BROOKLYN’S BLIND DATE
What happens when Sydney radio news reader Brooklyn Ross meets Melbourne car salesman Esteban Calvo on a reality dating show? It could be love (but don’t tell Brooklyn’s mum!)
What happens when radio news reader Brooklyn meets car salesman Esteban on a reality dating show, Blind Date? Will there be a happy ending?
DNA: What were you expecting when you signed up for Blind Date?
Brooklyn Ross: I thought it would be a fun experience. I didn’t expect anything, but I had an open mind. I was putting it out there to the universe and decided that whoever I was matched up to I’d have a crack.
From the audience’s perspective, it seemed like Esteban was right for you because you said, “Caucasian is boring. I want something different.” And “I’m ready for kids”. And he said, “I’m here to find a husband.” How soon did you think contestant #2 was the one? When it’s happening, and you’ve got questions going everywhere, it’s a tough call. It wasn’t until the end when I had ruled out the other two.
Esteban said his most prized possession was his dad’s wedding ring. Did that sway you? You know what? That was the point I decided. Yes, 100 per cent to this guy! The other’s answers to that question didn’t work for me. Contestant #3 was too sassy! I love a sassy guy! And #1’s Kylie answer almost made me go with him.
And when the screen rolled back and you saw Esteban for the first time…?
I couldn’t believe it. He’s such a babe! He just blew me away. I actually haven’t seen the episode so I’m cringing to think what I looked like – I remember my jaw being on the floor! It was a very lovely feeling.
There was real chemistry between you. He reacted to you in the same way.
It was very easy. On our date we just clicked. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Ah… yeah. I definitely do but I think you have to put in the effort afterwards to make it work. Relationships require work. But I’m also someone who believes you shouldn’t have to “settle”. I’m happy to be single until I find that person that it’ll work out with.
Your read the news on KIIS FM on The Kyle and Jackie O Show, which means very early starts and limited dating opportunities. Does that mean hook-ups apps?
Me and dating apps have never gelled. Over the years I’ve met up with just three guys from dating apps and each time was terrible: just awkward, or they looked nothing like their photo. I like to go out to a club and meet up, have a dance, have a kiss, and maybe go home together but I need to know the person a bit; get a sense of their personality. On apps you can’t find that out before you meet them, so it’s like you’re agreeing to have sex with someone you don’t know anything about. At least in a bar you can have a bit of a chat.
Are you a romantic gay?
In my younger years I was more of a party gay. Now, hitting the 30s, I really want to settle down and start a family, which is weird because when I was younger I never thought I would be like this! Time changes you.
On your first date with Esteban you actually started discussing adopting kids! What are you like!?
Yeah, it was full-on! In that situation, on a TV show, it put getting to know each other into overdrive. It was, strangely, really nice getting to know him like that.
Tell us about the photoshoot on the date; was it a bit of a challenge?
Oh, yeah! It was intimidating because Esteban seemed to be such a natural at it, but it ended up being great fun.
There was a moment during the date where you almost kissed… you both wanted to. Did you feel that?
One hundred percent. We were both waiting for the other one to do it! Looking back, I should’ve just gone for it. I should’ve had the balls to make that move.
Could you feel the love from the Blind Date studio audience? They were really on side. They were and, yes, we could feel it. We were the first same-sex couple on the show and
everyone was really supportive including Julia Morris. Channel Ten is great at putting gays in television. They just had the Neighbours gay wedding and they have my favourite show of all time – Gogglebox! If our episode ends up on Gogglebox I’ll die!
Have you been able to get to know Esteban better since the show?
At this stage we’re not an official couple, we’re still in the dating stage and getting to know each other. He lives in Melbourne and I live in Sydney…
What sort of values do you share?
We’re both emotional people, we’re both deep thinkers, it’s been nice to meet someone who I can talk about life with.
Any major differences?
[Laughs.] I make fun of his Instagram account. He gets a bit risqué on there. It’s all good – I enjoy looking at it! [Laughing.] I can’t say I’m seriously protesting by not looking!
Have you met Esteban’s twin?
I have! And funnily enough I had met his twin before the show! It didn’t click until later – he’s a friend of a friend. And this is weird – my friend who is the friend of Esteban’s brother, was in the Blind Date audience that day!
That’s a crazy coincidence.
Yes. His twin lives in Amsterdam at the moment but he gave me a good recommendation.
Had you been on a romantic date with the twin? No. Luckily!
You guys were brought together by a toprating TV show. Twenty years ago, there would’ve been angry letters to Media Watch. Yes, it’s incredible. But, just personally, my mum isn’t that supportive of my sexuality. I have a career in the media so I’ve always been mindful of not rubbing it in her face… But over the last five years so many things have happened, including same-sex marriage, that society has given me the strength to say yes to something like this. I have nothing to be ashamed of but a few years ago I would’ve said no to Blind Date because it would’ve been too public.
Does your mum know you’re on Blind Date?
I haven’t told her. I came out to her a while ago when I had a serious boyfriend, someone I was proud of and I wanted my parents to know this person. So I told her I was seeing a guy. She didn’t take it well; there were tears. She was worried and ashamed and confused. She suggested trying to change [my sexuality]. She doesn’t want to know about that side of my life. I feel disconnected to her by not being able to share that.
In 2017, during the marriage equality debate, your mum must’ve heard a lot of positive messages through The Kylie And Jackie O Show.
Definitely. I don’t know how she can even listen to the show… she must secretly not care all that much! [Laughs.] I do remember some early fight where she said, “I better not see you on TV at the Mardi Gras…”
Where you on the KIISFM Mardi Gras float this year?
Yes! [Laughs.] I’ve been in the Parade before and it’s always such an amazing experience but to be on the KIIS float with Kylie and Jackie as the gay representative of the show and be celebrated like that… it was incredible. I’ll never forget it.
Not many people have colleagues as supportive as Kyle and Jackie.
Right from the start they’ve been LGBTfriendly. I’ve been on the show four years now but before me was Geoff Field, the previous news reader, also gay, and they insisted that he just be himself on the show; that he not keep that side of his life quiet.
Blind Date is just light entertainment, but it felt that the emotions in your episodes were very real…
Definitely. It was quite emotional. I felt overwhelmed. I’m comfortable behind the microphone but being under the lights and the cameras – it’s all very different.
So, what are you hoping for with Esteban?
I’m hoping that at some point we can be a little bit closer to each other. Spend a bit more time together. Because we live in different cities we’ve put each other in a “lay-by” situation… seeing how it goes…
We look forward to finding out. All the best.
I couldn’t believe it. He’s such a babe… I remember my jaw being on the floor. It was a very lovely feeling.
Brooklyn’s potential dates answer his questions.
Happy ever after?
He chooses Esteban and they meet.