Discovery+’s reality dating series Naked and Afraid of Love is a spin-off from the highly popular Naked and Afraid franchise.
In keeping with the original plot, Naked and Afraid of Love strips participants down to a few items, only to drop them naked and with just the bare necessities into an island paradise setting.
This is where the similarities with the original show end.
Naked and Afraid of Love asks the question, “Can eight single men and eight single women find romance without the comforts of modern dating?”. That means no soap, toothpaste, deodorant, or other personal hygiene products.
And don’t even think of cellphone service!
While other shows of this type may force couples together, the cast members of Naked and Afraid of Love are literally left to fend for themselves and can link up to do things like find wood, find water, and, perhaps, make out.
Season one just finished airing, and let’s just say it was “get downs,” “break downs,” and “courting gone wild.
Let’s dive into what happened to each cast member on Naked and Afraid of Love!
Arielle “The Princess” Simonee
Property manager Arielle is a 30-year-old Detroit resident searching for someone to look out for her. She is looking for a person who is attentive to her needs. She is fully aware of what she wants and speaks her mind without hesitation.
Britt “The It-Girl” Whitmire
Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, Britt works in Seattle, Washington as a human resources specialist. With a strong personality, she is not afraid to speak her mind. She loves to travel and be outdoors, and she wants someone who will go on all her spontaneous adventures with her.
Brittany was cast after a friend tagged her in a Facebook post about the new dating show. During the casting process, the native North Carolinian was unaware that wearing clothes would not be an option on the show.
According to ET Online , the casting team talked to her about her comfort level in terms of nudity, and she said that she was fairly confident about being naked at the time. Yet, the premise of the show surprised her.
She said, “I think my biggest hesitation was just regarding how would other people view me and would this impact my career?”.
Moreover, Brittany acknowledged that she is well aware of body issues, which certainly occupied her mind while filming the reality series.
In the end, it all worked out. The part-time model, who doesn’t deem herself a survivalist, was able to maintain some distance from other contestants when they were first dropped off on the island.
Candice “The Pageant Queen” Liang
Former “Miss Bikini Hawaii” and “Miss Ocean 2018”, Candice is a 29-year-old Ph.D. student in Social Psychology from Honolulu, Hawaii, with full scholarship and stipend. She also holds an MBA degree.
As a graduate teaching assistant, she teaches psychology to undergrads and strives to make a difference and impact the world with her compassion for others.
When the stunning beauty is not busy making the world a better place, Candice can be found on fashion shoots for Maxim, SavFaire Magazine or New York Fashion Week.
She is looking to find someone who will care for her and make her feel loved.
Cassalei “The Grown-Up” Jackson
Cassalei is a 26-year-old LA-based computer engineering student and Kevin Federline’s stepdaughter.
She has a child with Zoey 101 actor Chris Massey. Quite the claim to fame! Cassalei wants to connect with someone she can be honest and open with and is not looking for casual dating.
Well, fat chance. She seemingly hit it off with cast member Jay on the show, but the two didn’t exactly get along after the show ended and split up almost immediately.
Chelsea “The Shy One” Bellini
A 27-year-old photographer from Houston, Texas, Chelsea is shy by nature. As a result of a series of broken relationships, Chelsea is looking for a Hercules who has her best interests at heart. It is not acceptable for her to be someone’s backup.
Crystal “The Free Spirit” Bui
Currently 29, Crystal is a life coach from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Her aunt and uncle were watching Naked and Afraid when she once visited and she thought that it would be pretty cool to challenge her body, mind and spirit on a show like that. Shorty after, somebody on social media reached out to interview for the show and Crystal was puzzled about where they had found her.
After the pandemic hit, the casting team reached out again for Naked and Afraid of Love and the rest is history.
On the show, she is looking for a spiritual and adventurous partner. Her kind, outgoing, and curious nature makes her interested in meeting someone who wants to explore the world with her.
Crystal did indeed find that special person on Naked and Afraid of Love when she fell hard for Candice, who seems to have reciprocated the feelings!
Are Candice and Crystal still together?
As of this writing, there is no supporting evidence that the two have broken up. However, neither Candice nor Crystal feature each other on their social media. We can only assume that they decided to keep the status of their relationship private.
Lauren “The Open Book” Bonner
As an event manager in Los Angeles, Lauren is a natural leader and wears her heart on her sleeve. Lauren is seeking a partner who is trustworthy and means what they say.
Rachel “The Freediver” Strohl
29-year-old Rachel is a social media marketer who lives in Oahu, HI. Rachel is an accomplished free diver who can dive 40 meters underwater on a single breath. She is open to being vulnerable and putting herself out there to find love.
Michael “The Veteran” Dietrich
Originally from Alberta, Canada, Michael currently works as a strength and conditioning coach.
Not a big fan of TV, the outdoorsman first watched “Naked and Afraid” on a Sunday night at a bar on Jasper Avenue in 2019, where he saw himself win the show. Dietrich decided to try stripping down and surviving 21 days in a Colombian jungle after being challenged on Instagram.
On the show, he’s back for more of the same. According to Michael, dating is difficult for him because no one can keep up with his nomadic lifestyle.
Well, it looks like Mountain Mike found love after all, and he had to get off the island for it:
Nelson “The Wild Card” Monroig
Video game developer Nelson is 28 years old and hails from Philadelphia, PA. He enjoys making jokes and having a good time, but he’s the one to trust when it comes to taking care of business. As a single man, he enjoys his freedom but is looking for love and excited to meet potential partners.
