90 Day Fiancé Star Memphis Opens Up About Her Journey To Find Love - Exclusive Interview

The hit TLC show "90 Day Fiancé" has brought fans amazing and highly entertaining love stories season after season, and the success of the show has led to a number of great spin-offs like "90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days." The series documents the romantic partnerships of international couples before the K-1 visa application process begins. It's a slam-dunk hit, and the latest season is about to drop on December 12, 2021. So, whose love stories will you see unfold? One couple is Memphis and Hamza, a 34-year-old Michigan native and a 28-year-old Tunisia native, respectively. With the upcoming season came all kinds of questions, so we sat down with Memphis to get the scoop on her experience on the show — and, of course, to get the details on her relationship.

Memphis is a dynamic, interesting, and lovable woman. From the instant we sat down with her, we knew that she would open up about her story, her experience, and what dating internationally has been like. Of course, we have to wait until the show airs to really find out more details about her relationship with Hamza. Here's what Memphis from "Before the 90 Days" shared about her on-screen experience.

Before the 90 Days was very different for Memphis as a star rather than as a fan

So before we get into the nitty-gritty nuts and bolts of your experience, I'd love to know just first and foremost, what motivated you to want to share your love story on camera?

Oh, so you want me to be absolutely honest, huh?

[Laughs] That would be great, if you don't mind.

Okay. So I've always been a fan of this show, but I'd never wanted to really dabble in it. But there was one night I was drinking a little bit more than I usually do, so I'm like, "You know what? I think I'm going to write them and I'm going to see if they respond."

You might as well.

It was the liquid courage that got me to be like, okay, let's see.

And so I know that you're coming from a fan perspective. I'm trying to put myself in your shoes because I've watched the show so many times. What was it like being on a reality television show for the first time?

Oh my gosh. Being on reality TV, I don't think that we understand, as a fan, how much goes into it. I mean, you're very busy and there's a lot that you have to do. You think that, oh, okay, you film here and there and that's about it, but no. It was way more extensive than I ever anticipated it to be.

Yeah. What did a day on set or in production typically look like for you?

Every day was quite different. There [were] no two days that were the same. So it really depended on weather and our moods and all of those things intertwined, you know what I mean? You get a bunch of people together and you have to go with the flow pretty much.

Absolutely. It's not just ... I think a lot of us think of reality TV when we think of "90 Days" or "The Bachelor" or anything in that wheelhouse and I think a lot of us think that it's just a camera following people in their living rooms, which is absolutely probably not the case. Which is why it's so interesting that you came from a fan perspective because I'm sure a lot of us have thought, while we're sitting on the couch watching, "I wonder what goes on in this process."

Yes. Oh yeah. And I think I was very naïve to the whole process. I think more I was like, "Oh, it doesn't seem too bad." But then once I got into it, I was like, "Holy moly." You know what I mean? So it is quite a lot of work. It can be a little bit draining at times, but a good experience.

Yeah. It seems like it's good job, right?

Oh, yeah. Yeah, a job.

This is what attracted Memphis to Hamza

So I want to talk a little bit about your potential romance that we'll see on the show or I know that we're not really going to talk about the status of it now, but I know that you met Hamza online and you've had a couple hurdles, obviously language being one of them. So first and foremost, what initially caught your attention? What about him caught your eye?

I mean, if you've seen him, Hamza is a very handsome guy and he has a way with words or let's say a way with texts, you know what I mean? He is a smooth talker, you know what I mean? Which most guys are, but I mean, he knows how to sway, so that's what caught me.

And then what made you stay and try to, or at least potentially, see it through?

Well, deciding to even continue to talk to him throughout the time, I mean, he just was a really all-around really nice guy. He is. He's just a nice guy and very patient. I'm not quite patient and I can get a little fiery sometimes, and he just finds that balance and I really like him.

And so I know that you are navigating multilingual, multicountry [issues]. So do you have plans, if not to visit, to move to Tunisia? What's that experience been like?

Well, there's always talk here and there, but never anything really definitive. And you have to wait and see what happens. Time will only tell.

What did Memphis' kids think of her going on Before the 90 Days?

What has that been like, just knowing that, or at least when you were going through the filming process, like, "Oh, I could be leaving the States." What was that like to even think about?

So I have two children previous to dating Hamza and so I have a commitment to them first and foremost. And so just making sure that I stay true to that and being a mother, that comes first beyond anything else.

Yeah. And how old are your kids? Do you mind me asking?

