WHO: When you first arrived in Paradise, what was your impression of Tara?
I didn’t get an opportunity to watch too much of the Matty J season, I do remember her taking him to Movie World though and that is like… all my friends and family messaged me as soon as that episode came on and said ‘Why is Matty J with your girl?’ It was like… [laughs]. But I knew that she would be funny. I wasn’t sure if she would have… use humour sometimes the same way I do, to just try to make herself comfortable. I knew we would either really get along or we’d potentially lock horns and initially we did lock horns… she was a bit of a bitch to me when I walked in (laughs).
WHO: Were you surprised by how quickly the relationship developed, in what seems like a few weeks?
I look at that time in sort of units of time and if I look at my life in Sydney, dating, I’ve spent more time with Tara in five days than I would’ve spent with a girl I might’ve dated for two or three months. It’s not like The Bachelor or Bachelorette where you separate, if we wanted to hang out and eat cheeseburgers until 4AM, we could… which we did, so it was a bit of slow burn initially… the episodes chop along quite quickly but I was surprised… I just think we were both in the same train of thought where she’d been through a crazy experience on The Bachelor, overwhelmingly loved and I’d sort of been through sort of a bit shit situation on Bachelorette but what that did… we both kind of just… without us even knowing, we’d gone over there and we’d completely dropped our walls. We just wanted to experience something real and so it started, it started to get real very quickly.
WHO: When did you realise that the humour and chats were leading to something more?
Her sense of humour can be quite gross at times and she did gross me out quite early on. I was like ‘What?’ No woman says what you just said, no human says what you just said and she did that and I think… when I think back to my time on The Bachelorette and the way I communicated with Sophie, I think I assumed Sophie was the type of woman that Tara was. So when she was being quite nasty, I was kind of being a little bit reserved because I didn’t… I didn’t want to be embroiled in a drama where I was considered disrespectful so I was a little more held back but she in her own lovely way kind of just assured me like ‘This is who I am’ and that’s sort of what I was looking for. I wanted someone that I could say whatever the hell I wanted. That moment she said something really gross – I won’t go into detail – but it was like, it was with a coconut, it was a chopped coconut and what she said about it was literally one of the foulest things I’ve ever heard anyone say but I just laughed and I couldn’t stop laughing and every time I saw her after that, I’d just laugh and that’s sort of where it started.
WHO: How have you found watching your relationship play out on-screen?
It’s so beautiful. I mean, there’s moments I completely forgot about. As I said, one episode is, I don’t know, three days for us on average, two or three days so you lose a lot of moments and there’s little moments that I completely forgot about and to see us sort of flash up there, I’m very lucky, it’s a very lucky thing to experience.
WHO: What do you enjoy about Tara?
Her sense of humour but her sensitivity to other people. You’d see earlier on in episodes that she’s crying, the only reason she was crying was because she didn’t want to upset anybody. She’s got such a sensitive side and she cares deeply about the world, she cares deeply about individuals and that’s so sexy. Her biggest stress is upsetting people, that’s one of her biggest concerns and she can’t go to sleep without sorting things out and there’s not enough of that in the world. I think people just sort of brush things under the carpet and move on, she likes to get to the crux on the issue and sort it out, but caring… I mean the first… I think Florence had come back from a date and Florence mentioned that there was a limping dog on the side of the road and Tara broke into tears, this was before her and I were anything but I just looked at that and went ‘Are you kidding me?’ Like at first you’re a bit creeped out but that’s actually who she is, she’s truly caring. She’s one of the most genuine people I’ve met.
WHO: You and Tara are undoubtedly one of the strongest couples in Paradise, so much so that the others are often coming up to you both for advice. Did you ever think you’d be in that position?
No, I didn’t really have a game plan going into Paradise. I was always supportive of the boys in the mansion and would talk them through things but I don’t know, I think when you’ve got yourself sorted, there’s genuinely people there that I’ve already been on experiences with i.e. Blake, Mack, Luke and I care about these people so I felt so lucky to feel something beautiful forming with Tara that I felt it was actually my responsibility to help my pals and not just the guys, the girls I got really close with as well. It’s a responsibility I think, the last thing you would want… I mean to have a bad experience in Paradise would be really difficult. It’s so hard because it’s sort of your second crack at that same format and for it to not work as well it’s really difficult so I just… I really felt… some people were really hurting over there and I really felt it was my responsibility to help.
WHO: You and Tara are often spotted swimming, hanging by the pool and you even built her a hut! What was your favourite thing to do in Paradise together?
Really everything. We would sort of coast… there’s quite a lot of space over there we were quite free. Favourite thing to do would be to wake up – I’d usually sleep in a little more than her but sometimes I didn’t – and we would get a kayak and we would row out as far as we could possibly go… we felt freedom there, that was truly a really freeing feeling, you know, we’re away from our family, we’re away from our friends, but to be able to row out as far as we can go until we think ‘Well we might die if we go any further’ and then come back, that was… just beautiful moments and the conversations you’d have… yeah. I’d say that the sunsets and the rowing and the sunrises were really special.
WHO: Did you ever consider leaving Paradise early with Tara to test your relationship in the real world?
Tara and I were just taking – in terms of our time there – we were just taking everything a day at a time, we were enjoying it and we were never urged to consider leaving and I think in our minds if we were to discuss it and I mean I’m sure we did, but if we discussed it at length we’d be like ‘Well we know what our lives are like when we go back, this is a blessing’… What we’ve got here in front of us, were so lucky to have and you don’t just fall in love with your time there, you actually fall in love with Fiji. You actually fall in love with the people, all the locals that help us… Wais, I mean that was a difficult thing to even discuss leaving them and the people that you don’t see on camera – the locals that are working there – the chefs, all the people, they’re such beautiful people that I was certainly in no hurry to pack up and head back to bloody Sydney. Traffic jams, like no!
WHO: How was your overall experience in Paradise?
Beautiful. Initially quite scary… I was the only intruder to walk in without a date card. I felt like maybe I was a little bit… I was set up potentially to fail there, not deliberately, not out of malicious but I think that probably would have been funny watching me tank straight away. But my overall experience in Paradise was to just be true to myself, like have a moment to think ‘Alright I’m probably only going to be here for a couple of hours’ and I just thought that and I thought ‘Just enjoy every moment and be thankful’ and I think when you’re in that headspace, great things happen.