‘It’s Very Degrading’: MAFS’ Melinda Willis Addresses Harrison Shaming Her Having Cosmetic Enhancements
While Married At First Sight is a social experiment that challenges contestants to form a strong romantic relationship with another stranger, it also tests their capacities to interact with the wider cast.
Throughout this season, we've seen Melinda Willis (who's married to Layton Mills) and co-star Harrison Boon (who's married to Bronte Schofield) clash frequently, critiquing one another's respective marriages and not seeing eye-to-eye at dinner parties.
During last night's episode, Boon criticised Willis and her appearance behind her back during a conversation with his wife, Schofield.
"She is so image-driven. That’s all she cares about, it’s so obvious," said Boon. "From surgeries to how she presents to who she is as a person."
Speaking to Refinery29 Australia, Willis said she was disappointed to see Boon shaming her for how she looks and making assumptions about her appearance.
"When someone like Harrison says that about women, it's very degrading and it just says more about him," says Willis.
The reality TV star explains she hasn't actually gone under the knife as Boon assumed, but has had cosmetic enhancements such as lip and cheek fillers, along with Botox on her forehead.
Society has shamed women for dabbling in cosmetic procedures for a very long time. It's true that traditional media and advertising's constant anti-ageing messaging can be toxic and that it can be harmful to buy into the concept that we need to change how we look. However, it's also important for women to have agency over their own bodies and make those changes if that's what they want to do. It's this philosophy that Willis stands by.
"Sometimes you feel a certain way and you want to bring it to the outside to represent your personality and who you are," she explains. "So, I don't see the shame in that, and I definitely don't want to be someone that hides from that or lies about it."
Willis says she was even more disappointed to see Schofield, Boon's wife, agree with him when he made those comments.
"The disappointing part was that another female was sitting on the couch laughing with him and agreeing," she says, "and that's what I don't agree with."
Speaking of disagreement, the drama on MAFS came to a head last night during the partner-swap challenge, when Willis was required to spend three nights with Boon, while her husband Mills was meant to stay with Schofield. While Willis agreed to commit to the challenge in its entirety, Mills had decided to stay in a separate apartment from Schofield and only do certain tasks together, involving sharing feedback on one another's marriages.
A preview at the end of the episode revealed a glimpse of what's to come in tonight's episode. We see that once the challenge was over, Mills decided to not come back to the apartment he usually shares with Willis, after Schofield affirmed some of his doubts about his relationship with Willis. The change of heart was a big shock to Willis, who then confronted Schofield for an explanation (as we see in the promo).
Willis says that when she noticed a "sudden" change in Mills' body language, facial expressions and treatment of her, she immediately jumped to the worst conclusion.
"My brain just naturally went to, 'Surely Bronte's said something'. But then why would she? She's a girlfriend. She knows how much Layton means to me," she says.
Willis says that since filming ended, she and Schofield have been on great terms, so watching this footage for the first time — where Schofield claims to Mills that he's been "gaslit" by Willis — was disheartening and shocking.
"To this day, she's sending nice messages and being a friend," says Willis. "I was honestly just so shocked."
With only a couple of dinner parties and commitment ceremonies to go, we're reaching the pointy end of the reality show and closer to finding out which couples are still together and who's gone their own way.
This story was originally published on Refinery29 Australia.