In 2003, a little show called The Bachelorette made its debut on ABC, and the trailblazing star Trista Sutter forever became the go-to for reality TV real talk. Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with Trista and husband Ryan Sutter, whom she met on The Bachelorette back in the day, to talk about what else? Reality TV and how it’s changed in the nearly dozen years since the couple made their debut.
As the First Lady and Gentleman of Reality, Trista and Ryan are currently starring on WE Tv’s Marriage Boot Camp, welcoming cameras back into their lives after a long hiatus. Still fans of ABC’s rose-colored show, they’ve had lots of time to reflect on the major changes the series has gone through.
“When I was first on the show it was only Survivor and Real World that were on,” Trista told us. “I think it’s changed a lot. Now, you can’t escape it. When [[Ryan] was on The Bachelorette, you could escape it.” What’s she talking about? The isolation, which contestants complain about, since they’re now not allowed phones, TV, music, books… basically, anything that would keep them from being focused on the Bachelor or Bachelorette at all times. While we’re not sure what Ryan’s access to technology was, he did get a little exposure to the real world.
So, what was it like when Ryan was a resident of Bachelor Mansion? A lot healthier, it seems. “When you weren’t directly involved, you could catch your breath. They’d let you go for a run or whatever.” (Fun fact: Contestant Andrew Poole recently ran into controversy on Season 10, as producers took some of the guys out for dinner one night early on and he got a waitress’s phone number.)
But it’s not just The Bachelorette that keeps a tight leash on the talent. “Just being even on Marriage Boot Camp, that doesn’t exist anymore,” Ryan adds, referring to privacy and time for reflection. “Everywhere you go, someone is monitoring you. And then you’re exposed to so much more with social media, and everyone has anonymous opinions of you. And then when you’re the focus, like Andi [Dorfman] or Trista was, there are people you’re meeting who are going on for reasons other than just to meet you. They could be promoting causes, or whatever, so you have to sift through that.”
Yikes! As Andi showed in Episode 4, things aren’t always easy. An argument with contestant Eric Hill got heated, and she’s been getting flak on Twitter and in blogs ever since. But it sounds like even for couples like the Sutters who have become gilded over time, things aren’t always easy. “We were on it at a good time, I think,” Ryan adds.
Trista left us with some advice for the couples coming out of reality TV shows in the future: “Do whatever you need to do to get through it. Don’t worry about what people think or say. I know it’s difficult in today’s social media world, but do you. Do what you have to do.” It sounds like they are following their own wise words!
Additional reporting by Sam Lear