Byron Baes: Everything You Need To Know About Your Next Reality Show Obsession

Netflix has turned it's attentions to Australia's west coast

Byron Baes

by Marianna Manson |

Hands up if you’re just a little bit bored of glossy, aspirational reality TV?

At some point over the last decade, reality TV has broken free of it’s rough and ready roots (so long Jersey Shore, au revior The Simple Life) and took on an altogether more unrealistic tone. From Selling Sunset to the army of identikit Love Islanders who hit our screens every summer, it’s all starting to get a little... predictable.

That certainly does't go for Netflix’s latest offering though: Byron Bae’s (a play on words of Byron Bay, the infamous stretch of Australia’s most westerly coast on the bucket lists of backpackers the world over). The reality show has been touted as so awful that residents in the area have even sparked protest against the series and demanded the streaming giant pull it from the site.

Intrigued? Obviously you are. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Netflix’s Byron Baes?

Netflix’s newest obsession-in-waiting isn’t short of glamorous influencers – in fact, the whole pretence of the show follows a group of social media influencers living in luxury digs and wreaking havoc on the otherwise tranquil seaside town. So far, so Love Island.

But Twitter has dubbed the show the very best/worst of the genre, so whether you love it or hate it, it’s fair to say it’s divided opinion.

‘Australian Netflix has a show called Byron Baes and it’s the worst f*cking thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life,’ wrote one enraged viewers. ‘I hate all these people and this type of show and fbsjdjakakka’.

‘I watched Byron Baes and while I was very disappointed there were no murders, I can see exactly why the real people in Byron Bay are so mortified by this show. #byronbaes #shitbaes,’ tweeted someone else. One viewer seemingly summed up Australia’s collective reaction when they wrote, ‘I have started Byron Baes and I know locals hate it but sorry, "are you supposed to drink while you sound heal" is the most Byron shit I've ever heard, 10/10 accuracy, I love that terrible town.’

Others couldn’t get enough.

‘Is Byron Baes the stupidest show? Yes,’ wrote one sage commenter. ‘Am I going to watch the whole thing? Also yes. #ByronBaes.’

‘Byron Baes is so bad and brain numbing but I can't look away.. so, when is Season 2 dropping? #ByronBaes’.

For those on the ‘can’t look away’ end of the spectrum, we’re here to tell you that while a second series hasn’t yet been confirmed, all eight episodes of series one are already on Netflix.

What’s the controversy around Netflix’s Byron Baes?

Local residents in the area have been vocal about their opposition to the show, with calls to boycott Netflix until it removes Byron Baes from its service.

As early as April last year, comedian and Green party candidate Mandy Nolan, who had been a resident of the area for thirty years, expressed concern that the series would distract from the town’s social and economic problems, like the housing crisis.

She said, ‘Most of our friends, so many people that we know, have nowhere to live right now. They don’t really feel like you rolling into town telling a fantasy story that doesn’t exist.’

Another landowner said, ‘We have huge environmental issues, huge social issues here. I don’t want these influencers coming here and painting this fantasy picture that all is well in Byron Bay. It isn’t.’

They even launched a petition to have the show’s filming rights revoked in the area, which read, ‘No permit = no location filming. No location filming featuring our exploited paradise = no series.

‘We, the community want all relevant statutory authorities to refuse to grant the production filming permits for any and all local and state government land, roads, parks, and waterways proposed for use during filming of the series. We further request that any filming permits already granted be rescinded in light of the detrimental impact to both our community and the environment.’

The petition was dismissed, with filming beginning later in 2021 and the show landing on Netflix earlier this month.

And it’s not only the locals that have slammed the show – viewers have taken to social media to point out the lack of racial diversity too.

Who are the Byron Bae cast?

It may have only been on screens for a matter of mere days but Byron Baes has already made stars (using that term loosely) of some of its cast.

It helps that they were all cast thanks to their substantially social media followings and influencer careers in the first place of course, but if you were looking to add a sprinkling of Australia’s most controversial new stars to your feed, look no further.

Hannah Brauer

First up, Queen Bee Hannah who's got 17.5k followers on IG.

Elias Chigros

If you're familiar with Love Island's many overseas spin offs, you might remember Elias from the 2018 Australian version.

Nathan Favro

Nathan describes himself as an 'entrepreneur and dog dad' and while there's evidence on social media of his pup (who DOESN'T have his own account - what is this? Amateur hour?) it's unclear what he's been entrepreneuring.

Dave Frim and Saskia Wotton

Dave and Saskia come lumped together because they are, in fact a couple and also - well - neither of them have blue ticks on Instagram. Their collective followers total just over 20k.

Jessica Johansen Bell

Jessica, along with her sister Lauren who also appears on the show, is a fashion influencer and runs her own clothing label, Johansen.

Lauren Johansen Bell

Lauren has the modelling side of the partnership nailed.

Elle Watson

Elle likes to know she's making a difference in the world and her Instagram account claims she is an 'Empowered business woman, a philanthropist with style, funding impact projects that save the planet 🌏 👑'.

Jade Kevin Foster

Jade is the best known influencer on the show with the biggest Instagram following by far - 1.2 million to be precise.

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