The hit-reality television series Love Is Blind will have a woman who has served in the military as a contestant on its Washington D.C. season, the host, Vanessa Lachey told Task & Purpose this week.

Lachey spoke with Task & Purpose after a United Service Organization virtual event connecting with servicemembers at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, RAF Lakenheath in the U.K. and Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia as a USO global ambassador. Lachey’s father was in the Air Force and she has spoken often of her childhood as a military brat.

Task & Purpose asked Lachey if the show would have a military contestant after rumors spread in Washington, D.C. that the next season would be filmed in the city.

“I don’t want to say which branch, I will say it’s a female,” Lachey said. 

Love Is Blind is a Netflix reality television series where couples meet, date and perhaps even get engarged “sight unseen.” Over a season, a group of men and women “date” each other for 10 days while in adjacent “pods” without laying eyes on each other. Couples only meet face-to-face if they decide to get married with no knowledge of what their future spouse looks like – a nail-biting moment known as “the reveal.” After six seasons, the show has been a major hit for Netflix, premiering last Valentines Day with 907 million minutes of viewing time in the United States, according to Nielsen data reported by the Hollywood Reporter. 

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Lachey and USO officials both declined to specify if the cast member is still in the military or is a veteran.

While the show takes a non-traditional approach to dating in the 21st century which is almost exclusively about looks, swiping left and right on potential love matches – some found humor in the idea of American troops going into an experiment that leads to a fast marriage. 

The D.C. season won’t be the first time a woman with military credentials has been on the show. In Season 1, Amber Pike ended up marrying her match, Matthew Barnett. Pike’s role as a mechanic on artillery vehicles in the Georgia National Guard was an early issue between the two with Barnett saying he felt intimidated by her military experience (the show described her as an “ex-tank” mechanic, though her instagram posts show her working on M109 Paladin self-propelled howitzers — which is definitely not a tank). 

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Some fans criticized the show’s producers for using Amber’s military experience to define her character as being ‘not like other girls’ but more rough and tough. Others noted she had more recently worked as a waitress prior to the show.

The Barnetts are still together – a win for the series which introduced dozens of couples of which nine are still married.

Military members have participated in reality television since the dawn of The Real World MTV series. 

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Ryan Allen Conklin, a former Army Sergeant, was a cast member on The Real World: Brooklyn. He also starred in The Real World Presents: Return to Duty, a 2009 documentary chronicling Conklin’s second duty tour in Iraq.

Spencer Swies, a contestant on The Bachelorette, attended the United States Military Academy West Point and planned on a full career in the U.S. Army, he told Military Times in 2022.

“I was definitely … probably too self-conscious about how I was going to be portrayed, or what I was saying,” Swies said about his few episodes of reality show fame.  “That kind of weight was a little bit too stressful for me at the time. I wish I just kind of lightened up a little bit more and was able to show that the military has fun people, too. We do have personalities.”

Jubilee Sharpe appeared on season 20 of The Bachelor in 2016 but was eliminated a few weeks in. Sharpe then returned to the Army to finish out her four and a half years in the military, working as a computer and radio programmer, according to US Magazine.

U.S. Navy Lieutenant Andy Baldwin earned his “#BachelorNation” fame as the 10th man in the ABC series to look for love on reality television. Baldwin went to Duke University on a Navy Reserve Officers’ Training Corps scholarship and became a Navy doctor. He even deployed to the South Pacific for recovery missions to find bodies of POWs and MIAs, according to reporting by The Hill.

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