Sariya came to Tough Love: Co-Ed with a preexisting condition: she felt she inherited a family curse that would leave her single forever. But nowadays she’s shaken the curse off her and feels like her romantic life is completely in her hands. We spoke to her this week about being in the Hot Seat, repairing her relationship with her dad, and how it feels to be free of her superstition.
What’s the Tough Love experience been like for so far?
I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into in signing up for Tough Love because I followed all of the seasons, but it ended up being one of the hardest things that I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. The episode this week, for example, having to not only write a letter to my dad and open up a lot of wounds that have been there, hidden, for so many years, and then having to expose those to my dad was hands-down the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. And being in the Hot Seat…I had prepared myself for being in the Hot Seat a few episodes back but this particular episode, I was not expecting to be in the Hot Seat whatsoever. I thought I did a really good job opening up and talking to my dad. I thought I did a really good job on my date with David and his sister, she asked me about my tattoos and I thought I was being really open and communicating my tattoos and what they meant. I felt like I did a good job, but apparently, not so much!
When you watched your date, did it seem different watching it as opposed to experiencing it? Did you see what Steve was saying or how it might have gone badly?
When I was on the date, the vibe in the room was really good, aside from the one time when she kind of opened her eyes a little bit. She was intrigued and asking me about my tattoos, it’s not like I just went on a rant talking about them. In the moment we were interacting, but it looked like I was just talking, talking, talking and giving way too much information when they weren’t being receptive, but actually they were the ones initiating the conversation.
Was it disappointing to hear David say he thought of you more like a sister type than dating material?
For him to say that he had put me in the friend zone and he thought of me like his other sister, that completely threw me off guard because to me, and I might have been reading the vibes wrong, we had a great connection. I guess my reader’s broken.
You’re Miss Cursed — has your perspective on your family curse changed since being on the show?
The whole thing with the curse is that it’s been a story passed down to me my whole life, that all of the women in my family are still single and it’s up to me — no pressure — to break the curse and find myself a good man so that my children aren’t cursed. I come from a very traditional Hispanic family and for the most part we’re very superstitious. Throughout the years whenever I’ve dated someone and it’s always ended in infidelity, after a while, I started thinking maybe there’s something to this curse. And in doing that it was almost like I was self-sabotaging myself and going into relationships expecting them to end. There were times when I was my own worst enemy, destroying the relationship before it even got started. After being on the show, I realized, that’s silly, you’ve just picked the wrong men. Maybe in thinking about this curse so whole-heartedly, you’ve ended the relationship. Going forward, I know there is no curse. I’ve just had bad luck and poor judgment and hopefully in my next relationship I won’t carry it with me.
Has your relationship with your dad changed much since the show?
When we got home [after the show wrapped] he was very angry with me that I hadn’t disclosed how I felt prior to being on the show, and he felt I threw him under the bus on television. I tried to explain to him that this really wasn’t about him, it was about me coming to terms with how I interpreted my childhood and how I brought that into my adulthood and how it entered into my relationships, and I think a part of him didn’t understand that and took it as a personal attack. We’ve gotten over that and do talk from time to time, but it didn’t really give me that connection I’ve been craving, it didn’t really re-build our entire relationship, but I will say that because of that, a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I feel better and I feel like I’m not holding on to any grudge or animosity or anger.
Did you come away from the experience in the house with any strong relationships?
I would say that honestly, every single person in that house, I’ve walked away with more than a friendship. With what we all went through together, especially the family letter episode, it made up have this family-like bond that even my best friends and I would never share such a string emotional bonding experience. I would say I walked away with friendships with everyone. Porsche is a complete sweetheart and she has a really good heart — with a hard outer exterior to protect that heart. When it comes down to it, she’s a great person. And to be honest, the person I liked least in the house, Kris, I talk to him now more than anyone. I have a connection with every single person from the show.