Netflix’s reality dating show “Love Is Blind” has prompted viewers to ask themselves the question: Is love really blind?

Some Cal Poly students have taken it upon themselves to find out.

Unlike other dating shows, “Love Is Blind” features a dating atmosphere wherein contestants develop impressions of each other by talking through a wall so they cannot judge each other by appearance.

The Netflix series’ second season is not set to premiere for another year, but Cal Poly students can now watch their fellow peers and classmates participate in Cal Poly’s own “Love Is Blind” reality dating show via Instagram.

Instead of talking through a wall, students are getting to know one another from their own homes.

Biological sciences sophomore Elena Forster said she was inspired to bring this virtual dating concept to Cal Poly after hearing about University of Washington students putting together a similar version of the show. University of Washington public health sophomore Taylor Odom has helped Forster run the social media IGTV show with Cal Poly students. 

“I think that people will be making connections with people who they wouldn’t necessarily have met at school,” Forster said. “Especially in quarantine, this can allow a way to get to know people, so if I can help people make some new friends, I would call that a success.”

According to Forster, the virtual dates and conversations between contestants are being relayed to viewers via the Instagram page @loveisblindcalpoly.

The account, which has more than 700 followers, posts the contestants’ dating experiences via screenshotted text conversations and daily self-recorded video narratives from each of the contestants. 

To ensure that this dating experiment really is “blind,” contestants have been given code names to use when referring to one other, and have been blocked from the Instagram page to prevent them from seeing what other contestants look like.

Contestants were paired by the social media host and given their phone numbers and code names.

The first round of virtual dates allowed contestants to converse via an anonymous texting app to preserve their anonymity.

Then, after deciding which other contestants they would like to get to know further, the second round featured a phone call between contestants using the same anonymous app.

Once contestants decided which other contestants they were most interested in, the final reveal will take place on Instagram as a live story where viewers can watch the contestants meet each other face to face in real time. 

Viewers will be able to watch the show’s two part finale via Instagram’s live story feature on Monday, May 25 at 7 p.m. and Tuesday, May 26 at 7p.m.

According to Forster, students were able to apply to be a part of the show simply by filling out a Google form linked in the bio of the Instagram page.

More than 100 applicants filled out the form, only 12 would ultimately made the cut. 

In selecting the contestants, Forster said that she tried to prioritize the applicants’ senses of humor as well as diversity. The contestants she chose have differing backgrounds, as well as differing sexualities. 

“Definitely one of the things I looked at was trying to make it diverse,” Forster said.

Graphic communications junior Brendan Cerutti is one of the 12 contestants.

Cerutti originally applied after a friend recommended he do so.

“I just thought it would be something fun to do during the quarantine because there’s nothing else to do,” Cerutti said. “I didn’t really realize how crazy and fun it would be.”

According to Cerutti, the dating experiment is also much more difficult than he imagined. 

“It’s been super overwhelming having to talk to four different people and having to keep those conversations going while trying to remember who you are talking to,” Cerutti said. “It kind of feels like I was on ‘The Bachelor’ and I had all these women that I was talking to..” 

Unlike the real “Love is Blind” series, the Cal Poly version will not end in televised marriages or proposals. For some contestants though, a new relationship could be possible.

“I think it’s going to be a really cool connection that I will have with another Cal Poly student, but there is always an opportunity for that happening,” Certutti said. “I think it would be a really cool origin story for a relationship, but it’s too early to tell.”

Communications studies junior Julianna Quihuiz also applied “jokingly” to be a contestant, she said, upon the recommendation of her roommates. Though all of her roommates applied with her, Quihuiz was the only one to be selected for the social media show.

“That’s kind of how it goes with me and my roommates. We just do things because they’re funny,” Quihuiz said.

Quihuiz is one of only two bisexual contestants on the show, and has been matched with both female and male contestants. 

“There are very few LGBTQ contestants, so we don’t really have as many options,” Quihuiz said. “If it were to go onto another season – which I think it should – with other contestants, [including more LGBTQ students] should be a priority.”

According to Forster, there most likely will be a second season of Love Is Blind Cal Poly. 

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