Home

> aUpdate >

Exclusive! Love On The Spectrum Season 2 Interview

picture of 7 adults in suits and dresses sitting and standing in formal dresses and suits

Exclusive! Love On The Spectrum Season 2 Interview

Autism Awareness Australia were lucky enough to go behind the scenes and catch up with some of the Love on the Spectrum cast members in an exclusive interview!

Season 2 of LOVE ON THE SPECTRUM continues to tell the stories of people on the autism spectrum as they navigate the world of dating and relationships. With a few familiar faces, and some delightful new ones, Season 2 represents an even wider range of people and personalities, showing just how diverse the autism spectrum really is. With a warm-hearted and positive tone, the series once again features singles looking for love, and couples who have found their match.

Season 2 airs Tuesday 18 May, 8:30pm on ABC TV + iview

MICHAEL – Season 1 and 2

What made you want to be on Love on the Spectrum?  Were you excited to be asked to return for Season 2, following the huge response Season 1 received?
I saw being part of Love on the Spectrum as my best opportunity to help me find a partner. I achieved something I never expected to achieve by being in first series and that was attention from an audience. People were drawn to my blunt sense of humour, my dapper style and my hilarious one liners – even though I’m not trying to be funny. But my quest for true love is the main reason I wanted to return for 2nd series. I was certainly was very excited when I was asked to be part of Series 2!

Going on a dating show seems like a really big thing! How hard was it to talk about personal things like dating on National TV?
I don’t find it difficult at all, as I am comfortable talking about personal things.

Have people come up to you on the street to talk to you?
People have come up to talk to me on the street, which is flattering not bothersome. Not on a daily basis just on the odd occasion and randomly. Sometimes people ask to have selfie with me which is also flattering.

Was it very different being in Season 2, than Season 1? Did you feel more confident because of your previous experience?
I did feel more confident but I’m not nervous around cameras. It was a very similar experience to Series 1.

Outside of being a TV star, what do you like doing to keep busy and have fun?
My hobbies include watching comedy sit coms, toy collecting, Ten Pin Bowling, building models, driving, eating out, time with family and friends and practicing different voices.

What are some of the positive things for you being on the autism spectrum?
Being gifted and very intelligent and having wandering eyes – meaning I can see things people wouldn’t notice. And undying loyalty to both family and friends – not to mention having a big heart full of love.

Does autism come with some challenges for you as well?
It does at times, mostly with maintaining friendships.

What do you wish people better understood about autism?
That people shouldn’t be treated differently to neurotypical people, it is a gift not something to be ashamed of, it is something people are naturally born with. As God would say everything happens for reason.

MARK – Season 1 and 2

What made you want to be on Love on the Spectrum? Were you excited to be asked to return for season 2, following the huge response season 1 received?
I thought to myself being on Love on the Spectrum would be a huge opportunity, a once-in-a lifetime chance for me to tell my story and share my struggle of trying to find love, and also to show the world and disprove the misconceptions people have about people on the spectrum. I wanted to show that I have the capacity to find love and be in a relationship despite my Autism. And I had a wonderful experience being on Love on the Spectrum, it’s an experience I will never forget. I was on top of the world when Love on the Spectrum had an overwhelmingly positive response and I was on board for a Season 2, and when they asked me to return to Love on the Spectrum I jumped with Joy because I had such a blast working on the show and that I was ready to do more and continue my contribution.

Going on a dating show seems like a really big thing! How hard was it to talk about personal things like dating on National TV?
It was really challenging and at times made me feel nervous but, in the end, I gathered all my courage and told the world about personal things about dating as well as the complications of relationships. A lot of people like me would find it hard to talk about dating and relationships and all that. But it’s important that we all speak our minds and talk about personal things even when we feel a bit unsure or a bit scary.

Have people come up to you on the street to talk to you?
Oh yes, a lot. And a lot of people say that I was incredible (along with the others on the show) and that they loved the show. It makes me feel good and special on the inside that people recognize who I am and what I set out to do. I always think to myself “I feel like a movie star” whenever people come up to me on the street, and my parents also get recognized as well. So, it’s a really enjoyable experience. And I am grateful for that. People have often relayed that they’ve got sons and daughters that are going through the same journey of finding love and they’ve expressed their appreciation that I’ve been able to tell my personal story.