My daughter is 14 and my son is 7.

Okay. And what do they think about all of this, about you going on the show?

Okay. So my daughter was not quite ... She thought it was a little different, but once she'd seen how everything was going, she was like, "Okay. I could get with it." But my son has been away from the whole scene, so he hasn't really been able to really see it, so.

And 7 is still really little.

Yeah, but he's very intuitive and a very smart boy. Yeah. But now that everything is coming out, his father has talked more about it, so now he is like, "Oh, okay. My mom's going to be on television." So now he's kind of like, "All right."

And I know that obviously dating comes with getting your friends and your family involved. So what has that been like for you throughout this journey? Have you gotten support from your friends and family? Did they put some hurdles in your way? What has that been like? Because you're in a very unique romantic situation.

Yeah. Very.

One that's very different.

And that is true, especially for the African-American population. I haven't seen us really [dive] in that type of different culture, you know what I mean? My mom, we haven't really had a really good relationship. It's been off and on. So she likes Hamza as a person, but the fact that he is Muslim is a problem for her. So I think she battles a little bit with that. But at the end of the day, because of our hurdles with our relationship, I really don't ... Her opinion really doesn't matter to me.

I've been on my own anyways. But some of my friends, yeah, I care about their opinion, but at the end of the day, no one's paying my bills, you know what I mean? And I feel like I'm a pretty good judge of character and especially when it comes to my children, I'm not going to bring anyone in their lives that I feel is going to possibly harm them. I mean, not that we ever think anybody will, but I don't know, just the way that he is when he is video chatting them and everything like that just shows a different side to him.


So basically, my friends and family, I'm like, whatever, you know what I mean?

This is what Memphis thinks about representing multilingual and multiracial relationships

I think that's interesting that you bring that up as well because, as far as representing different kinds of couples, I think "90 Days" has been way ahead of the curve with showing multilingual, multiracial relationships. So what is that like knowing that you will be representing a kind of relationship that we don't get to see on television all the time?

I'm actually very happy about that. I hope that the show actually shows some of the good points that we have seen within the dynamic of Hamza's family because it is a little bit different than what we've usually seen. And so I really want to show a different side of his culture, a good side, a positive side.

Yeah. Especially because — and I think that this is one of the reasons why people gravitate towards "90 Day" is in general — you see love stories that are unique and they do push the boundaries of the typical and what we expect. So that's going to be interesting to see how that all plays out. What are you hoping viewers will take away from watching that experience?

I hope that viewers will try not to be so judgmental so fast. I hope that they actually take a step back and give all of the relationships and the people a chance to really show them how their relationship either grows or not grows, instead of just automatically saying, "Oh, this isn't going to work." Every relationship is different and we all, even if it's international or not, we all have those hurdles that we all have to jump through. So I just feel like I just want them to just open up and give us a chance as well.

Absolutely. And I know that you've shared dating hasn't always been easy for you and there's been a lot of ups and downs, so I have a couple questions just regarding that. First and foremost, what would you share with people or what's your biggest advice for people who have gone through some of these difficulties and are this close to just giving up on finding an important love in their lives?

So my thing is this, after any type of breakup, I feel that every woman, every man, should take a step back and look within themselves and make sure that everything that they need is taken care of because when you feel good and you're taken care of, then you can give your best self to the other person. So then you know that if something goes wrong, it wasn't necessarily you. You see what I'm saying? So just being able to reflect back and try to make the situation a little bit better based off of whatever difficulties you've had before. So just never saying, "No, I'm not going to try this," but always keeping your heart open [since] you never know what you may find.

What has Memphis learned from her relationship with Hamza?

Another question I had just relating to that: Obviously, we will get to see your relationship unfold on TV, and I know the status of that we'll leave for the premiere, but I'm wondering, what has been your biggest takeaway or lesson from your relationship with Hamza and what you've learned about being with him? And then also maybe what you've learned about yourself and throughout the process as well?

Being with him, I have learned that I'm not as patient as I thought I was and that I must continue to be as patient with him as I am with my children. Not comparing him to my children, but you know what I mean?


Just being more understanding, you know what I mean? That's the biggest thing, is just not being so quick to judge the other person, but trying to understand, instead of just judging.

Especially when you have unique aspects of your relationship to overcome, whether that's language barriers and maybe missing the intention of the other person, navigating long distance, which I'm sure you did for a long period of time. Talk a little bit about that and what navigating that was like.

I've always said to myself, I would never do long-distance relationships.


