There is truly no better time that this could be happening: DC is getting its own online version of the Netflix reality show Love Is Blind, where contestants date, fall in love, and get engaged without ever seeing the other person.
The project, launching March 25, will be masterminded by Beth Cormack, 27, of NoMa, who owns a marketing company and runs the dating event series Pitch a Friend. Cormack’s clients are primarily in the restaurant and hospitality fields, so her business has taken a hit during the Covid-19 crisis, she says.
“I threw a pity party for myself for three days, and I was like, well, I have to adapt to this new situation,” she says. “This virtual way of life is kind of like the reality right now for an unforeseen future.”
And that extends to the way folks are dating now, too. She’d obviously binge-watched Love Is Blind with the rest of the world, and she thought the show’s structure could resonate with a city living in its own version of the show’s isolation pods—aka their apartments. So she decided to make a quarantine version for DC.
“This whole pandemic has kind of flipped my world upside down, so I have a lot of time that I didn’t have previously,” says Cormack. “So I was like, ‘How can I get creative with this and provide people with some sort of entertainment while they’re socially isolated?'”
View this post on Instagram
THE 👏 TIME 👏 IS 👏 HERE. Your socially isolated Friday night just got TURNT UP. We are now accepting applications for the QUARANTINE PODS! We have two pods, a Quarantine Pod for heterosexuals and a QUEERantine Pod for the LQBTQA community — check out the link in our bio to fill out the appropriate form + send a one minute video submission to firstname.lastname@example.org For those who want to tune in, we’ve got a private Facebook group for ~ all the drama to unfold ~. You’ll get to see what the participants look like, who’s into who (or who’s not into who), live dates, taped confessionals from participants in the pods + MORE. The TEA WILL BE HOT IN THIS GROUP ☕️ 🔥 (if you are chosen for the pod, you cannot be in this group..for obvious reasons). Venmo $5 to @dcisblind to join the group to tune in. Season 1 goes LIVE next WEDNESDAY 3/25. Link to the group is in our bio. We’ve got tons of surprises in the works for both participants and viewers. Apply NOW! We are accepting applications until Sunday, 3/22. TAG YOUR QUARANTINE CREW 👇👇👇👇
Here’s how it will work: Washingtonians will apply to be participants via Google forms that ask for their name, how they identify, their Instagram handle, and which Love Is Blind character they most resonate with (“Like a little bit of Gigi crazy mixed with some Diamond sass?,” the application prompts). Applicants will also submit a one-minute video about themselves.
There will be a quarantine pod for heterosexual folks and a Queer-entine pod for LGBTQA-identifying folks, and Cormack will select 20 people for each group.
Obviously, as Cormack is choreographing the drama as the DC Is Blind executive producer (and director, and camerawoman, and publicist, and…everything else), she’s looking for participants that are willing to throw themselves into the fun and lighthearted drama of the project.
“I’m trying to hype these people as local celebrities and create characters out of them, because that’s why Love Is Blind works,” says Cormack. “Everyone has a persona, and you get to know them as people.”
View this post on Instagram
DC! it’s time to add a little spice to your quarantine pods 🔥 from the creators of @pitchafriend_ + based on our favorite netflix binge, #DCisBlind is hurrrrrrrr [in quarantine and a safe 6 feet from everyone] details as to how this will all work go live TOMORROW, but in the meantime TAG YOUR PEOPLE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A SPOT IN A QUARANTINE POD 👇👇 we ready, are you? ps @badgirlriri_ u good with this temporary lyric change???
Cormack has created a private DC Is Blind Facebook group, which viewers can join for a $5 fee (which you pay via Venmo to the DC Is Blind group @dcisblind). “That’s where all the drama is going to unfold,” says Cormack.
She will pair people up on phone dates, which she will monitor to make sure that no one discloses any information about how they look or things that could allow their date to search them online, like last names or the company they work for. (The show will generally operate off an honesty policy on behalf of its participants, though, says Cormack. “We can only control so much,” she says. “We don’t have a production crew, obviously.”)
The phone calls will be recorded and uploaded to the Facebook group for viewers to watch, and, a la the Netflix show, participants will film solo confessionals where they talk about their feelings for and connections with the other quarantine pod-members.
The project will last a week, ending April 1, at which point participants have the opportunity to ask another person to be their “quarantine bae.” (Not exactly the proposal the Love Is Blind folks get post-pod release, but, hey, we’re working with what we have during trying times.) Cormack will then show the couple what the other looks like.
The first season will focus on heterosexual folks, and the second Queer-entine season will launch April 2.
In an ideal world, Cormack will keep tabs on the couple, see if they end up meeting IRL post-quarantine, and film their first date, she says. If this happens, she’ll use a portion of the DC Is Blind proceeds to buy the couple a gift card to a local restaurant.
While Cormack will ultimately be using the funds from DC Is Blind to supplement the effect Covid-19 is having on her business, she also wants to bring the city together in an uncertain and trying time.
“[I want] to just build a community and say hey, you’re not alone in this depressing period,” she says of the project’s mission. “We’re all here to support you.”
So if you’re at home, single, and in your quarantine feelings—submit your app to be in the pod. The application period closes the night of March 22.