On Thursday, the day the finale began streaming, The Washington Post caught up with the couple to find out what it was like to fall in love and get engaged without having seen one another — and what their life has been like since taping wrapped in November 2018. (They’re still together!) The following phone interview has been edited for clarity and length.
The Washington Post: Why did you apply to be on this show?
Lauren: I applied because my dating life was pretty much in shambles. I was really intrigued by the fact that it wasn’t based on aesthetics, because nowadays that’s such a big part of not only dating but our culture as a whole.
Cameron: I was doing the dating apps and I was finding myself picking the wrong people for me. I was making quick judgments based on how they looked and was ignoring their personality. So I thought that this might be a chance to get to know someone on a deeper level, an emotional level, first.
The Post: Do you remember what you talked about in your first conversation together?
Lauren: Our very first conversation was super-brief — about seven minutes. We did a basic introduction of ourselves: where we’re from, what we do, the stuff that’s important to us.
Cameron: We both kind of related on the fact that we have very entrepreneurial minds and that we’re self-taught in a lot of different ways. We also bonded over the fact that we’re both introverts that are able to be extroverted when we need to be.
The Post: Do the pods make it easier to date as introverts?
Cameron: I think so. I like to describe them as kind of like a meditation chamber, because all you have are the acoustics of their voice. So it really allows you to focus in on them as an individual. You’ve got this nice hypnotic wall in front of you that helps keep your focus. So we were able to just delve incredibly deep.
Lauren: And you don’t have to worry about what you look like.
The Post: How did you fall in love so quickly?
Lauren: You definitely have to be open and vulnerable, and willing to fall in love. At the same time, when you connect with someone, you connect. When you feel a certain something with someone that you’ve never felt before — especially if you’ve been in long relationships or relationships that haven’t worked — you feel something different.
Cameron: I went into it with a bunch of questions [about] things that I would want to know about a potential partner. But the other part was just that Lauren and I really were economical about how we spent our time together.
The Post: What were some of those questions that you asked?
Cameron: What’s something that you’ve done that you weren’t proud of?
Lauren: When was the last time you cried?
Cameron: What are some of your biggest fears?
Lauren: Political views.
Cameron: How would you want to raise your children, spiritually, religiously? What sort of those values would you want to instill in them? How would you want to discipline our children?
Lauren: Do you believe in spanking?
Cameron: We wish a lot of those conversations were captured. Of course, there is so little time to spare and [they] have to show everyone’s story line. But we just wish [they] showed more of the complexity of our relationship.
The Post: What is it like talking to someone and you can’t see them?
Lauren: You can actually tell a lot with the inflection in someone’s voice. You can kind of tell if someone’s angry or sad or upset or if something excites them. You can kind of hear when people are smiling, too, when they talk.
The Post: Let’s take it out of the pods. Cameron, I’m so struck by the way you look at Lauren. It’s so adoring. Can you explain what was going through your heart and mind as the two of you were falling in love? What was in that look?
Cameron: After we got engaged and we saw each other during the reveal, my whole mentality about the experiment and the process shifted to focusing on: How are Lauren and I going to make it to our wedding and be in a healthy spot? So I stopped thinking about the cameras. I was just thinking about Lauren. I was kind of in my own world with her.
The Post: Lauren, is it fair to say that you had a bit of catching up to do to get where Cameron was?
Lauren: I guess in a sense, because Cameron was definitely all in, ready to go, right away. Of course I knew that I loved Cameron, and I knew that I would want to marry him in the long run. But I’m not going to lie, it scared me to make such a huge commitment so fast. He was ready; he had no doubts. I’m like: “You don’t have any?” I feel like I would ask him every day, just because it would make me feel better if he was a little scared. But he was just like: “No, I’m good.”
Cameron: Everyone wanted me to be scared and to have doubts. I tried to search inside myself to see if I had any. But I really didn’t.
Lauren: That made me feel more confident. He literally has no doubt, so that pushed me to stop being so afraid.
The Post: I was thinking about that moment where you are on Cameron’s balcony, discussing: Will Lauren keep her apartment? Cameron wanted her to move in. I had this surge of anxiety, thinking: She barely knows this guy! Of course she’s not moving into his house.
Lauren: That’s exactly how I felt. This is all brand new and we’re talking about getting rid of my place? It was something that I had to communicate.
The Post: Did you guys end up moving in together?
Lauren: Yes, we did.
The Post: Into Cameron’s place?
Cameron: Into our house, yeah.
The Post: How much producer meddling is involved? Did they try to push you in certain ways?
Lauren: No, actually, everything that you see was super authentic. Everything that I said was my real thoughts, my real actions, who I really connected with, who irritated me.
Cameron: Same here. The producers would bring up stuff like: “Hey, can you guys talk about race?” But we had those discussions anyway, Lauren and I.
The Post: Lauren, you said on the show that this has been your first interracial relationship. What has that been like?
Lauren: It’s actually been pretty normal. Me and Cameron, we just interact like any other couple. Of course at times we discuss our cultural backgrounds or sometimes we even joke about it. Outside of our race being different, I’m from Detroit; I’m a city girl. He’s from Maine; he’s a country guy.
[Race] is definitely something that we talk about, even when it comes to having children and how our children might be perceived or look. We talked about Cameron learning how to do curlier, thicker hair because our child will probably have hair like me.
The Post: Cameron, when you first met Lauren’s dad, he was skeptical of you. How has that relationship changed?
Cameron: I love Lauren’s dad. He lives very close to us, so he gets to come over quite a bit for dinner and bonding time. I think of him as a second father.
The Post: How is your relationship different today than it was when you first got out of the pods? And what has remained constant?
Cameron: We’ve definitely picked up parts of each other. Lauren’s made me a bit more bubbly or expressive.
Lauren: He’s very smart and intelligent, so I’m always learning something new from him, whether it’s words or just things about the world and philosophy. Even his little sayings, I’m starting to pick them up. It’s like we’re becoming one entity. We’re one soul now.