Michelle Simmons from Letterkenny tells DonegalWoman.ie what it's like to be at the heart of one of the most talked-about TV moments of the week.
Michelle and Killian’s meeting on First Dates Ireland got off to a bad start and didn’t end much better. Looking back on last night’s episode, Letterkenny nurse’s aide Michelle said she’s happy with the realistic portrayal of events.
This was her first time ever on television, and being labelled the ‘most awkward date yet’ came as a shock.
“He was awkward and I was awkward. I wasn’t expecting that heading when I watched it I was cringing more so. You can’t see the cameras in the restaurant but you are very aware that they are there,” Michelle said.
Michelle pointed out one thing viewers didn’t see was that Killian only had a half a bottle of beer during the whole date, since he was driving home afterwards.
“He was a lot braver than me, he was stone cold sober. I had a couple of glasses of wine and I thought we’d get chatting after a few drinks. We were both so nervous.”
Michelle’s family gathered at Backstage Bar & Grill for a mini screening last night, but due to the bad weather Michelle was delayed waiting on a taxi when it aired. She caught up with them after for a quick analysis of the show before watching it herself today.
Seeing the final edit came as a relief to Michelle, as she worried about how she would be betrayed.
“Overall I’m happy, I was expecting it to be a lot worse. There were times that we had the craic but some of the conversation was flat.
“As cringeworthy as it is, it’s done now and I’m glad I did it. Even to be chosen from all the applications was an experience,” she said.
Michelle’s sister Karen had sent in her application in secret. The day the producers called was an eventful one for both sisters, to say the least.
Michelle said: “I thought it was a joke, and then I got all these missed calls from COCO Television one day saying they’d like me to star in the show.
“Karen was having her baby at the time, and I was flat out trying to ring her while she was in labour. Her husband answered and I said: ‘You tell her to ring me, this is urgent!’”
In the end, Michelle decided to go ahead and enjoy the experience. As real first dates commonly go, there was simply no spark between the pair. The soft-spoken Cork man and Michelle struggled to find anything they could connect on, apart from their love of their mammies.
This unseen footage shows how the date wasn’t all awkward silences:
After the date, Killian was critical of his own efforts and admitted he wasn’t on top form.
Michelle said: “Maybe they did think me and Killian would have been a good match. He was a nice lad, but he just wasn’t my cup of tea.
“We just weren’t suited. It was a mismatch from the start. My heart went out to him in the update videos. You don’t want to see one person come off well and the other come out badly from this.”
The First Dates crew are known for their dedication to the match-making element of the show, and some pairings in the past have been almost perfect.
Creating a Donegal-Cork relationship was going to be a challenge from the start, and Michelle admits she was a little disappointed it wasn’t meant to be.
“You want the happily ever after when you watch the show. You like to see couples hooking up and seeing they are still together. He just wasn’t my happily ever after.”
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