Married At First Sight’s First Trans Contestant Ella: ‘I Knew I Would Get A Lot Of Backlash – But This Is A Huge Moment For My Community’

Ella Clark is the the first transgender contestant on Married at First Sight UK, and speaks to Grazia about the importance of representation on TV.

married at first sight

by Aaliyah Harry |
Updated on

The new series of Married At First Sight UK is almost upon us. The upcoming season is set to be the longest-ever MAFS UK run, with 36 episodes chronicling the romances of the blindly-matched couples.

According to relationship expertPaul C Brunson, this is the most diverse cast the show - and a number of dating shows in the UK - have ever seen. Grazia caught up with clinic consultant Ella Clark ahead of the show's launch. The 29-year-old is the first transgender contestant to ever appear on the show.

'This experiment is so much more than just me getting married. I see this as a big deal for someone who has transitioned,' she tells Grazia. 'I was shocked to be picked to do this. I did not expect - especially due to my personal situation - that this would be possible for me.'

For Ella, getting to live as her authentic self and getting married was all she's ever wanted out of life. She explains, 'First of all - I never thought I would transition, find myself and actually get married. I have to thank Channel 4 because my dream really became a reality.'

When Ella was announced as a contestant on the show, a number of trolls flocked to social media questioning her casting. Even now, as the show airs, Google search data around her are depressingly ignorant - the question 'Is Ella from MAFS fully transitioned?' is a breakout today, as it the search term 'Ella MAFS before surgery'.

Ella was somewhat prepared for the reaction, but she also knows appearing on the show is bigger than her. 'I knew that I would get a lot of backlash - but this is a huge moment for my community,' she explains. 'Yes, there's been hate but there's also been a lot of love too.' She adds, 'I hope that little boys and girls can hopefully look up to me - I never had this type of representation growing up on TV.'

Ella also hopes to open up important conversations and break the stigma and judgements surrounding trans women to a whole new audience. She is also happy to answer questions about her transition and surgery, in a hope to help inform others. 'I've gone through all of the surgery, and I'm happy to talk about it and share my experiences on screen. I know that there's a stigma with a lot of trans girls, people tend to think we don't like to talk about our feelings.'

She continues, 'I'm very open, because I don't want people's first experience with me on screen - or if they've never met someone trans to be like, "Oh, they're really abrupt, she doesn't reveal anything or she's not very open."' Adding, 'I'm aware, I'm not stupid - I've spent the whole life being judged.'

She explains that she hopes to educate people through this experience, 'All the cast were out recently and someone asked me, "Are you you a man?" Everyone was really offended on my behalf, but I've had this all my life - and I'm clearly not a man. Ella adds, 'I'm really here to make that difference and I hope that I can do so by sharing my story.'

However, despite knowing the monumental changes she will make by appearing on MAFS UK, Ella does struggle with the idea of being seen as a role model. 'I don't want to say that I'm a role model because I don't want to put that pressure on myself, 'she admits. 'I don't speak for everyone in my community.'

She continues, 'All I did was be myself on the show and all the cast have accepted me. I just want people to watch this think yes, she's trans but she's just like me and is relatable.' She adds, ' It's pressure but I'm happy that I'm the one representing us. I hope I make everyone proud.'

When it came to choosing her wedding dress for the big day, Ella's love of all things Disney came to mind. She teases, 'My dress was inspired by Cinderella - I finally got to live out my princess dream.'

Married at First Sight UK is famous for the dramatic dinner parties - and Ella reassures us that we can expect that theme to continue this year. She reveals, 'Oh yeah, they're dramatic! Glasses of champagne go flying -it's very messy!'

Married at First Sight UK starts on Monday 18th September on E4.

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