Was it very different being on Season 2, than Season 1? Did you feel more confident because of your previous experience?
In a way, it did feel different. Because I felt the show has gotten better and much bigger and the fact that this show has aired on Netflix it felt that Love on the Spectrum has become world-renowned. I have always felt confident working on the first season, the second season was no different. And I was extremely filled with joy to be back on this wonderful, and delightfully heart-warming show. I got a lot out of the first show, we had the opportunity for training and to be coached by Jodie and Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson and a manual with step-by-step guidelines of Do’s and Dont’s and I felt I was able to take that training into the second series.

Outside of being a TV star, what do you like doing to keep busy and have fun?
I love to read books, and I love to watch movies and Tv shows about dinosaurs, I’m also a Huge fan of monster movies, my number one favorite being Godzilla. I also like to read Paleontological journals and Science papers on the internet and sometimes doing a bit of research in some areas of Paleontology. I had the opportunity to visit Museums in Australia in places like Eromanga and Winton in outback Queensland where I had the opportunity to work in the lab on the fossils. I recently went down to Inverloch in Victoria for a One-on-One meeting with Michael Cleeland a well-known Paleontologist responsible for many recent dinosaur fossil discoveries down there. I also love to play video games on my computer as well as my Virtual Reality system. I also work-out at the gym to keep myself healthy and fit. I love to hang out with friends and have being fortunate that I belong to a social group of young adults on the spectrum and we go on social outings regularly including Bowling on Tuesday nights, and I love to spend time with my family. I also go for nice, long walks out in nature and I love Bike riding. So that’s what I do outside of being a TV Star.

What are some of the positive things for you being on the autism spectrum?
Being on the autism spectrum, I have a really excellent memory for certain topics, like dinosaur facts and movies and certain events in the past. And I’ve come to realize that people on the spectrum are capable of requiring and achieving skills and knowledge beyond the average person and I’ve had the opportunity to mix with them and come to appreciate my own knowledge in my particular area of interest as a special gift.

Does autism come with some challenges for you as well?
It certainly has. For starters communicating was a challenge when I was very young, I screamed a lot and had difficulty trying to talk. You can imagine deep inside my mind saying, “I’m trying to talk but the words won’t come out instead I’m screaming at the top of my lungs, Why won’t the words come out?”, and “I wish I could communicate better”. Also, I found it extremely difficult on how to handle situations as well. I also found it difficult on how to comprehend information, but I’ve gotten good at it now. I’ve often taken things literally not realizing that some things are said in jest. I’ve had to get used to changes in routine although I do like my routines which is things like downtime and time to myself and the time I go to bed and the time I get up but I’ve had to get used to things like changes in my work shift, different days, different times.

What do you wish people better understood about autism?
Well, it takes a bit longer to process information and as a result it causes mental fatigue which is why I sometimes need to have that downtime and even though we might not always be affectionate or show emotions, we have the capability for love and a desire for companionship.

KASSANDRA – Season 2

What made you want to be on Love on the Spectrum?
I think main reason was after watching 1st and seeing how much people were able to connect with others and improve their social lives, I knew wanted that for myself so approached the show to hopefully get that opportunity.

Going on a dating show seems like a really big thing! How hard was it to talk about personal things like dating on National TV?
I’m usually pretty open about who and what I am but it was nerve wracking to open to millions of people I would never know or meet but you can’t let fear stop you from taking that sort of opportunity.

Was being on the show what you expected or was it very different to what you had imagined it would be?
It was both at the same time – I expected to meet new people and have new experiences, but I wasn’t expecting just how amazing the community, the people from the crew and production team would be and how well I would be looked after. They are some of best and most amazing people I have ever met and I really wasn’t expecting that.

