IT’S SAID to be one of the most “diverse” dating shows to hit our television screens yet.
In a room surrounded by cameras and filled only with a queen sized bed, participants in dating social experiment Undressed have a simple task at hand — strip the other person naked within 60 seconds, and climb into bed.
With participants from a mix of different cultural backgrounds and sexualities, the SBS show purports to challenge preconceptions about race and sexuality.
Inspired by research suggesting you can accelerate the process of attraction by encouraging physical and emotional contact, Undressed — which kicks off on Monday January 16 — puts the theory to the test.
Hoping to explore diversity in a “bold and original way” the weekly series originally launched in an Italian format, and is “much more than a dating show” according to the makers.
By bringing diverse individuals together in a new TV format, the program is an opportunity for us to explore our Charter in a fun and mischievous way,” Marshall Heald, SBS Director of Television and Online Content, said.
Each episode features two pairs of strangers going through a similar, yet entirely unique, experience.
They meet in a room, furnished only with a bed and a large-screen TV. Instructions and questions flash up on the screen, guiding the strangers through the process — with the first directive being to strip each other down to their underwear.
28-year-old Ryan from Brisbane decided to sign up for the show based on his desire to try something new.
“I saw it advertised and thought I’d go for it. I’m trying to step out of my comfort zone, and this was very different,” Ryan, who works as an electrician, told news.com.au.
Originally from the UK, Ryan moved to Australia when he was 18. Having been single for over a year, he thought the experience would be a different take on his usual approach to dating.
“I was pretty nervous when I first walked on set, obviously it was all quite daunting” he said.
“But walking on set, the pressure is kind of taken off because you can’t see any of the cameras because of the darkness. You can just see the bed and the TV.
“I was obviously a bit nervous about the girl that was going to come behind the screen as well. When we were asked to undress the person in front of us within a minute of meeting them, that was pretty daunting.
“It was pretty much a quick introduction and then straight into it undressing, but it allowed you to have conversations you wouldn’t necessarily have on the first date.”
As the experiment continues, the couple get into the bed and answer a series of probing and deeply personal questions. At the conclusion of the date, each person is given the choice to stay and get to know their counterpart better or to leave.
Ryan said that while the experience was quite nerve-racking, “it felt right” to be paired with his match, 29-year-old Seraphine.
Seraphine, who also lives in Brisbane, decided to join the show after being in two long-term relationships and “needing to try something new”.
While Seraphine, who works as a solicitor, said the experience was “daunting, especially as a woman” she never felt more confident in her life post-show.
“I, and a lot of people I know, have body image conflict, and so it was very hard not to let that show on my face straight away,” Seraphine told news.com.au.
“Normally, you try and hide your bad sides, but with this show everything was out there and on display. It’s quite distressing at first, but then became quite relaxing because you can’t hide anything.
“Once you strip down, you think ‘well, this is me and what you see is what you’re getting’.”
Seraphine admitted that when she first saw Ryan, she wasn’t thinking whether or not he was a good physical match.
“When he smiled, I though OK well even if it’s nothing at least he made me feel comfortable straight away,” she laughed.
“We jumped into bed and then the screen prompts you to do certain things, like talk about intimate topics or hug one another for one minute.
Seraphine said that while the show was scary, it has given her more confidence about her body than she ever imagined.
“We had to do a pillow fight which was really awkward,” she explained.
“It’s all on TV, but the fight was one of those things where I thought my boob was going to come out, and I remember thinking ‘oh my god what if my boob comes out on TV’.
“But looking back, I can now see that I am way more confident about my body after the show.
“It’s not perfect but it’s mine.”
Undressed will premiere on Monday 16 January at 9.30pm AEDT on SBS
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