MTV’s hit reality series, Are You the One?, kicked off its seventh season this past August, and the so-called “Season of Fate” features a contestant who grew up right here in the Capital Region. Brett Ferri, who grew up in Burnt Hills and is now a certified personal trainer at Equinox gym in Manhattan, is one of 22 singles (11 men and 11 women) who were selected to head off to a dream resort in Hawaii to find the love of their lives.
But, of course, there’s a catch: The show’s producers have predetermined the perfect pairings between each of the 11 single people via a team of professional matchmakers and psychologists (think Myers-Briggs for dating), and the contestants don’t have a clue who they’re supposed to be paired with. So they have to do some romantic reconnaissance work. And if Ferri and the other contestants can follow their hearts and find the right mate—at least according to said producers—then the whole cast gets to share $1 million (just so you know it’s not a scam, the casts of Seasons 1, 2 and 6 all got the max cash prize; Season 5’s cast got nothing).
I recently talked with Ferri about his Upstate upbringing and what it’s like being an MTV reality star.
You went to high school in Burnt Hills. I take it you’ve spent a lot of time in Saratoga. What do you think of our city?
Growing up so close to Saratoga Springs was truly a blessing. People don’t understand how amazing that city is. First off, nothing compares to catching summer concerts at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. That’s something you must do in your lifetime. The character of Saratoga is just unmatched. Grabbing a coffee at Uncommon Grounds, devouring a Putnam Market sandwich, walking around the park, taking the boat out on [Saratoga Lake], betting on some ponies or enjoying the nightlife on Caroline Street. There’s just something for everyone in ‘Toga. It will always be one of my favorite places in the world.
How did you hear about Are You the One? And were you scared to audition?
I’d actually never heard of Are You The One? before MTV reached out to me. Once I made it to finals in LA and had a pretty good feeling about making it onto the show, I binge-watched Season 6 to get an idea of what I was potentially getting myself into. I never really felt scared or nervous [during the] audition. They wanted me for a reason, and I’ve never been the shy type. I told myself, “Just be who you’ve been your entire life, and you’ve got a solid shot at making this cast.”
Has it been difficult getting used to being on camera all the time?
Not at all. Being a personal trainer, especially in Manhattan, actually made me that much more comfortable being around a bunch of people. I’d definitely consider myself an extrovert. And I’m not easily embarrassed, so the cameras didn’t really bother me. I will say, being filmed while going to the bathroom wasn’t exactly enjoyable. But for the most part, you forget they’re even there.
Are you playing Are You the One? for the money or the chance to actually meet someone?
I went on Are You The One? for the chance to fall in love. I had a pretty bad heartbreak, and ever since, I’ve been shut down to the idea of commitment and dating. If I don’t put myself out there for someone on a serious level then I can’t get hurt again. Right? Well, speed dating through life got old. I reached the point where I wanted something real again, someone I can build a life with and create memories with. I decided it was time to give love another chance.
What are your plans after the “Season of Fate” ends?
[I’m] not sure what my plans are after Season 7 ends. I think I’d like to travel. Just get out there for a while and see some of these beautiful places I’ve always dreamed of visiting. There comes a certain point where you’ve got to stop saying, “I’ll do it someday,” and just do it (no Nike pun intended).