Because I'm needy. I'm needy. So with that being said, long distance is just hard. You have to have the trust, you have to have the understanding, and you do have to have a lot of patience and not only that, but the time restraint. He is six hours ahead of me. So just all of those components, it makes it harder. Not just the distance, but the time. So just trying to make sure that we're just doing our due diligence to be present.

If you can survive long distance, I think a couple can survive anything. So it's really testing you right from the get go to see if it's —

Oh, definitely. Definitely. Especially when it comes to trust. Especially in this day and age, you know what I mean? Everything is so easy to get, you know what I mean?


So to know that, "Oh, okay. I do trust you all your way over there and I don't think that you're going to think the grass is greener on the other side," as to say, yeah, that helps give you some confidence that maybe this is going to work.

You won't believe what Hamza once did for Memphis

I want to talk to you a little bit about dating in the sort of post-COVID world and how that has been. Obviously international travel has been pretty nonexistent, so what has that been like?

Oh my gosh. With COVID, it has been a lot more difficult. I mean, there's time restrictions and then there's curfews in certain places and that limits your availability to do this or to go places. So yeah, it makes it more difficult because who wants to just sit in the house all the time? We want to get out and try to see how each other deals with mingling with other people. You know what I mean? Those are important things.

I feel like you learn so much about your significant other when you see them around your friends or when you go out for dinner all together as a big group or when you travel together. Oh my God, you learn so much about the other person. So I think a lot of those, what we would more consider to be traditional periods of time where you learn about each other, have been completely rewritten.

Oh, oh yeah, definitely. Oh yeah. And not only international, but here in the States. I have girlfriends that are single and they're like, "Oh, guy just wants to do Netflix and chill." So COVID is a good excuse for a guy to be like, "Oh, come over to my house," instead of, "Let's go out for dinner."

I'm going to be mindful of our time because I don't want to keep you for too long. So I have a couple more questions and then we will wind down. So I'm just wondering first and foremost, are there any fun or exciting behind-the-scenes stories that you can share or anything within the production experience that really stood out to you?

So, well, this situation has to deal with Hamza and I. We were, I don't know, we were in some type of medina and I was just standing on the side of the road with another producer, not paying attention, of course. And all of a sudden, Hamza just jumps in front of me and pushes me to the side. A car was literally coming by and he pushed me to the side, and me and the producer were looking at each other and she's like, "Did you just see that?" I'm like, "Yes." And that was —

Oh, my God. You found a good one, it sounds like.


What is Memphis' favorite reality TV show?

The List always asks a couple questions of everyone, and they're just for fun and to get to know you a little bit outside of the show, obviously. So one of the first questions I want to ask you is what your favorite reality TV show is of this year that you've gotten to watch?

"Hell's Kitchen." 

All right. Do you like cooking shows in general or what about it stood out to you?

Gordon Ramsay, oh my God. He is so handsome and the way that he just talks just makes me melt. I'm like, "Yes. Talk. Talk bad to me, please."

That's so funny. And then along with that as well, do you have a favorite celebrity couple of the year that has really stood out to you, good or bad?

Celebrity couples. You know what? I'm not really big into celebrities, which is really funny. I don't really follow celebrities much.

No, not really? When you were a fan of "90 Days" when you were just sitting and watching, did you have a couple that you watched that stood out to you?

Who do I really like? Oh yes, Avery and Omar.

Okay, okay.

I totally love them.

That's fun. And that's fun that you'll now be under the same umbrella. That's great. And then you don't really follow celebrities, so you might not have an answer to this last question and that's totally fine, but has there been a celebrity look that you have really liked this year or that you look at for fashion inspiration?

No, I'm actually plain. I mean, other then when I dress up to go out, I like to be comfortable at the end of the day. If my makeup is nice here and there, that's good. But yeah, I don't know. I should be more into fashion, but I definitely am not.

I mean, we've been living and working at home forever now, it seems like, so I'm a sweatpants fan all the way myself.


And then the last question that I wanted to ask you: obviously people within the "90 Day" franchise have gotten a lot of fame and a lot of attention really quickly. So what is that like for you to consider what that element of your life might be like if that happens?

I don't know. I really don't know. Okay, so in Muskegon, I'm pretty good known, so to be known throughout the world is going to be interesting. I guess it's something that I have to navigate as it comes, but I don't know. I don't know if people are even going to like us as much as they like the others. Never know.

We'll have to see.


The new season of "90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days" premieres Sunday, December 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on TLC and discovery+.