If you looked up “guilty pleasure” in a realistic dictionary, you’d find 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days. As TLC’s hottest spinoff series, Before the 90 Days is a beautiful train wreck of new romance, dreams, international travel and of course, cringe-worthy drama. But like everything across the ever-expanding universe of reality television, not all is as it appears.
When 90 Day Fiancé itself proved to be a huge success (seven seasons already!), TLC did what any network in its position tends to do—milk it for all it’s worth. Before The 90 Days is just the second show in a group of 90 Day spinoffs, but in a unique twist it acts as a prequel to the initial series. Following real-life couples that are trying to make an international relationship work, the show broadcasts their first in-person meetings as they hope to eventually pursue the famous 90-day K-1 visa that the first show built its premise on. As we’ve come to expect with shows focused on romantic relationships, there’s plenty to watch unravel.
Between some tell-all social media posts from the cast members, surprising salaries and apparently having scripted scenes, it’s clear that the craziness of Before the 90 Days doesn’t stop once the cameras shut off. We’re still biting our nails in anticipation of a third season, but in the meantime, there’s plenty to learn about the show’s production and what the previous cast members are up to when they’re not being filmed.
Here are 20 Behind-The-Scenes Faces About 90 Day Fiancé: Before The 90 Days:
20 The Show Is Produced By Sharp Entertainment
Not ringing any bells just yet? While TLC may be the name most commonly connected to the show, Sharp Entertainment is the actual producer of Before The 90 Days and other shows within the franchise. Nevertheless, viewers may also recognize reality and drama show titles like Man v. Food, Extreme Couponing, Secret Lives of Stepford Wives and My Crazy Obsession.
Here's a fun fact: when Sharp Entertainment first pitched an international dating reality show to prospective networks, the concept was very different. The working title then was Bachelor Wars: Russia, producer Matt Sharp said in a 2017 Reality Life podcast interview, and the focus was then limited to men seeking immigrant brides through. Needless to say, there have since been quite a few changes. This is a good thing too, since we don't see great spinoffs like Before the 90 Days lasting very long (or even happening) without the appeal of cast members being from all around the globe.
19 The Season Two Premiere Had The Highest Ratings In The Franchise’s History
Before the 90 Days has been very good for TLC. While the first season was successful enough to merit a second season, the season two premiere on Sunday, August 5 of this year earned not just higher ratings than the first season but also the highest ratings in the entire history of the 90 Day franchise. As an added bonus, the season 2 premiere also helped propel TLC into the No. 1 spot among female viewers for a cable network on Sunday night. This is important, as reality shows tend to rely on key women demographics for their bread and butter. And as far as women ages 25-54, 18-49 and 18-34 go, Before the 90 Days premiere won out with all.
Now, there's a widespread belief that TV ratings no longer matter with increasing amounts of viewers each year forgoing cable altogether. However, this is no longer true. Nielsen, the famous TV rating giant, started tracking viewership on online streaming services in late 2014, and just last year they added Hulu and YouTube TV (both of which stream Before the 90 Days) to their spectrum.
18 TLC Has Announced A Fourth Spinoff Series
How many is too many spinoff shows for a reality TV series? Whatever the limit is, TLC apparently feels they haven't reached it yet. Before the 90 Days is the second spinoff, following 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever Ever (which premiered in 2016) and preceding the exclusive digital spinoff series, 90 Day Fiancé: What Now? Nevertheless, the network announced this summer that yet another 90 Day spinoff will be added to the already robust lineup.
With the working title, 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way, the new show is meant to flip the original setup for the series on its head. While Before the 90 Days follows couples in the days that lead up to the K-1 Visa process, The Other Way will take an entirely different take on international couples—ones where the person from the US is the one who leaves everything behind to move to a new country for love. Not much else about the new series is known, but it will likely premiere next year based on the current patterns for the franchise.
17 TLC Has Not confirmed Season Three
Speaking of air dates and patterns, as of now TLC still has not officially announced whether or not the network will run a third season of 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days. This does not necessarily mean that the show will stop running, but this is interesting considering the success of the most recent season, not to mention the fact that most networks readily announce the renewal of their TV shows in order to help maintain viewer interest. Still, TLC is no stranger to suspense.