Outside of being a TV star, what do you like doing to keep busy and have fun?
Dancing and teaching dance and Cos Play. But my main thing really is I love reading and getting lost in worlds someone else created. I’m currently reading ‘The divine comedy”

What are some of the positive things for you being on the autism spectrum?
I really see world in different ways and sometimes when people are stuck in their own problems, I can see solutions they haven’t thought of and be a voice for the unusual and different.

Does autism come with some challenges for you as well?
Absolutely it does, there are always going to be people and situations that are beyond what I am capable of and learning those limits is never easy or enjoyable but its party of who I am so …

What do you wish people better understood about autism?
It’s as unique as fingerprints – yes there is a spectrum of what we know and understand but it goes way beyond that – I wish people understood just how different everyone is that being different doesn’t negate who and what we are.

TEO – Season 2

What made you want to be on Love on the Spectrum?
Just to give it ago … and try it out

Going on a dating show seems like a really big thing! How hard was it to talk about personal things like dating on National TV?
It was hard but also easy. I get worried about what I have said, but that’s just being Teo!

Was being on the show what you expected or was it very different to what you had imagined it would be?
It was really, really good, especially compared to shows like ‘Married at First Sight’ or ‘The Bachelor’! It was calming and relaxing working with the production crew, so it was really good. It was unlike the ‘real’ dating shows – they are evil!

Outside of being a TV star, what do you like doing to keep busy and have fun?
Fan pages on my Tina Fey tic toc, playing with my dog, walking, eating, sleeping – just being a human

What are some of the positive things for you being on the autism spectrum?
It’s a power, and your brain thinks differently. With my autism I think I can see more of people’s inner thoughts. I can care more about people and their feelings. With this power you understand people and the world differently. Unlike other people I see with a different eye – like a bumble bee’s point of view … it is difference. My power is I see through people and see very deeply.

Does autism come with some challenges for you as well?
Yes, being picked on when you are on the spectrum or when you say you have a disability. People think of you as lower than them and treat you differently.

What do you wish people better understood about autism?
I wish people knew we can do anything anyone else in the world can do – I wish people realised we have will power and knew what willpower is. 

JIMMY & SHARNAE – Season 1 and 2

What made you want to be on Love on the Spectrum? Were you excited to be asked to return for Season 2, following the huge response Season 1 received?
We wanted to be on ‘Love on the Spectrum’ so we could show people that people on the spectrum can find love and deserve love. We were very excited about being part of series 2.

Going on a dating show seems like a really big thing! How hard was it to talk about personal things like dating on National TV?
A little hard in the beginning but it got better as we got know the crew and Cian, then it became less nerve wracking

Have people come up to you on the street to talk to you?
Sharnae- Yes at work (Woolworths) people wait at my cash register so they can talk to me and get served by me. I love it, I like attention. I’ve done lots autographs and photos for people at work.

Was it very different being in Season 2, than Season 1? Did you feel more confident because of your previous experience?
We were more confident as we were friends with the crew, and we understood what happens so made it easier.

Outside of being a TV star, what do you like doing to keep busy and have fun?
Sharnae likes to sing and exercise. Jimmy loves to play pool.  They both like to watch TV.

What are some of the positive things for you being on the autism spectrum?
Seeing the world differently.

Does autism come with some challenges for you as well?
Yes

What do you wish people better understood about autism?

We are just like everyone else, and people shouldn’t don’t talk down to us

RONAN – Season 2

What made you want to be on Love on the Spectrum?
After seeing Season 1 I thought I would give it a try on Season 2 so I could maybe have an opportunity to meet someone special who I could feel comfortable with.

Going on a dating show seems like a really big thing! How hard was it to talk about personal things like dating on National TV?
It was a little bit tricky at first talking about how I feel and also because sometimes I know what I want to say but it doesn’t always come naturally. But the more times I spoke about it the braver I became.

Was being on the show what you expected or was it very different to what you had imagined it would be?
I really wasn’t sure what to expect because it was so new to me but I  always like to give new things a try and I was excited to be a part of the show. I learnt a lot during the filming and all the crew were so nice and made me feel appreciated.

