The new Bachelorette loves reality TV’s extremes


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Angie Kent first came to our attention watching reality television on Gogglebox. She freely admits she would have been watching it whether the cameras were rolling or not. “I’m not going to lie, I’ve always loved it,” she laughs.

Osher Gunsberg and Angie KentCredit:

Back in the day Kent – like most of Australia – was hypnotised by the early seasons of Big Brother. She also had a bit of a thing for the really trashy UK reality series, such as Geordie Shore. “I think because we don’t know – or I don’t know – any humans who are actually like that. It’s like watching wild animals in their natural habitat.”

But as for appearing on a reality show herself? Nope. “I was interested in working behind the scenes,” she says. “I always wanted to direct or produce documentaries. But I never thought of myself being in front of the camera.” Still, when a friend in the biz (actually, one of the producers on the Blake Garvey season of The Bachelor) put Yvie Jones’ household forward to the Gogglebox producers the girls thought, well, that sounds like a really terrible show – but how hard could it be?

It not only turned out to quite the ride, the series ended up being the perfect prep for deeper forays into reality TV. Gogglebox is, strictly speaking, factual programming. “It’s very much fly on the wall,” Kent says. “The crew are in another room. You’re not produced. You’re just sitting on the sofa.”

The jungle was different. Just a couple of weeks after quitting Gogglebox Kent and Jones were approached to be part of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here. That series is classic reality television in the Big Brother mould. “There were cameras all around you,” Kent says. “And when you go into the tok tokkie you do speak to a producer, so that was where I got my first taste of talking to camera.”

Now she’s done The Bachelorette, which takes things next level. She was surrounded by crew 18 hours a day, with hair and makeup and multiple costume changes. “It’s still very much me, but it’s me in situations I wouldn’t normally be in, doing things I wouldn’t normally do,” she says. “And that’s the thing I love about reality TV – being yourself but in these extreme situations.”

Given her love of the genre, the question has to be asked: has she ever watched UnReal?

“Yes!” She laughs again. “We’re not that extreme in Australia but there are similarities. I mean, it’s set up. It’s not like I get to organise my own dates.” And she knows that of course what will appear on screen is not going to be a perfect match with her real-life experience. “At the end of the day we all signed up for it. We all should be ready to see stuff we might not like to see. But I’m also kind of excited to see what they’ve created out of what I went through.”

On the basis of her own experience, as both aficionado and participant, Kent thinks Australian reality television plays pretty clean. “We do push but we don’t push too far,” she says. “Over there (the US and the UK) – it’s just trash. But I think the only super-trash we have here is MAFS (Married At First Sight). The rest is actually pretty healthy.”

That said, the recently concluded season of The Bachelor distinguished itself by its hot-and-heavy action. Kent is silent on the amount of pashing we might see in her series – and on whether she has, in fact, found true love. “But while I’m all about saying ‘wait and see’ I can definitely say you won’t see any dry humping,” she assures us. “I’m not a dry humping sort of girl – on national television, anyway. I like to save that kind of thing for the privacy of my own home.”

I’m not a dry humping sort of girl – on national television, anyway. I like to save that kind of thing for the privacy of my own home.

The only other thing we know for sure about the new Bachelorette is that – in a move that’s equal parts genius and creepy – Kent’s brother will be there as an undercover faux-bachelor, to suss out the behaviour of potential suitors. She will not, however, be taking her brother on any dates. “I don’t know how much I’m allowed to tell you – I don’t think I can say when he leaves – but I don’t have to date my own brother, no. We have to pretend, of course, that he’s there to date me. But no. That would be weird.”

Which only leaves one question. Which reality format is she going to tackle next? Survivor? The Masked Singer? As it happens, she can’t sing, she can’t cook, and she’s not going back into the jungle. She doesn’t mind a boogie, though, so a turn on Dancing With The Stars isn’t out of the question – some time down the track. “But I don’t think I want to do anything anytime soon. I think I have to take my ‘reality’ hat off – and get back to reality.”

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