DIVA spoke to the happy couple about queer representation, marriage plans, and life after the Ultimatum


Are you missing Netflix’s sapphic dating show Ultimatum: Queer Love? Because we know we are. After years of begging the reality TV gods for a queer dating show, we were given 10 episodes of chaotic but ultimately insightful and ground-breaking depictions of queer love.

Out of the five couples that went on the show, Aussie and Sam are the only ones left together. After Aussie was given an ultimatum by Sam, we watched as the pair went on a journey of communication throughout the series. We absolutely adored watching their own personal stories of self-growth and seeing them still just as loved up in the reunion was a blessing.

DIVA spoke to the happy couple to get the low-down on life after the Ultimatum.

The whole world was obsessed with Queer Love: Ultimatum, did you know how big the show would become?

Aussie: I still don’t know how big it is! It hasn’t really hit me.

Sam: I think knowing that it was going to be global I knew from a knowing standpoint how big it would become. It’s hard to know what that means, though, until you’re experiencing it. When we have all these people reaching out from different countries it starts to feel more real than just a piece of knowledge.

It was filmed so long ago. When you finished it must have been weird to go back to living your normal lives. Was it weird not being able to talk about it?

Both: Oh yeah!

Sam: It made it really weird with the engagement. Normally people would be posting about it or announcing it, but we didn’t want to have to deal with people asking questions!

Let’s talk about the engagement. I’m a huge crystal fan so when I saw the labradorite I was so excited. Sam, what was your reaction when you saw it?

Sam: It was exactly the reaction that you see… but a bit longer! Aussie was thinking that I would do something funny, but why would I do something to embarrass you in front of everyone? There were people watching!

Aussie: I thought she was going to say: “Is that all?” The reaction didn’t come though. I had spoken to the producers about the idea because I thought it would be funny. But when it was happening in real time it was kind of awkward, and I was just waiting for her reaction.

Sam: I was so confused why you didn’t just write your speech on paper?!

Aussie: I wanted to memorise it. In real-time, I was so nervous. I was actually shaking. It would have been a better idea to have written it down – at least bullet-pointed it.

It was quite a journey for you to get to that moment. We only saw little snippets! Sam, your trial relationship with Tiff was initially a bit rocky. What was the secret to getting your communication right?

Sam: It was through a lot of bickering! I started realising that I was saying the same things over and over. After saying those things so many times, I eventually got to this point where I had this lightbulb moment and thought “Why am I trying so hard to convince someone who just met me the type of person I am?” I know I like dogs! From that point on, I didn’t need to try and prove myself to this person anymore. I know who I am.

Tiff was giving me the silent treatment while we were getting ready for a date, so I just went over to them and said, “Hey I just want you to know that none of this changes how I feel about you as a person.” By the time we got to the date, Tiff had softened. That was the point where we began to know each other better.

Aussie, obviously you had quite a horrible experience in your trial marriage. What was it like to live with Mildred during that period?

Aussie: It was actually traumatising, to be honest. What I’m glad about is that it forced me to stand up for myself, and that’s hard for me because I struggle to draw boundaries. When I went into my trial marriage with Sam it was hard because she didn’t know what type of person [Mildred] is. It was almost confusing.

At the Changeover, Mildred essentially gaslit me in front of the whole table. And it was the first time I had met anyone who would just blatantly lie about my character in front of the world. I was shell-shocked. I had a hard time speaking. I knew what I was getting into, but I didn’t know it was going to be that extreme. I was just trying to do my spiritual practice, sending love across the table, and staying present so I didn’t get drawn into the drama.

That event was quite traumatic. Tiff was just standing up for their partner at the time but it felt like there were two of them attacking me.

In the year and a half we had off before the reunion, Sam understood the gravity of what I had gone through. So by the time the reunion happened, and Sam had been living the real life happening between Tiff and Mildred, she was able to speak up. Sam could see through what was said on camera with Tiff [at the reunion]. Because Sam was able to speak up, I was able to speak my truth at the reunion.

Why do you think that the representation in Queer Love has been impactful for the community?

Aussie: A lot of people have been sending me support and their own stories and struggles with confrontation. They saw themselves in my story. That was the most heart-warming part of the show. That was the reason why I said yes. I wanted to show that this is a struggle that real people have. Relationships aren’t fairytales. They take work – especially when you have struggles in your own personal history.

Sam: We’ve had to remind each other that we’re not doing this for the people who don’t get it. We’re doing this for the people that we can help represent in some way. I joked in an interview that when we were trying to think of examples of Asian representation in the media we could only think of comedians and chefs. That’s a problem. There are very few people who do not do comedy in some way. It’s very stereotypical. We don’t get to see a lot of Asian representation or queer representation. It’s even more rare to see an Asian queer couple together. We really had an opportunity to shed light on all these populations of people who have literally never seen their story ever in something like this.

Aussie: I come from Burma, and after the show, some queer Burmese people reached out. I had never met another queer person from Burma. In Burma, it’s illegal to be queer. All my life, there was always negative talk about someone who is out or dresses differently from my whole family. It was really good to get that sector of the community to reach out.

Do you think that Netflix dealt with the show in the right way?

Sam: I think it goes both ways. Because this show is the first of its kind there are some decisions they had to make because it is the first. Although a lot of the queer community will understand certain things, some of the allies might not understand. A big part of doing something like this is to bring representation to the community, but we also need people [allies] to help support in the fights and understanding. We can’t do this on our own, and so in order to not do it alone, we have to educate other people.

Aussie: There’s been some debate online about JoAnna Garcia Swisher being the host. I want to say personally that I felt the safest with her. She is the most empathetic and kind person. At the Changeover, she was vital for me surviving that night by myself. That empathic look that JoAnna gave me after I was verbally spat out was everything. It helped me survive that night. Having a straight host was perhaps what we needed to bridge that gap between the mainstream audience and queer audience.

Sam: Some people commented on her social media saying that ‘I wouldn’t have watched this show if you weren’t the host’. That is what we’re looking for. We want more people to watch. It was important for getting the buzz out there.

Aussie: We need allyship to make any change in the world. I have heterosexual men message me and say that they saw themselves in me.

And finally, is there a wedding date on the cards right now?

Aussie: Not right now!

Sam: It just hasn’t been on our radar. We’re just living life. We want to travel and not plan for a wedding.

Aussie: For Sam, the ultimatum was about getting that commitment from me. I think that Sam is happy with her ring for the time being.

Sam: I care less about an actual wedding and marriage now. That’s not what it’s about. A lot of people are realising now that weddings are a lot of money and a lot of work. Those days of really traditional weddings are gone. We are going to get married, but just not right now.

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