‘Don’t Do What I Did’: MAFS 2023 Stars Share Their Best Advice For The 2024 Cast

Photo by Hanna Lassen/Getty Images
Married At First Sight stars Evelyn Ellis and Duncan James
From the throwing of wine at dinner parties to the dropping of truth bombs at the commitment ceremonies, the Married At First Sight (MAFS) experience is one big rollercoaster. Amidst all of this drama, it seems it's easy to get distracted from the initial point of the show, which is for contestants to find love with a stranger, and hopefully a fairytale happily ever after.
No one's better placed to understand the uniqueness of this social experiment than those who've participated in it in the past. With filming of the 2024 MAFS season having just started in Sydney last week, cast members of this year's season have shared some advice for the newcomers.
Sandy Jawanda, who was paired with Dan Hunjas on the 2023 season, says authenticity is the key to surviving the experience.
During her time on the show, she faced many ups and downs. In one episode, she told producers that Hunjas disappeared for six hours after they consummated their marriage, on the same night that Hunjas told the show's experts he wasn't sexually attracted to her.
"Just be yourself and be authentic because you can’t hide it. The camera knows and it all comes out," Jawanda tells Refinery29 Australia. "If you make a mistake, own it."
Claire Nomarhas advises new contestants to not betray their partner's trust. She cheated on husband Jesse Burford with co-star Adam Seed.
"Don’t do what I did," she says. "But I would also say just be vulnerable, be resilient, [have] trust in yourself and have fun with it.
"It’s not as serious as [you think] it needs to be as well. You can have a laugh, you can enjoy every moment and not be hard on yourself."  
Seed's wife on the show was Janelle Han, who again encourages cast members to just "be yourself".
"At least you know you were genuine, you knew who you were as a person, and that way, you can walk away feeling proud of what you’ve done."
Tahnee Cook and Ollie Skelton are one of the two couples still together from the 2023 season, along with Melinda Willis and Layton Mills.
Cook reiterates Jawanda's point, saying, "Don’t fake it."
"The audience is going to see it, and you’re going to feel better about yourself coming out of the experience [just] being you," she explains.
Meanwhile, Skelton says there's value in listening to your instincts when navigating the reality TV experience filled with lots of loud characters.
"Trust your gut," he says. "Trust your intuition because if you feel like you should say something and you say it, then it’s going to be rock and roll. It’s going to be all good."
One of the surprising outcomes from 2023 was seeing Evelyn Ellis and Duncan James become a couple after the show ended. Ellis had initially been paired with Rupert Bugden, while James was with Alyssa Barmonde.
James warns that there's "going to be some downs" but also "plenty of ups", and that "the show’s what you make it".
"If you go in with a negative attitude, you’re going to have a crappy time. If you go in with a great attitude, you’re gonna have ups and downs but you’re going to come out and be like, 'That’s a really cool thing that I did'.
"And I got to meet Ev," he then laughs, beaming about his fresh romance.
Filming began in Sydney for the 11th season of MAFS last week, which will once again see strangers meeting at the altar for the first time and getting married in front of their close family and friends. Here's hoping some of these tips reach the next batch of love hopefuls. One thing's for sure, we'll definitely find out when the show returns to our screens in the new year.
Want more? Get Refinery29 Australia’s best stories delivered to your inbox each week. Sign up here!    

More from TV