90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days season 4 star Stephanie Matto is proud to make history on the hit TLC franchise as part of the first-ever same-sex couple to be featured on the show.
Sunday’s episode introduced Stephanie — a 29-year-old social media influencer from Yonkers, New York, who’s in an online relationship with Erika, a 24-year-old photographer from Australia — to viewers. Although Stephanie lives a very public life thanks to her YouTube channel, she hasn’t told her family that she’s bisexual and refers to Erika as a “friend” when they ask why she’s going to Australia for three weeks.
ET’s Rachel Smith spoke with Stephanie in New York about her journey on the new season of 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days, and she talked about making history on the show.
“I feel like there’s a lot of pressure — you don’t want to let anybody down,” she says. “You don’t want to let down the LGBTQ community and a part of me wants to be like, great representation for this community, but also I think we all just need to realize we’re just like any other couple. We’re gonna have just similar problems to all the other couples on the show. I hope that people come into this with an open mind and give us a chance to share our story.”
Stephanie acknowledged that viewers might be skeptical of her intentions of coming out on the show given her career-making YouTube content.
“I think people will definitely be skeptical, you know, I’m a social media influencer, I’m a YouTuber, so people already just question, ‘OK well, why is this girl doing this? Is it all just for attention or whatever?’ But honestly, this is how I’ve always been. I’ve always aired my life out on YouTube. I’m a storyteller and I like being open and honest and vulnerable because I want to make people feel less alone. I want others to feel understood because, for such a long time, I felt really misunderstood. I really felt like no one knew who I was and what I was really going through. There’s a lot of stigma in the LGBTQ community but there’s also a lot of stigma for bisexuals. For a lot of people, it’s not taken seriously — even within the LGBTQ community, it’s like, ‘Oh, why can’t you just choose?’ … There’s lots of issues tackled this season, so everyone will have to stay tuned and see.”
The reality star shared that a major reason she did choose to come out as bisexual so publicly is that so she couldn’t take it back.
“I felt like this was a way of doing it that was so gutsy and just so crazy that there would be no possible way for me to go back because I’ve had one foot out the closet and one foot in the closet for so many years,” she explains. “I almost came out so many times.”
Sunday’s episode showed one of these attempts when Stephanie planned to come out to her family over dinner but eventually decided it wasn’t the right time. Stephanie was especially worried about her mother, Magda’s, reaction, explaining that her mother’s dream for her was to marry a successful man and that she didn’t want their close relationship to change.
“That’s definitely a major part of my story,” she says about her family’s reaction to her sexuality. “The big takeaway is that nobody’s coming out journey is going to be the same. It’s never going to be cut and dry, as simple as telling your parents, shaking their hands and leaving. It’s a lot to process and sometimes it may take multiple tries and sometimes you might have doubts about doing it, but I hope that by watching me and Erika, people see that, hey, you can do this, and if you’re not ready, that’s OK, you can take your time. … There is no right time to come out.”
Ultimately, Stephanie has no regrets.
“I’m really proud and happy that we are going to be the first couple that’s unveiling all these issues and showing the world what it’s really like,” she says.
On Sunday’s episode, Stephanie said she has been burned in love in her past relationships and she shared with ET that pretty much all of her relationships have actually been with people in other countries. Stephanie herself was born in the Czech Republic and came to the United States with her mother when she was seven years old. However, she noted in the episode that she’s never felt a connection like she does to Erika, who first reached out to her on YouTube.
But further complicating issues when it comes to having such a long-distance relationship is Stephanie’s serious health concern — she has a rare bone marrow disorder that requires clearance from her doctors to travel, as well as several medications to keep her stable. For a preview of Stephanie’s unconventional journey to find love on this season of 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days, watch the video below.
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on TLC.
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