The network did not announce the renewal of all 90 Day Fiancé TV shows until January of this year, so it is very possible they are waiting until a similar time to reveal their plans for a Before the 90 Days season 3. In the meantime, fans still have the current season of 90 Day Fiancé to hold them over.
16 There Is An Open Casting Call On TLC's Website
Despite no official announcement for a third season having been made (yet), there is currently a casting call listed on TLC's website for new Before the 90 Days couples. The post specifically calls for men and women "who are currently in long distance relationships with someone(s) overseas & [sic] planning to meet them for the first time". The casting call also appears on backstage.com and asks for people between the ages of 18 and 65.
No word yet on whether or not season one and two cast members Jesse Meester and Darcey Silva will be returning for the third time in a row. However, there has already been some speculation that Meester, now relocated to New York from the Netherlands, may be setting himself up for a season three with his new girlfriend (sorry, Darcey).
15 The Show Is Most Likely Scripted
Reality shows have never been known by the general public to be "all real", but it definitely seems like some are faker than others. Unfortunately, this seems to be the case with TLC, which has faced large amounts of criticism over the years. The network whose name once stood for "The Learning Channel" and was co-founded by NASA in the 1970s began switching its programming over to docuseries and reality shows as far back as the 1990s. By the early 2000s, much of its documentaries and shows designed to help viewers, well, learn something were a thing of the past.
What exactly does this have to do with 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days? Everything. The show is far from the first one to face allegations of having scripted or at least heavily edited scenes, and reality showrunners themselves have declared that just about all of reality TV is at least staged or "soft-scripted". According to them, it's the drama created in these scenes that make for good TV, and it's what keeps viewers coming back. Multiple cast members of the 90 Day franchise have even come forward via social media to say that scenes are scripted. We're not saying that all of Before the 90 Days is scripted, mind you. However, given all of the evidence, a healthy dose of skepticism here should be in order.
14 Castmates Tarik Myers And Ricky Reyes Teamed Up To Make A Music Video
Fans of the show will have a hard time forgetting cast member Tarik Myers’ rap proposal on the beach to Hazel Cagalitan during season 2. Turns out Myers-- a.k.a. Dirt Dayoh-- is very serious about his rap career, and he even dropped a music video months after his stint on Before the 90 Days was aired. Released during the first weekend in December, “God Bliss Woman [sic]” was directed by his castmate Ricky Reyes and can be viewed on Myers' YouTube channel. No other castmates appear in the video.
The music video's existence isn't all that surprising, however. Myers was revealed back in July to be an aspiring rapper who once released an entire album of tracks that pay tribute to Black Panther, while Reyes owns a small photography and videography production company based in Texas.
13 The Non-Citizen Cast Members Do Not Get Paid To Be On The Show
This sounds unfair, but it's actually a situation that may be (mostly) justified. Matt Sharp, executive producer of Before The 90 Days and 90 Day Fiancé, has said that the show legally cannot pay people who do not hold green cards. Okay, so let's fact check this. It's true that U.S. employers can only legally compensate a non-U.S. citizen working for them if they hold a green card-- kind of. For those who don't yet hold green cards, other qualifying forms of work authorization for these employers include H, L, or O visa or even a specialized EAC or Employment Authorization Card. But of course, these forms of work authorization apply primarily to work that is actually performed on U.S. soil, and much of the filming done with foreign cast members on Before the 90 Days takes place abroad.
But of course, there are perfectly legal ways to pay foreign workers in other countries. Production teams already need to follow local filming and labor laws wherever they are currently located, and they can pay foreign workers as long as appropriate tax laws for all countries involved are followed. In fact, here's an excellent article on how U.S. companies, in general, can legally compensate international workers (whether citizens or not). So, nice try, TLC and Sharp Productions, but it sounds like someone is just trying to take the easy way out.
