset) her on Instagram. She was invited to premieres. It was tough for her to balance, having only just turned 20, but Netflix felt like a safe place to learn how to be a rising star.

“Being in such a huge industry at such a young age is very daunting and scary,” Veitch says. “[I’m] just keeping that relationship [with Netflix] and working with them as closely as I can. It feels like, as a 23 year old, there are a lot of opportunities … working with Netflix that can open up more doors into the scripted acting world. The world is my oyster, and I’m going to use it to the best of my abilities.” She’s now begging the platform to allow her to host her own reality dating show, even.

The way Veitch speaks about her Netflix show experiences feels like a departure from the online hate and scandal that surrounds other reality programming. Bachelor Nation has fallen apart, after Chris Harrison’s departure from the show over racist comments. And Love Island, which airs live over several weeks, is even worse, with contestants themselves facing absurd amounts of online harassment; three contestants and one host have died by suicide in the past few years.

“One of my best friends actually went on Love Island in the UK,” Veuitch says. “When she was in the villa, it was horrible to watch, because she was getting so much hate. We were managing her social media. She was getting death threats and people commenting on her weight, and she had an eating disorder a few years before the show.”

Veitch has taken her comparably positive experiences with Netflix and paid it forward. She recently sat down with the Season 4 cast of Too Hot to Handle to brief them on how to stay level-headed once the show premieres: “It’s going to be very fast, very quick. You’re going to have a massive high, and then it’s going to start to go down. Your following’s going to drop. Your engagements, the likes on your posts, the comments on your posts, they’re going to drop a couple months after the show airs,” Veitch recites to me, as if I was one of those Too Hot stars.

But for her, Perfect Match was the most ideal dating show because of how decisive she got to be. After appearing on Too Hot and The Circle and taking time to heal herself in the aftermath, she’s ready for something serious out of her latest Netflix reality appearance. Veitch is finally putting her foot down—this is her love life.

“Honestly, the highlight for me, being on the show, would be: For once in my life, I chose me. It was so hard to fight between your head and your heart. But it’s really important for me to have a backbone in those environments and to stand up and believe what is true for me,” Veitch says. “Perfect Match enabled me to be in touch with myself, and to choose who I actually wanted to be with. Whether that was the right choice, I don’t know! We’ll never know.”

Source link

Leave a Comment