It all started with an Instagram picture she posted of herself in a black leotard. The picture was taken before she was casted by MTV, and the caption went on to describe the struggles she faced since then. She said that she missed the confidence she'd once had and how she had felt depressed after filming the show. Emma encouraged fighting the struggles we battle everyday, and loving ourselves for who we are. Because of that post, I decided to reach out to her and ask about what it's like to be on reality TV and what it's like being able to spread such a positive message.
( The photo mentioned above) This photo is a screenshot off of Emma Sweigard's Instagram account.
The 22-year-old California native first auditioned for the show as a joke after being turned down by the popular reality show, the Bachelor.
"I was almost on the Bachelor, Ben’s season, and I didn’t end up getting picked and was devastated so my sisters were like, 'You should do this show!'... I jokingly sent in an application and said, 'I’ve dated professional atheletes, millionaires and idiots and I’m willing to make a fool out of myself on TV if you can actually find me a good guy.' Joke was on me because they called me the very next day and the rest was history," Emma said.
On the show, Emma was feisty, real, trendy, and blunt in the absolute best way. She seemed to be having the best time meeting new people and enjoying the beauty of Hawaii, but this wasn't the case. It turns out, that reality TV is not always exactly how it seems (who would've thought?). Emma has Celiacs Diseases, and for those who don't know what that is, it's an autoimmune disorder that is caused by a reaction to gluten. While on the show, in the midst of partying and spending time with castmates, Emma was accidentally ingesting gluten through SKY vodka and gained a total of 25 pounds while filming the show.
Long story short, she started feeling miserable. As a result, everything you wish wouldn't happen to you, happened to her. She developed severe acne, her hair was falling out, and she'd cringe at the thought of watching herself on TV. Life wasn't easy for Emma after the show. When an episode would air, nasty comments about her weight and appearance made her feel worse than ever.
"I think going on reality TV made me super self conscious. Which is something I had never felt before... I didn't look or feel like myself." Emma said.
After the show ended, her social media accounts gained more followers and fans started to pour in. Emma didn't hesitate to use social media as a platform to show off her fit and healthy life style, spread words of encouragement and self love, prove that girls do eat more than just a salad for lunch, and show that negativity on social media is never okay.
"I just want girls to know whatever it is, it can and will get better if you work on it every day. I felt so so horrible at certain points that I honestly didn’t know what else to do. I refused to post that I was 'happy.' I have to be authentic no matter what. And honestly, you guys made me feel so much better. I felt accepted, even though I didn’t feel accepting of myself or my situation," Emma said.
Emma has moved on, and is working on becoming the best version of herself she can be. She used her winnings from the show and opened an online boutique (a really great one I may add). She, Camille and Victoria, all "Are You the One?" veterans, are now "soul sistas," and talk everyday because, let's get real, no one else can really understand what happened behind the cameras.
The realness of reality TV is that it sometimes produces stars who don't realize the impact they make on young girls. It's not always the way we picture it in our minds and not everyone gets thrilled about the thought of watching themselves on TV. There's more behind the scenes, and even the stars who I believe are idolized by thousands get criticized by millions. Basically, folks, it's not all that it's cracked up to be.
So, let's face it. The world isn't perfect, and it certainly won't produce role models like Rory and Lorelai for every generation (sobs internally). But it doesn't take the Beyoncé's of the world to impact young girls, such as myself, in a positive way. Emma did nothing but live her life and star in a reality TV show for a single season. She's not rolling around in billions of dollars or leading a multimillion dollar incorporation, but she's doing just enough to do what people with greater power fail to do. She is spreading a positive message with the voice she does have. She is working and creating a business with the money she won from the show and is working on herself. Whether or not she realizes it, her 80K followers look up to her and view her as a great role model. All it took to get my attention was a simple post on Instagram.
Above is a video Emma made for me to include with this article as a message to her fans. You can follow her social media accounts by pressing the links below!
Above is a trailer of MTV's show, "Are You the One?" for Emma's season.