12 Before The 90 Days Offers Cast Members The Lowest Salary
Since we just discussed how the non-U.S. citizens on are (not) compensated, let's take a look now at the citizens who are definitely supposed to be getting paid for their appearances. All of these main cast members are indeed getting paid, but it's worth noting that all friends and family members, along with random others, who appear on the show aren't getting squat. Still, this is no reason to start thinking all is well for the main cast members just yet.
The cast members on Before the 90 Days reportedly earn between $500 and $1,000 per episode, while 90 Day Fiancé itself pays between $1,000 and $1,500. The other spinoffs that follow offer a slight raise from there, but it isn't much. In fact, some of the series' stars have taken to asking for money on social media to help soothe their financial woes. For anyone wondering, no, this isn't exactly a normal pay rate for popular reality TV shows.
11 Cast Member Rachel Walters Now Has A Third Engagement Ring
Who could forget Rachel Bear Walters and Jon Walters from season 2? Easily one of the healthiest relationships featured on the series so far, viewers got to watch the couple as they went from their first in-person meeting to being full-on engaged with the most amazing and emotional proposal ever. And as if that weren't enough to end their time on the show with a wonderful note, the couple finished it all off with a touching elopement ceremony. They even designed each other's wedding bands!
Sadly, Jon's initial engagement ring that he gave to his bride was lost down a garbage disposal. He sent her a new one to replace it, but Rachel recently took to social media to reveal yet a third engagement ring from her now-husband and the reason behind it. Turns out that neither Jon nor Rachel felt much of a connection with the second ring, and so she is now wearing her great-grandmother's ring as a final replacement. Awww!
10 The Show Incorrectly Portrayed Real Life
Back in season 1, Sean Hiler was just a regular guy trying to take his long-distance relationship with his Haitian girlfriend, Abby St. Germain, to the next level. The two of them had a decent run but were still plagued by the drama of St. Germain's ex possibly still being in the picture. They broke up after the season had aired, and Hiler eventually took to social media to reveal that his issues have been primarily with the TV show, not with his ex.
In a very open Instagram live session, Hiler said that Sharp Entertainment portrayed Abby in a much harsher light than deserved, saying that she has been harassed on the street as a result. His own experience has apparently not been much better, as he has said that the show's focus on their age difference has resulted in him being harassed.
9 Darcey Silva Is No Stranger To Reality TV
If you don't know who Darcey Silva is, you haven't been watching the show. This woman's relationship with the Dutch Jesse Meester has been one of the main sources of drama throughout seasons 1 and 2 of Before the 90 Days, but maybe that's because it's not exactly her first time on the reality TV circuit. She and her twin sister, Stacey, filmed a pilot for a reality show called Twin Life back in 2010. Watching the shreds that are still available on the internet, it's not really hard to see why the show didn't take off, but it's entertaining nonetheless. Oh, and you get to see Darcey's now ex-husband, Frank.
But it doesn't stop there. Darcey (though possibly her twin sister) also appeared briefly on an episode of Millionaire Matchmaker, as a potential date for one of Patti Stanger's wealthy clients. Does Silva have a more extensive reality TV career ahead of her? Time will tell. In the meantime, it appears she and Meester have called it quits for good this time.
8 Season 2 Cast Member Angela Deem Was On Maury In 2016
Darcey Silva is far from the only cast member with a history of television appearances. Angela Deem is another woman who came onto the show to narrate her international relationship with a younger man, and she is also another cast member who has had prior appearances on reality TV. Deem has actually appeared on Maury not once, but twice. The first time was in 2015, and the second followed quickly after that in 2016. Both appearances on the show were alongside Deem's daughter, Scottie, and the focus of their segment each time was to question the paternity of Scottie's children.
Will Deem appear on reality TV in the future? Possibly. She and her Nigerian boyfriend Michael Ilesanmi recently revealed that they are still in a relationship, so it might not be long until they show their faces to the 90 Day audience again.