Outside of being a TV star, what do you like doing to keep busy and have fun?
I do so many activities such as: karate, play the tuba in a band, play piano, go rock-climbing, keep fit with personal training, drama, follow all types of car racing and do volunteer work at the race track and learning how to drive.  I also go on many outings and weekends away with a supported disability social group which is a lot of fun.

What are some of the positive things for you being on the autism spectrum?
I think the positive things for me are; my excellent memory to retain endless information and my attention to detail, my determination to never give up, I am very accepting of all differences and never judge any one and I am very honest, loyal and caring.

Does autism come with some challenges for you as well?
Yes, there are challenges, probably many I haven’t even come across yet in my life, but I always want to learn more about how to be the best person I can be and to overcome my challenges and anxieties.  I don’t always understand things and need more clarification than most people and my words don’t always come out right, but I am always willing to learn how to do things better.

What do you wish people better understood about autism?
I just want people to understand that we have feelings, goals we want to achieve and we want to have happiness in our lives. We might show our feelings differently and also communicate and behave differently but we have so many amazing qualities if we are given the opportunity to show them. Don’t judge us because of our differences but appreciate and accept them instead.

JAYDEN – Season 2

What made you want to be on Love on the Spectrum?
I had viewed the first season and it was in this viewing that I had found what was for me the most decently and amply enjoyable presentation of Autism and those individuals who exist on its Spectrum. I was endeared to it and by heart I was smitten by its earnestness. Upon the announcement for the recruitment of participants for the second season, it thus was by the prompting of those close to me that I committed to a submission of myself as a candidate. I thought that nothing ever would come of it but that thought thankfully has no further proof. Love was a matter at which I had failed terribly before and a vast amount of timidity was lingering with me. I did so wish to be better and this was an opportunity for that effort to be done in a truly loud way. And, truthfully, I believe that there was no small amount of triumph in that effort.

Going on a dating shoe seems like a really big thing! How hard was it to talk about personal things like dating on National TV?
It truly was not a great hardship for myself, for I simply have no sense of shame and perhaps that is shown in the series. I was modest at a time and this disposition of myself as a gentleman kept me from the flamboyance that I perceive as inherent to my character. But then would arise this period of growth wherein I was beset incessantly by the troubles that occupy the mind of one as they awaken to adulthood. I found friends and it was a difficulty for me to conceal even a minutia of the most ungentle angsts that seem to afflict everyone. These friends guided me as there was an earnest want within me to learn about myself and others and to try and find the most right path in life. And to those who are the dearest to me, I have shown myself in such ways that should entice judgement, and yet no judgement ever was given. And thusly was it not too hard for me to talk about anything personal on television. It seems to me that the best deed for me to do for myself is to put myself into situations that invite judgement on how it is that I perceive the world and its’ folks and how it is that I conduct my life. In this, those who wish to help me to learn can be ably found. Those who think that such personal things are too odd for them then can be on their way.

Was being on the show what you expected or was it very different to what you had imagined it would be?
It was an adventure into such a surreal episode of abundant audacity. I remember when the folks had first arrived to film and I made myself ready for a scene that was to be done in my community. I went to my car to go on ahead and as I went to do this I would see the cameraman in my front yard with his camera. He was a tall man who was remarkably agile and could fit himself into the most cramped of spaces. He was filming the gardens in my front yard and he saw that I was watching him and he said, “I am just filming these beautiful flowers in this beautiful sunset”. I then wordlessly hopped into my car and went on my way and I was so oddified that this all was happening. It swiftly came to be very easy to work with everyone and the notion of being followed by folks with cameras certainly was a notion in which I indulged and with which I had plenty of fun. And with equal certainty was I amused to learn that the aspects of the production that put all of this together were so embedded with humanity and friendly japes and teasing between the entirety of the lot who pursued me with their cameras and apparatii. Only half of the most memorable moments of this journey will find its’ way onto the television – the other half that is my time with the crew thusly will exist perpetually in the oblivion of what resides behind the lens.

