How long did it take to put the mask on? Was there a second date?!
The internet was taken by storm the day that the Sexy Beasts trailer dropped. The blind dating show — which dresses up its contestants in bizarre and intricate masks — had a totally unique premise and was as strange as it was interesting.
The show premiered on Netflix on July 21, 2021, but it almost left us with more questions than answers. Did contestants get to choose their masks? How long did they take to put on? And — perhaps the biggest question of all — do the dates keep happening when the cameras stop rolling?
Narcity spoke to Tamiko Sianen, who appeared on the second episode of the show dressed as a zombie and trying to woo James the Beaver. Sianen — who lives in San Francisco but went to university in Victoria, B.C. — said that when she was approached to be on the show, she didn't know quite what she was signing up for.
How do you get cast on Sexy Beasts?
Sianen said a casting director from the show reached out on Instagram, but a lot of the specific details were left a bit vague.
"The only thing that was listed was, like, this new dating show on a major streaming network," Sianen explained. 'Kind of like Love Is Blind, but not, and it meets The Masked Singer. And they're like, 'We'll use professional-grade prosthetic makeup and you'll go on a date.' That's all I knew."
It wasn't until Sianen was flown to London to shoot — in a massive, Pride and Prejudice-esque manor — that she was introduced to the makeup artists and shown what her mask was: a zombie.
Do Sexy Beasts contestants get to pick their own masks?
Sianen said she wasn't involved at all in what mask she got to wear, but she was still stoked when she saw what the producers had picked out for her.
"My initial reaction was actually like, 'Yes!' For one I love zombie movies, but also I was hoping I would get like a really crazy mask, I guess. Just because it would make my life a bit easier with the reveal aspect," Sianen laughed.
Not everyone loved the mask, however.
"It was funny because a lot of my friends and family watching [...] were like, 'Oh my gosh, they did you dirty! That was so mean! Dude, you are so ugly.' And I was like, 'Wasn't the point supposed to be it doesn't matter what you look like?' But they're like, 'No, it's not fair. There was a pixie and animals and then there was you, this random zombie!"
The mask took about six hours to apply, she said, after which she couldn't fully open her mouth to talk. If she had to pick another mask to wear, Sianen said she'd go with competitor Amber's pixie mask or Nina's dolphin mask from episode five.
The prosthetics made the 30-minute date more difficult, she explained.
"I think there's just this awareness when you go on a date of being confident literally in your own skin," she said.
"And when you go in [...] blind, because I didn't even know who I was going to speak to, what he was going to look like [and] I didn't really know what I was looking like, either [...], the entire thing didn't really feel like your standard first date. I mean, it's not supposed to be!"
Did you get a second date after Sexy Beasts wrapped?
Unfortunately, Sianen was eliminated from the blind dating competition after the first speed date round, losing out to Alexis the Leopard and Amber the Pixie (who Sianen said were both very lovely to hang out with).
However, when the zombie mask came off (taking several more hours of makeup chair time, she said) and Sianen revealed her true identity and appearance to the group, James clearly felt a little less comfortable with his decision.
The Beaver-masked man eventually picked Alexis the Leopard at the end of the episode, but Sianen got one more mention.
"My choice in Alexis was amazing and I hope that we can continue our journey together," he told the camera. "But if that doesn't work out, I am definitely going to hit up Tamiko."
So — the big question — did James hit her up?
"I did get a message after, yeah," she said "but we didn't actually have [a date] in person. I'm sure I'll meet him in person at some point. He is in L.A. as far as I know, and I'm in San Francisco. I brought it up on our first date! I was like, 'Oh, I think I might be like the closest to you, distance-wise. Something could work out.' And he, like, totally missed it."
Can you find love on a dating show?
Sianen — who also hosts a dating podcast, Asian Bae Club — said she thinks it's probably possible to find love on a dating show. If the couple is right for one another, she said, it's just like meeting on an app or in person.
"I think it takes a certain mindset for sure because a lot of people will probably be questioning it," she added. "But anything can really happen."
And at the very least, Sianen was able to go on three more dates while in London, just without the zombie mask.
She said she'd be down for doing the show again (All-Stars edition?) but she'd like to be on the other side of the table.
"I think it would be more fun though to be the chooser this time," she said. "I think that would be good."
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.