Barak “The Fire Man” Raz
Firefighter Barak is 33 years old and from Brooklyn, New York. He’s looking for adventures and ready to leave his comfort zone. According to Barak, a relationship is about being vulnerable and open.
Throughout the show, Barak is worried about his penis size. Lauren, his partner, reassures him that it’s ok. “My vagina is massive,” Lauren jokes. “I don’t wanna brag, but it is.”.
“I learned to be more open-minded,” Barak quipped after filming wrapped. “Sometimes people dress in a certain way . . . but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s who they are. One thing that I learned on the show was that I don’t think love is about finding the right person, I think it’s about becoming the right person.”
Ben “The Hunter” Coleman
House flipper Ben, 32, is a stereotypical rugged alpha male from South Carolina. Being his own boss gives Ben a great deal of freedom to go on adventures, including hunting.
Bennett “The Coach” Murphy
Besides working as a bartender, Bennett is a part-time youth soccer coach.
Originally from South Carolina, he seeks an adventurous girl who doesn’t care what other people think. Murphy was originally cast for Season 16 of The Bachelorette to compete for Clare Crawley’s heart.
The pandemic delayed the production multiple times, so he was forced to cut ahead to participate in Naked and Afraid of Love instead.
Bennett was particularly concerned about the rough conditions on the show. In addition to having to make out with someone who hasn’t brushed their teeth in a while or wouldn’t be able to keep themselves clean like they’re supposed to, he was going to be really self-conscious about his own hygiene.
During the show, he kept drama-free, cultivating a good-guy image.
Bennett Murphy is currently single and has recently moved to Laurens town, NY. There is no information on his past relationships.
David “The Surfer” Girton
“Big Brother” season 15 alum David Girton makes a TV comeback after a short-lived claim to fame for his on-screen fling with fellow Big Brother houseguest Aaryn Gries – right before being the first person eliminated from the house.
David, 33, who has a perfectly arranged swoop of sun-bleached blonde hair, is a San Diego-based surf instructor with a bit of a Peter Pan complex who enjoys spending time with his mom.
Early in the show, he is paired with Rachel, whom he quickly becomes dependent on for even the smallest things.
We guess he was just looking for that mom replacement to help him smoothly ride out this experience like a wave!
Jay “The Playmaker” Simms
Jay is a 25-year-old Maryland deliveryman. Many perceive him to be an f-boy, but he’s in the middle of a self-development journey and ready for taming… which kind of sort of happened on the show.
The hunk hooked up with Cassalei, only to part ways with her almost immediately after filming. Even before the flight, he seemed to have stopped paying attention to her.
“Our hotel rooms were right next to each other and he didn’t talk to me at all,” Cassi wrote in an Instagram post.
According to a Reddit post, there was a good reason for Jay’s strange behavior.
Cassalei allegedly kissed Stefen, another “Naked and Afraid of Love” cast member. As a Reddit user noted, “I thought Jay had a problem with commitment, but for Cassalei to cheat with Stefen? For shame.”
Stefen “The Smooth Operator” D’Angelica
Much like other castmates, D’Angelica is no stranger to TV either. The 31-year-old waiter and aspiring model was on WE tv’s Hustle and Soul reality show, along with his identical twin brother, Dominic D’Angelica.
The twins worked at Chef Lawrence Page’s Brooklyn restaurant The Pink Tea Cup. They would appear on the show for all three seasons, including the last season in which the Pink Tea Cup expanded to Miami.
Stefen recently ended a five-year relationship that left him feeling low and unloved. Now, he is ready to make a fresh start and find love.
Rather than watching Stefen serve great food, we can now enjoy fresh drama and barely blurred nudity with Naked and Afraid of Love episodes.
Unfortunately, Stefen’s quest for love only got him a brief encounter with castmate Cassie’s lips, which ultimately led to the end of Cassalei and Jay’s on-island romance.
Will There Be Naked and Afraid of Love Season 2?
Naked and Afraid of Love is returning for a second season on national television. In September 2021, Discovery announced that it would renew the series for season 2.
With this new season, contestants may be sent to a different island other than the Philippines. We’ll just have to wait and see who will be cast and the show’s perfect setting.
In a press release, the chief brand officer of Discovery and Factual, Nancy Daniels, said, “We are thrilled that audiences are watching discovery+ for Naked and Afraid of Love. We were excited to lean into what Naked and Afraid could develop into. It is great to see the creative and strategic payoff.
Daniels further added that by coming up with the Naked and Afraid of Love contest, the company found creative ways to boost their streaming and linear businesses, mostly targeting single women.
It isn’t clear when Naked and Afraid of Love season 2 will premiere, nor do we know where it will be shot. We are definitely looking forward to Discovery+’s big reveal of the premiere date.
Who Will be Cast in Naked and Afraid of Love Season 2?
According to the executive producers, the contestants who will appear in the second season of the show haven’t been revealed yet. If we were to be brutally honest, fans of the Naked and Afraid franchise like to see attractive contestants; this is part of the thrill of watching this show.
One fan lamented that in Season 1 of Naked and Afraid of Love, the male contestants had more relationship experiences and seem incredibly handsome, but the gals were just average. He demanded that the show cast “hotter people”; otherwise, he would not come along for season 2. The anticipation for this second season is definitely high peak!
One thing is sure; Discovery will not hesitate to pick contestants that can serve us a dose of drama. According to one associate producer, the chosen will showcase their survival skills in the wild jungle that is romance.