Naked Attraction, the show in which hopeful singles critique each other’s undercarriages on national television in a quest to find love, is quite the talking point.
Some viewers think it’s demeaning, others argue that it promotes diverse body types – but the question that most people unite on is this: why on earth would you go on the show in the first place?
We tracked down three contestants from past series to find out – and to ask about a few other things that have kept us wondering, such as: what was it like standing in a box completely starkers as their bodies were slowly revealed to potential suitors? What did their friends and family think? And how awkward was it going back to work after their episodes had aired?
Matty C Roche
Job at the time: Chocolate artist and aspiring actor
The producers contacted me asking if I wanted to be part of a brand new exciting dating reality TV show which involved nudity. The three terms “nudity”, “dating show” and “reality TV” put me off, I was like, “No chance.” I chuckled to myself and forgot about it. Then they contacted me again on Facebook, my profile put me across as quite an extrovert – I’ve got one leg, a tattoo [on my genitals] and a crazy hairdo – so I think they were quite keen to get me on the pilot.
Naked Attraction was pitched to me not so much as putting naked people on television and getting loads of ratings for it, but instead as delving into the science and the art of body language, and the pseudoscience of looking into someone’s soul. It was this philosophical aspect that drew me in. But the show didn’t end up that way – I think the producers just thought, “Let’s cut the pseudoscience and focus on the sensationalism, which will get ratings.”
I used to work in adult entertainment as a strippergram and used to parade around festivals in a scantily clad thong or leather hotpants so I wasn’t daunted by the box.
It was really very cold in the boxes, though. All us contestants, our male bits got quite cold and we had this shrinkage effect. There was talk and joking among the boys of having to give it a shake in the box. We did relay our concerns to the producers and they reassured us that the screens were completely opaque and we could do what we needed to do and no one would see, but the picker later told me she could see our silhouettes. She was like, “I could see you all jiggling yourselves around.”
I actually thought I could probably slip it through the net and my mum wouldn’t find out. I thought the show would only be broadcast once, wouldn’t be successful and everyone would forget about it. Little did I know it would end up in all the papers and be a bit of a worldwide sensation.
My mum was on holiday when it aired and she only found out about it through her friends’ WhatsApp group. They were all saying, “We just saw your son on television and his tattoo.” I guess hearing titillation about your son and his nudity secondhand from your mates is a bit embarrassing, so she didn’t take it very well. She was disappointed and I think her and my family’s issue was that I thought of myself without thinking about the ramifications it might have on others, so there was a lack of compassion and respect.
But I didn’t think it would be a tabloid television show, I thought it would be more philosophical than that. If I ever did another reality show I would consult my partner and my family first.
When the episode was aired I got swept up in the hilarity of it. I was that guy off the telly, it was a bit like the celebrity experience but with none of the money or power that comes with it. I still get approached now even in other corners of the world.
Job at the time: Office administrator
I applied as a joke, I didn’t think I would actually get in. The week I was meant to have the interview I said I didn’t want to do it anymore and then a couple of months later on a random Friday night the producers messaged me basically saying, “Please come, there’s going to be some really attractive men on there.” They booked me a train ticket there and then to London. I thought worst comes to worst it’s a free day out.
During the interview, which was with two women, I had to talk about what I wanted fully clothed and then half-way through I had to strip off and say the exact same thing, but naked. The women said I was more confident and talkative when I was naked – I don’t know how!
Filming was very nerve-wracking but all the girls were absolutely lovely. The box is quite big and it was absolutely freezing, I was standing in there for a few hours and there aren’t any breaks. They did give me water whenever I needed it.
I remember feeling excited, I just really wanted to know who the guy was. I thought we’d bump into each other before the show but they’re very strict about that, you can’t see them at all.
If they did put someone that I liked on there then I would have gone for it – but they stitched me up! I didn’t fancy the chooser at all. I’d told them I wanted tall, dark, handsome, and someone a bit older than me. He ended up being really pale, 20 years old, really immature. My face said it all really. I got to the last round and he didn’t choose me, I think because I found it hard to compliment him.
