Monet Bell, 33, was hoping for happily ever after when she said “I do,” to Vaughn Copeland, 30, on FYI’s Married at First Sight. The experts had deemed the couple highly compatible on paper. But Monet and Vaughn quickly discovered they had irreconcilable differences that could not be overcome in the 5-week time frame of the social experiment.
In Part 1 of this 2-part interview, we’ll get to know Monet, why she chose to apply for ‘Married at First Sight’, what caused the breakdown in her relationship with Vaughn and the positive lessons she learned from this experience. Here we go…
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in NYC and raised in Cleveland, Ohio.
Do you have siblings and are you close with them?
I have 2 sisters and 1 brother. We are all in contact with each other.
Are you close in proximity to family?
No, I have lived in NYC for almost 11 years and for the most part, I have been alone. Only in the past 3-4 years has my younger cousin moved up here for college. She and I are close.
What is your support structure?
My support in NY is based on my close friends. However, my family does visit.
Have you always lived in Harlem?
The first year I moved to NY I lived in Brooklyn and the Bronx. However, once I moved to Harlem I fell in love with the area.
Can you share how you heard about ‘Married at First Sight’?
A high school friend of mine found out about it, and gave me a call to suggest I interview for it. However, when I interviewed for MAFS I didn’t know what the premise was. I thought it was a docu-series on being single and dating in NYC. I didn’t find out about the premise until I was invited to the work shop.
How did you come to a decision to apply for the show?
It was actually easy. Once I found out the premise, I already knew that I was in a place that I really was ready to settle down, but I hadn’t found the right guy. I also had no prospects either. I was dating men who had no interest in settling down. I was over that, and I wanted a husband.
Was the general consensus of your friends and family in support of your decision?
Yes, my family and friends were supportive from day one. They know I march to the beat of my own drum. (Laughs)
Did you have any reservations, once they told you they had a match for you?
I had a few, but once I met the experts I felt more confident. I also felt like I immediately connected to Dr. Cilona, so knowing someone of his caliber would be on the panel was reassuring. Also the producers made it clear that this show was going to be positive. From a surface standpoint looks aren’t the most important thing to me, but I knew this was going to be on TV. No TV channel is going to match people up with trolls, to be on air. So I knew at minimal, he was going to be somewhat attractive.
What was originally on your list for a potential husband?
I have never been the type of woman with a long list of things I needed in a man. I just wanted a man who cared about my happiness, was ambitious (has direction/a plan), wanted children and was respectful. Oh wait…and was taller than me. I’m 5′ 4” and not asking for much. Here’s the thing, when I think of the men in my life, they are ambitious, focused, have direction and stability. These men are all gainfully employed and are successful in their own right. It didn’t occur to me that I had to be that specific, because to me, that is par for the course with driven men.
Dr. Joseph Cilona told you to be careful what you ask for; that perhaps you didn’t understand what went along with that. Can you explain what this meant for you personally?
He was correct. I asked for things in a husband, but I had not taken into consideration that with those characteristic come other components. I said once before, I wanted a traditional man…you know, someone that opens doors, walks on the outside of you while walking down the street, a good provider, and one that occasionally brings me flowers. However, I didn’t think about the fact that sometimes with a traditional man, they can be chauvinistic. I had not considered this until going through the show. Now when I ask for things, I try to think about the other characteristics that might come along with it.
A person is never going to completely know until they are in the relationship, but I have grown and I’m a smart cookie…(Laughs)
What’s great about the show, is that the viewers watch me grow and change as a person. I have grown as a woman and I think because of the show, I will be a better wife to the right man. I have also made sure to understand what kind of wife I want to be to my husband.
How would you change your original list, based on your experience on the show?
My list is the same. The only difference, is now I have subcategories to clearly define what I want. The other day, I sent Kevin Frazier this long list on Twitter of what I’m looking for in a husband. He laughed at me because it was so long. I was doing it mostly to make a point. Although I wrote this list out, I don’t think anyone will get 100% of what they want. We have to value the important stuff we need. I’m not perfect and I don’t expect husband to be.
Other than what we saw of Vaughn moving in, sharing your space, grocery shopping and learning to cook, what was the biggest adjustment you had to make to married life?
I think Vaughn and I have extremely different love languages. Because I didn’t understand how to show him I cared in a way he would receive, that contributed to us struggling. For example, I think he needed more verbal affirmations. That isn’t something I tend to need.
In my interview with Cortney, she indicated she and Jason were able to tune out the cameras by keeping eye contact. Were you able to tune them out as well, or do you think the cameras were a detriment to your relationship?
The cameras really didn’t bother me. I think Vaughn took more issue with having the cameras around all the time. Yes, I do think to some extent, they did hurt our new relationship. I wish he and I had been able to share something similar to what Cortney and Jason had. That would have been very helpful to us.
In your initial assessment, Dr. Cilona told you that true intimacy requires vulnerability, something you said you struggle with. Were you able to be vulnerable?
No, I wasn’t able to be vulnerable all the time. I think I had moments of vulnerability.
For me, trust goes hand and hand with vulnerability. Due to poor communication between Vaughn and myself, I wasn’t able to establish any trust with him. He was admittedly in a bad mood, most of the time. I think that contributed to him not building trust with me, as well.
Coming up in Part 2 of the interview…Monet’s relationship with and take-away from each of the experts, her biggest challenge post show and advice she would give to Married at First Sight Season 2 applicants and matches.