If there's one thing we've learnt over the past few years, it's that going on a dating show doesn't necessarily mean all love is lost if you don't find romance by the end of it.
Besides more Instagram followers, brand collaborations and VIP event invites cementing one's influencer status, recent times have shown the emergence of strong female friendships and an innovative way to extend those precious 15 minutes of fame thanks to the latest post-reality TV trend: podcasting.
The Sit With Us podcast, launching on June 8, comes just over two months after the MAFS finale aired in Australia.
"You all asked and we are delivering!" Ding wrote on Instagram to announce the new project, saying it will "bring humour, realness and let’s be honest there’s always a little controversy."
The 30-40 minute episodes will feature Calarco and Ding discussing romance, friendships, careers, entertainment and of course, reality television. The duo confirmed they've been "waiting for the right time" to set the record straight, saying, "We feel so much has been said in the media and now we can speak on our own platform with no rules."
Before you brand the pair's new venture as nothing more than a shameless publicity grab to extend their 15 minutes of fame, it's important to realise that to their credit, Calarco and Ding have simply grasped a potentially lucrative opportunity that frankly, a lot of us are buying into. MAFS attracted record ratings this year, and from news about Jackson Lonie's cheating scandal to Olivia Frazer launching an OnlyFans account, there's still buzzing interest about the show's cast.
The post-reality TV podcast has already proved to be a success in Australia. The Bachelor's Laura Byrne (Season 5) and Brittany Hockley (Season 6) have been discussing friendship, relationships and dating on their podcast, Life Uncut, since it launched in July 2019. In November 2021, their podcast was picked up by the Australian Radio Network, landing them the Life Uncut Radio Show, broadcast nationally on Saturday mornings.
The Masked Singer judge Abbie Chatfield, who placed as runner-up in Season 7 of The Bachelor, also scored a national radio show, Hot Nights with Abbie Chatfield, following the success of her It's A Lot podcast. Like Calarco and Ding, she had received a lot of interest from followers about her thoughts on different topics, which motivated her to start the podcast in March 2019.
"After The Bachelor finished airing, and I was left heart broken on a rock in South Africa, I began to use my Instagram in the way that I wanted to, discussing sex, mental health, the patriarchy and everything in between," Chatfield said in a press statement announcing her Hit Network radio show in January.
"I would receive countless DMs from followers letting me know how much they appreciate my IDGAF approach to all of these taboo topics, so I decided to start this podcast to house all of my thoughts in one place."
In Byrne and Hockley's case, their podcast has proved to be more than just a career win. Their success as a duo has proved the power of female friendships that can be gained from going on a dating show, even if you don't get the guy. Note: Byrne actually won Matty J's season, so you could say her bond with Hockley is a bonus.