Despite that, I’m glad I went on the show because I’m a bit of a joker and I did make people laugh. Also, my episode was on Celebrity Gogglebox, Danny Dyer and his daughter, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne were watching. I loved it and they complimented me.
I do camming and modelling now but back then I was in a normal office job. Everyone watched it. It was a little bit awkward – everyone was silent in the office after it aired until I mentioned it, they were all too scared to say anything.
It was awkward when I told my boss. I sat him down in the office and he was just like fair play, he was very supportive. He definitely saw it. His wife watches it too so they must have all been watching it together.
My mum wasn’t going to watch it but she did in the end, she couldn’t help herself. She was like, “You go, you’ve got the body for it.” The day it was aired I got my mates round we had a laugh, had a drink, it was really nice. It was funny, especially when the camera zoomed in. I didn’t want to watch it by myself, not a chance.
Afterwards a doctor contacted the show saying I needed to get my breasts checked, because they thought I had breast cancer. The show got in touch with me so I went straight to the doctors obviously, I was really scared. They did an examination and in the end it was just that the scarring was quite bad from getting my boobs done. I’ve complained about it now so I might get them redone for free.
Job at the time: Bar manager
I’d been single for five years and wasn’t having much luck on the dating apps. My friend showed me series one and it was quite shocking to me, I’d never seen anything like it – being from Australia I had never seen full frontal nudity on TV. At first I thought it was the last thing I’d want to do, I’m not that confident.
Then I saw the advert on Facebook and I thought “Why not, I’ll give it a go”. I had a one-hour phone interview and was invited to London to do a filmed audition at the offices of Studio Lambert. I said I wanted to be a picker, not in one of the boxes, and because I’m pansexual I was open to all genders and sexualities. It was bizarre because even in the interview there were cameras zooming in on my butt and my genitals.
I never used to be body confident growing up, but I accepted my body for what it was and that’s why I liked the show, because it just put all the different body types up there. Growing up in Australia, I’d just seen the beach bods on Home and Away and Neighbours. Whereas I’ve got a hairy body and I had a huge beard at the time.
I didn’t see all the naked people before we started filming as they were all in one room and I was on lock down for five hours, just chilling by myself. Anna Richardson made it funny and less awkward. It wasn’t demeaning and there were no nasty jokes about anyone’s appearance.
They really wanted to make sure they were matching the right people together. Everything I said I found attractive was in front of me in the boxes in terms of body types and even personalities.
I’m outgoing anyway so I didn’t feel nervous, and because the casting process went on for months I felt prepared. I did Undressed before Naked Attraction so I’d already stripped on TV to my underwear. I also did Dating in the Dark in Australia, as well as last year’s season of Coach Trip: Road to Tenerife and Judge Rinder.
I actually had success on Naked Attraction. I chose a boy and we were dating for about three months, we went on holiday together.
I was a bar manager at the time. I told my boss and everyone I worked with, I asked my CEO, whose daughter’s been on Made in Chelsea for a long time, “Is it okay if I go naked on television?” I wanted to make sure it was fine because I was front of house, pretty much the face of the brewery. It was all good, the producers came to the bar to film my backstory and we even did a screening at work, during which I had a calming chamomile. I wasn’t drinking that day because I was nervous to watch it back. I was on the edge.
Channel 4 kept repeating the episode for months and months and I was recognised every other day. It’s such a funny conversation starter. I was like, “Oh you’ve seen my willy! What are you doing watching Naked Attraction?” A lot of people don’t want to admit to watching it and pretend they were just flicking channels. I no longer have the big beard so I’m not recognised now, but at the time a lot of guys were like, “Respect. I could never do something like that, you’re brave.”
I watched the show again back home in Australia with my parents and my siblings. My parents found the show funny and interesting and just walked out when it was time for me to be naked. I shared it with everyone, I wasn’t embarrassed.