We may not have even reached the end of this year, but speculation amongst fans about who will appear on Married At First Sight 2023 has already been rife.
A recent Instagram stories video shared by the hairdresser showed her walking towards Sydney's Sky Suite apartments, where the program is famously filmed.
"I'm back," she cheekily captioned the clip — which could either mean she was announcing she'll be back on the show, or that she was just visiting the filming location where a lot of drama went down.
If Chhaur is appearing on MAFS for the second time in a row, it'll be an incredibly significant moment for her, the production team and audiences alike.
Apart from Olivia Frazer and Domenica Calarco, Chhaur was probably one of the most talked-about female cast members on the show this year. Not only did her involvement on MAFS signal a move towards more female Asian representation on mainstream TV, but the issues she dealt with on screen exposed the challenges of interracial dating and common stereotypes about women of colour.
Chhaur went onto the show as a proud daughter of Cambodian and Chinese immigrants. After being paired with Cody Bromley, she learnt that her TV marriage would be difficult to navigate when Bromley admitted he wasn't initially physically attracted to Chhaur because of her Asian heritage. Yes, you read that right.
That was only the first hurdle in their relationship. Upon visiting Bromley's Sydney Bachelor pad, Chhaur came across a photo of her and her husband that had been edited by Bromley's housemate, Zack.
Zack had photoshopped Chhaur and Bromley's faces onto a random couple, then placed a watermelon on top of Chhaur's crotch area, with a slice of the fruit cut out — and that Bromley was pictured to be eating.
Ultimately multiple unpleasant experiences, Chhaur told Bromley at the final vows ceremony that there were times she felt "really hurt and let down" during their relationship. While they gave their relationship a go on the outside, Bromley ended it straight after the reunion dinner party.
Since then, Chhaur has remained single, which makes the possibility of her returning to MAFS all the more plausible. In a recent YouTube video, she also said she'd "one hundred and ten per cent" go back on the show if the opportunity arose.
"I have no regrets about going on the show," she said. "There were certain things I wish I would’ve handled differently, aka speaking out and using my voice a little bit more, but I didn’t really get brought up that way and it’s a huge learning curve for me and I learned so much about myself and my self worth."
Seeing the fan favourite commit to the program again would present her with a second chance to find love in the unique social experiment. The benefits of her going back would be her familiarity with the process, a better understanding of what she wants in a partner, and an established fan base cheering her on.
The only concern I have, as an avid viewer and fellow woman of colour, is Chhaur being stereotyped or treated unfavourably once again because of the colour of her skin — something no woman should have to experience. With producers and experts aware of what she went through with Bromley, the expectation to cast accordingly and get it 'right' this time has only mounted.
If the past season and Chhaur's experiences have taught us anything, it's that racial bias and misogyny inevitably exist in the modern dating world. Having seen this playing out in the past, we can now only hope that MAFS supports contestants in challenging stereotypes and makes dating on TV — for Chhaur and other women of colour — a respectful experience, as they rightfully deserve.
Refinery29 Australia has contacted Channel 9 for comment.