Love Is Blind's Deepti, Iyanna, And Shaina Talk Falling In Love On Reality TV - Exclusive Interview

In February 2020, Netflix launched "Love Is Blind," a binge-worthy reality dating show that's based on the premise of finding love without ever seeing the person to whom you're speaking. Throughout the process, singles engage in meaningful conversations with one another in isolated pods — they can hear one another, send each other gifts, and share meals, but they never come face-to-face. If two people find love, they become engaged and are finally able to lay eyes on their betrothed. Whether or not they inevitably walk down the aisle is a matter that resolves itself over the next few weeks of programming.

The concept may sound strange in theory, but Season 1 of "Love Is Blind" resulted in two marriages (per CheatSheet). Given the streaming success of the first season of the show, and the success of the couples who partnered up during filming, Netflix went ahead with Season 2, and the first five episodes are now available for streaming. Prior to the release of Season 2 of "Love Is Blind," The List sat down for an exclusive interview with cast members Iyanna, Deepti, and Shaina to discuss what it's like to fall in love on a reality TV show, what really goes on in the women's living quarters behind the scenes, and much more.

Iyanna and Deepti had different approaches to the pod process

Iyanna, when you were getting to know Jarrette in the pods, you were really vulnerable with him, and you bravely shared some deeply personal experiences with him. I know you wanted to do that to get to know him as well as possible, but did you ever have any reservations about sharing those experiences on camera with a wider audience?

Iyanna: No. It was something I had to figure out if I was comfortable with before even going on the show. I wouldn't feel comfortable marrying someone who didn't know those things about me. It was something where I had a "come to me" moment and said, "Iyanna, it's something that needs to be done if you really want to find love on this." It was still nonetheless uncomfortable, but definitely necessary.

Deepti, I know during the pod process you're isolated from friends and family so you can't be influenced by their opinions of the situation, but did you ever feel like the opinions of the other women influenced how you felt about Shake when you first started talking to him?

Deepti: Absolutely. It actually meant more to me what his relationship was like with some of the other girls, because it says a lot about who he was as a person. If he can't get along with my friends or my family, that's a deal breaker for me. His interactions with the other girls made a big impact on how I viewed him.

Especially because, like you're saying, the women on the show with you, you all sort of become each other's allies. So, you have to trust each other almost as much as you trust yourself, because you want to get an accurate idea of, when you're talking to Shake, not just the version that he's presenting to you, but the complete version of him as he is with everybody else.

Deepti: Exactly, and I learned a little bit more about him through his dates with Iyanna. She got to know him on a different level. There's a lot of different things that you can learn.

Shaina had a tough time dealing with a complicated love triangle

Shaina, obviously the situation you found yourself in was complicated because you're at this weird cross section of these two different love triangles, essentially, between yourself, Shayne, Natalie, and Kyle. But I was interested in how you separated yourself from the complicated nature of that and everyone else's heightened emotions to figure out how you really felt and what you wanted?

Shaina: The part that was so hard was that I didn't have my family support. I didn't have my friends back home. You're like — well, not speaking for them [Iyanna and Deepti], but I felt a little bit lost and blind in the situation ... love is blind! [Laughs] It was hard because you're going back and forth in your own head. It also makes you realize how much influence there is out in the world. What would happen if there wasn't that much influence in who you're dating?

It was rough, though. It was hard because, again, you're making these big time decisions, but everybody was so supportive. Everyone was great. It was harder for me to kind of open up that fast, but yeah. I'm so sorry. What was the question? [Both laugh]. I feel like I kind of got lost. Sorry!

You're okay! I was interested in, because you got so swept up in everything, what your process was like in terms of saying, "Okay, I'm separating myself from everyone else's feelings and what they want. This is what I want," and prioritizing yourself.

Shaina: Right, right. And the whole thing with Shayne and Natalie, it's also influencing you, because you're like, he's into Natalie, you know what I'm saying?

I'm sure it's tough to be in that situation where you have to say, "Okay, I know I need to put my emotions aside and be practical, but the heart wants what it wants."

Shaina: The heart wants what it wants. Exactly.

Deepti leaned on the other women for support

Iyanna, I know that the show was centered around the romantic relationships that you develop with the men, but what did you find most rewarding about the times where you were able to spend time together in the women's living quarters?

Iyanna: I actually spent a lot of time by myself! I read quite a bit. I was very secluded in a way because I wanted to stay focused, but everyone is so nice. Everyone's so sweet. I would listen to other people's concerns or issues, and it made me realize how good of a listener I am.

Deepti: You're a very good listener!

Iyanna: Thank you! I've been practicing. That was my biggest lesson being with all the girls, honestly.

Actually, I would also be interested in Deepti, and also Shaina as well, if you want to take turns answering that, if you felt similarly to Iyanna where you separated yourself from that, or have you found that there were specific moments when each of you were in the women's living quarters that were really helpful or beneficial or made you happy?

Deepti: Honestly, I needed those women in the pods, in the lounge. You go on this intense date and you go through stages of these intense dates. If anything negative happened or anything positive, you come in there like, "Oh my God, girls. This is what just happened. Give me your thoughts." They were really my support system and I really loved engaging with them and going through all the emotions.

Shaina, did you feel like that as well? I know obviously you were having a tough time in terms of relating to Natalie.

Shaina: I internalized everything, which has been my problem my whole life. I  wish I would've been like Iyanna where she was focused. I feel like I was all over the place in my head, which [is how] it probably can come across on the show. At the same time, it was also nice having the support of the women as well. I wish I would've been more vocal about what I was going through, but I definitely internalized a lot of it.

The women learned valuable lessons during their time on the show

Deepti, do you feel like the process of all of this and how the show was set up allowed you to be the most authentic version of yourself with Shake?

Deepti: Yes, absolutely. Especially because you're taking away the physicality of it. And I'm very in my own head when I'm on dates and things, because I'm like, "Okay, do I have food in my teeth?" There's all these different factors of the physical elements of it. And so, it was so easy to be a little bit more vulnerable and just be more authentic. Yeah. Absolutely, this experience made me feel that way.

Iyanna, in a similar vein of that question, what do you feel like you learned the most about yourself and how you approach this complicated time of entering a relationship and really kind of opening yourself up to somebody for the first time?

Iyanna: I learned that I do struggle with quite a bit of my own anxiety. And I think the hardest thing for me to start to navigate, now that I know that about myself, is to manage those anxieties and not project them, which is really, really difficult. But I also learned that I am extremely resilient and that I've grown quite a bit. I took that time and it paid off, and I'm pretty proud of myself.

The first five episodes of Love Is Blind Season 2 are now streaming on Netflix.