Love Is Blind's Kyle And Sal Navigate Reality Television Romance - Exclusive Interview

When the first season of Netflix's "Love Is Blind" premiered in February 2020, it became an instant sensation. Viewers couldn't get enough of the reality dating experiment — it quickly became the No. 1 show on Netflix within a week of its release. The premise is deceptively simple: Singles start by entering the pods, where they can sit and chat with members of the opposite sex in an effort to get to know them better. The only hitch is that they never get to see each other during the pod process. The idea is that the singles will fall in love based on emotional connection alone, and once that has been established, they become engaged.

It's only after the engagement that the couples are allowed to see each other for the first time. From there, they go on a complicated journey over the course of four weeks to determine if their emotional connection is strong enough to lead them both down the aisle to say "I do." With the roaring success of the first season, Netflix decided to move forward with "Love Is Blind" Season 2, which sees a whole new group of singles looking for love. Will they make meaningful connections? Will they end up at the altar? Time will tell!

Prior to the release of Season 2 of "Love Is Blind," The List sat down with cast members Kyle and Sal to discuss the process of finding love on the popular series, what they learned about themselves as romantic partners, and much more.

Sal stayed focused during the pod process

Sal, during the pod process, you're isolated from friends and family so you can't be influenced by their opinions, but did you ever feel like the opinions of the other men influenced how you felt about Mallory when you first started talking to her?

Sal: Honestly, no, because I was keeping all of my notes on all of my dates really close to my chest, and I wasn't telling anybody for two reasons: I didn't want to throw anybody off, and I didn't want anybody to throw me off. It's such a unique situation to be in the same room with all the men dating all the women. I thought it was important for me to keep that to my chest and I didn't let them influence me at all. I was like, "All right, you're into Mallory, too." I was like, "All right, I'm going to go play pool or something." [Laughs]

Did you feel like that even during the times where you were talking to Jarrette one-on-one? That didn't sway you in terms of how you felt about Mallory — you just kind of knew that was the right course for you?

Sal: I was like, "We're all trying to find the same thing. We were all trying to find a genuine connection," and "There's nothing personal here, man." At the end of the day, we don't own anybody, we don't own women or anything like that. I'm not saying Jarrette thinks that either, but I'm saying it's a free-for-all, and we are all entitled to our own decisions. Mallory's going to make her choice, I'm going to make my choice. End of story.

Kyle had to navigate a tricky love triangle in the pods

That seems like a mature approach to the situation. And you know, Kyle, obviously you also found yourself in a complicated love triangle on the show. I was curious if you could elaborate on how you separated yourself from those heightened emotions to work out how you felt and what you really wanted from the situation?

Kyle: As far as the triangle goes between me, Shayne, and Shaina, I had no idea that Shayne was interested in Shaina because he spoke so highly of Natalie. I had no idea that was even a thing. I came out really early in the lounge and I was like, "Yeah, Shaina is probably the person that I'm going to end up asking to marry me." I remember on day five, which was early on ... And I think that I really... not scared away other people, but they changed directions a little bit [after that]. Not that I intentionally intimidated other people out of talking to her, but I got to their heads a little bit when I said [what I did]. 

That wasn't my [intended] approach, but that did come back to me later on, because people started to get into my head a little bit. I was talking to two other people who I thought I could easily marry as well. That was really tough, but like Sal said, you block that out and don't let it affect your decision, because that will drive you nuts.

Sal, I wanted to mention that you were very vulnerable and open during the filming process, and I think it was really refreshing to see you being so openly emotional on television. That felt very natural in the moment, but did you have any concerns after the fact about how that would come across or how you'd be portrayed on the show once it aired?

Sal: That's mainly the thing, I definitely tell ... now that I can say more about it, I'm like, "I cry a lot, guys." I like the idea of opening up that door for all men. I feel like it's really important to open up that door and encourage men to take off the armor. Really be vulnerable, be emotional. That's a sign of strength and that you are owning your emotions. I don't care if people take that and run with it and call me a sensitive or weak person or something. I don't care about that. I know that there are men out there that feel like they can't express themselves.

At least [by] seeing my example in that way, I feel like that's working on something bigger and that all of us, as men, could excel in that direction a little bit more.

Kyle and Sal discussed the importance of being vulnerable

I think that was really important. And I know Kyle, you as well were very open about being emotional. So, do you feel similarly to Sal? That you just kind of wanted to paint this picture of like, there's different ways of being manly?

Kyle: Yeah, totally. I cry all the time. [Both laugh]. I don't care, because [other men] wish they could cry and be confident at the same time. They're jealous. If they're going to make fun of you, it's because they're jealous. That's the way I look at it.

Sal, I was interested, from your perspective, what do you think was the biggest lesson you learned about yourself as a romantic partner during your time in Mexico?

Sal: Oh man. I need to make sure that I don't... damn, in Mexico? [Laughs]. I did party a little bit in Mexico. The biggest lesson I took away was that I could always listen better. I could always not get too ... It's good to be emotional, but it's even better to make sure that your emotions don't get the best of you, and to make sure that you're also listening, and that you're also catering to your partner. That's probably the biggest thing I got from Mexico, because it was a lot. I was dealing with a lot, and all of us were going through a lot over there. I hope that answered your question!

Sal and Kyle learned important lessons while on the show

Kyle, I wanted to ask you almost the same question. I know your experience in Mexico was a little bit different, but what do you think your biggest lesson is that you've learned about yourself as a romantic partner going through this process?

Kyle: Well, moving forward, I'll definitely be a lot less critical, because at these points in our lives, [in a way], we've lived a full life. We have our opinions and our beliefs, and I shouldn't expect to change anybody. I think I expect people to be more like me, and I need to stop trying to change people and start to be more accepting.

Sal, I know the show is focused on the romantic partnerships that you guys form on the show, but what was most rewarding to you about getting to know the other guys that you were with in the living quarters?

Sal: I really enjoyed getting heart to heart conversations with them. When we were in the lounge, hanging out together, all of us talking about our dating experiences, it gets vulnerable. It can get real, and once we all started sharing that we were having these strong feelings for the women on the other side, ... that was probably the most rewarding for me, because it's not very often that I have a group of men that are going through the same exact thing as me. That was really rewarding and refreshing to go through as guys together.

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