‘Love is Blind,’ Tree Edition: Will 16 Stanford students find love on the hottest dating show ‘off’-campus?

Sept. 14, 2020, 4:01 p.m.

Even if you’re reading this, you probably don’t have time to get emotionally invested in the love lives of your Stanford classmates. Neither do we … but here we are.

We are Nicole Tong ’24 and Michaela Guo ’24 and we’ll be giving you the daily scoop on the first ever season of “Love is Blind Stanford”!

In other words, we’re just two starry-eyed frosh who might have too much time and too little stress for our first week of college. Consider it our productive escapism from Zoom anxiety.

“Love is Blind Stanford” is airing their first episode today (Sept. 14), and we could not be more pumped!

If you haven’t been following the “Love is Blind Stanford” Instagram page, or you’ve never watched “Love is Blind” on Netflix before, here’s how it will go down.

16 people. An episode per day from Monday through Sunday. An anonymous group chat with quirky aliases (Nicole’s personal favorite is Faire N. Hyte), and a mini game every day. Viewers get to see the participants’ introductions and daily video diaries, but participants don’t get to see each other’s.

But why does this exist? How did this genius idea get off the ground? 

“It’s pretty hard for people to find love at Stanford in general,” said marketing, social media and outreach lead Ari Gabriel ’23, who also writes for The Daily. “It’s especially hard when no one is on campus. [Maddy and I] had been watching love shows together over Zoom. And we were like, we should do this for Stanford students.”

With the concept in mind, the turnaround was quick — their first meeting was Aug. 19, and contestant applications were released shortly after, from Aug. 28 through Sept. 1.

With 48 applicants and only 16 spots, the team read each form looking for specific — even “spicy” — traits.

“Most of the folks we chose went above and beyond with their applications and put in a lot of information that really allowed us to get to know them,” co-host Maddy Fischer ’23 said. “One of the big factors was, do we feel that this potential contestant could vibe well with the group energy we’re trying to make?”

Among other questions, the chaotic-lawful, good-evil alignment chart helped the team select a balanced mix of people. Kellen Vu ’23, executive producer and co-host, also revealed that “most of those we chose were genuine people looking for love — but we threw a few spice applicants in there as well.”

Either way, we are confident the production team has picked the perfect contestants for Stanford’s hottest reality dating show.

Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: The main group chat was created Sunday morning on LoopChat and is already “lively,” according to Vu. Contestants can privately message each other or create sub-group chats that remain hidden to the creators.

“The other thing we did — we were given this tip by ‘Love is Blind Cal’ — was cast with a few couples in mind. And we definitely did that,” Gabriel said.

(No word on whom those specific couples might be, but that’s not going to stop us from making our own ships — *wink*.)

Gabriel was thorough in ensuring the participants couldn’t see the Instagram page, blocking any and all accounts they might have access to.

“We had people who were like, ‘I have access to 25 Instagram accounts,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, guess I’m blocking 25 Instagram [accounts] today,’” said Gabriel. “We had someone who didn’t tell us their secondary account. And then we immediately found them an hour before showtime. They were clicking on the story. And that’s why we decided to block secondary accounts.”

Each of the introduction videos ends in “I’m _____, and I’m ready to see if love is blind.” But what do the people behind this spin-off themselves believe?

“I think in a way love is blind,” Gabriel said. “Emotional connections are super important, and I really hope that our viewers learn about making emotional connections and go on to make those in their relationships.”

For Vu and Fischer, it looks like they are hoping this show will tell them.

“I think I’ll genuinely find out from this show. If a couple actually comes out of it, then I’ll believe it. You know, I’m not sure I totally believe it yet, but I’m excited to see,” Vu said.

Fischer, who is a watcher of Netflix’s “Love is Blind,” is taking a more scientific approach that hints at future seasons of “Love is Blind Stanford” for other Stanford hopefuls.

“The results [of the Netflix show] were rather inconclusive. I feel that we have to do a repeat study — you know, to confirm or deny,” Fischer said.

Our professors might disapprove, but we (Michaela and Nicole, and hopefully you) are emotionally invested and prepared to start shipping people. We’re still getting used to the aliases — but Pineapple Princess and Fresh Mango: Don’t they sound like they were just meant to be? If we get our very own Lauren and Cameron this season, we’ll be thrilled. And if not, we’ll just wait until the next season rolls around!

Contact Nicole Tong at nwtong ‘at’ stanford.edu and Michaela Guo at mcguo ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Nicole Tong '24 is the Reads beat desk editor. Contact The Daily’s Arts & Life section at arts ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.Michaela Guo is a staff writer in the News section. She is a freshman and plans to study Human Biology and Asian American studies. Contact her at mguo ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

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