Outside of being a TV star, what do you like doing to keep busy and have fun?
Almost too much! I am made busy by my work which gladly has me giving my time to help others who occupy a place on the Spectrum and who also occupy a diversity of places in society and a diversity of requirements for their support. I once was in need of help as I came into this world. Help was given and it is right for me that I now embody this role of a mentor that hitherto was embodied by my own mentors. But I yet allow some time to myself. I yet still persist in weightlifting to ensure that my life is long and healthy. Aerial acrobatics is another form of sport that I adore and I even have put thought to dancing. All of my time at home is given to the study of languages and history and I wish to be invigorated and inspired by this for the writing of my own book. And also do I earnestly crave the fellowship of my friends and my time with them and it is with them that I have more fun than any other occupation for my passions.

What are some of the positive things for you being on the autism spectrum?
I sense in myself this peace from having come into a phase in my life wherein am I aware that the recognition of this diagnosis and its’ identification to others can aid me to be more ably myself in society. Autism is deemed by some to be a label – but for myself, it is a descriptor for identifiable similarities and patterns between persons. Autism simply is a word that harbors knowledge for how minds, on a basis of interrelative similarity and patternicity, can be understood. I feel more free in myself when others know of it as there is not anything that I can do wrong within any social or emotional situation that cannot be contextualised. I often feel lucky and feel as if everyone else who does not possess this diagnosis thusly are maybe unlucky as their errors and tragedies cannot be so contextualized. Awareness for Autism is spreading and, as it spreads, it leastwise is true for myself that there is less need to be afraid or to hide anything as everything about me that may be odd or crooked to a seemingly even world thus can be known by this world and thus can our disorderliness be recognised as our nature. I sense that this positive thing for myself in the liberty that this age, in this nation, now offers. But then I am sad as I know that those who share this Spectrum may not feel the same. But also am I made to feel sad by the thought that so many others, sans any neurological abnormality, possess no liberty as they seem orderly and their errors are criticised as there is no clinical descriptor for them and thus are they expected to abide by a world that is so hard for everyone.

Does autism come with some challenges for you as well?
I think that this simply is the truth, that everyone has challenges. But it is the challenges of those with this diagnosis which are so conspicuously odd that one must afford them attention. I believe that societies come into formation by a paradigm of efficiency and cooperation and the confines that ensure the perpetuity of this and the alignment of everyone within it for its’ survival. Then there are born those who cannot contend with many of the challenges of societies as anyone else can. As it is orderly that one should be able to contend, thus is any inability declared to be disorderly. And this can be a descriptor that does assist as care and time can be given to those are challenged by the confines for the perpetuity of society and it can be identified that their inabilities do noticeably disconform with society but that their abilities are maybe an avenue for innovation. Any inability in one space is compensated by an ability in another and perhaps this is so for everyone, but it is with those on the Spectrum that it is the most remarkably disordered and odd.

What do you wish people better understood about autism?
That it is not a disability. The word, “disabled”, is a semantically illogical word. The prefix, ‘dis-‘, means, separation, or removal. If one is removed, or separated from an ability, then which ability is that? It seems ostensible to me that it merely is the abilities that are defined for effective participation in a community. The utter removal from ability would yield one who could not speak, talk, walk, smell, hear, see, nor think – the yielded thing only would be a husk. But disabled in relation to the standards of ability is also not a notion that provides substance. A member of my club of Toastmasters, such a club being one on public oration, cannot verbalise as many other can and is challenged in the deed of speech. He yet speaks in front of his friends when endless millions of others would never think that they could stand before people and talk. Others whose bodies may not abide by a standard of ability yet go to a gymnasium and see a physiologist to do what they can to ensure that this corpus of theirs’ is kept healthy. Endless millions of other people do nothing with their bodies. I work with an adolescent on the Spectrum who cannot read ably nor with any ability can he write. But I take him with me when I go to wash my car because he simply knows how to proceed in that situation and I gladly allow him to lead me as I cannot cope with all of the buttons and car washes simply exist as a “disability” of mine.

It is not a diagnosis whereby are we disabled. It more so is true that our abilities may be alternative.

Northern Pictures Love on the Spectrum returns for Season 2 and airs Tuesday 18 May, 8:30pm on ABC TV + iview