7 That’s Still Nothing Compared To Patrick Cornett
If you rose an eyebrow at either Silva or Deem's past reality appearances, you'll stand right up when you hear about Patrick Cornett. Fans of the show will remember how, in season 1, Cornett tragically journeyed more than 4,000 miles to France to meet his online girlfriend, Myriam, only to discover that she was already seeing someone else. Fortunately, Cornett managed to make lemonade out of lemons and stayed in France as planned to turn his experience into a vacation. Of course, it probably didn't hurt that it wasn't his first time on camera. Far from it!
Cornett himself claimed on a Facebook post that he has appeared on five other reality TV shows in total (he later denied saying this, but a screenshot of his post has made its way around the internet). Nevertheless, his career outside of Before the 90 Days has been pretty impressive. He has auditioned for several reality shows, making it onto Steve Austin’s The Broken Skull Challenge. Hey, the guy is also a former MMA fighter.
6 Jesse Meester wants to take Legal Action
Back to our favorite king and queen of relationship drama, Jesse Meester and Darcey Silva. Viewers watched as their relationship finally reached its breaking point towards the end of season 2 (the shoe-throwing incident, anyone?), and the two called it quits in what seemed like the best decision the two of them had made in a long time. While the relationship is over, it seems that the two are still harboring some ill feelings toward each other.
The toxic interaction has continued with their public statements about the show and their former relationship. In fact, things have gotten so bad that Meester has threatened via social media to take legal action against Silva if she does not stop bad-mouthing him publicly. Still, this is a little ironic, since Meester himself has had plenty of negative things to say about Silva in the months following their breakup. Oh well. Maybe they were meant for each other after all?
5 Karine And Paul Staehle May Be Having Their Baby In Brazil
It was pretty obvious throughout seasons 1 and 2 just how attached Karine Staehle née Martins is to her family and life in Brazil, but it didn't get in the way of her relationship with Paul Staehle, to whom she is now married. As revealed to fans on the season 2 Before the 90 Days Tell-All episode in October, the couple is currently expecting their first child. What wasn't revealed at the time, however, was the fact that the baby may be intentionally born in Brazil instead of the U.S.
On December 1, Karine held a special Q & A session with fans on her Instagram account. Not only did the happy mom-to-be reveal that the baby boy will be named "Pierre" and is due in March, but she also said that she will likely stay in Brazil to have the baby because her mom will be there to help her. As for Paul, he is currently still in the United States because he is legally unable to work in Brazil right now. With only a little over three months before the arrival of his son, we hope he is reunited with Karine soon.
4 Before The 90 Days Could Actually Help Couples Get Approval
Even those of us who enjoy watching reality TV shows often end up wondering why anyone in their right mind would actually agree to be on one. After all, reality stars face plenty of criticism from the public and can kiss their privacy goodbye. Still, there's at least one huge benefit that can come from being on 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days.
The initial show, 90 Day Fiancé, is all about couples who have sought out and been approved for a K-1 visa, subsequently receiving just 90 days to get married or else the non-citizen will have to leave the United States. There are various requirements for this visa, but one of the big ones is that couples must have met in person at least once within two years before applying for the visa. It's a complicated process that usually necessitates the enlistment of an immigration attorney (executive producer Matt Sharp has even said that the show often finds new cast members through these attorneys). Since Before the 90 Days depicts multiple couples meeting for the first time, their appearance on the show itself fulfills this requirement and can be used as evidence. We'd call that a huge plus.
3 Ricky Reyes Has Accused The Network Of Using Him For Ratings
Ricky. Ricky. Ricky. There has been a lot of drama surrounding Ricardo “Ricky” Reyes, starting with his getting stood up by internet girlfriend Melissa, continuing with his fast switch to Ximena, and ending with Ximena dumping him in anger. Oh, and then there's the other highly important news that Reyes was later revealed to still has a wife in the United States and was possibly just using the show as a means of promoting his business. Still, none of this is really out of the ordinary for good old-fashioned reality TV.
Nevertheless, it's Reyes who has said that TLC took advantage of him and his background just for rating purposes. Even Reyes' wife has come forward and said that while she herself was not involved in the show, she knew he was going to Columbia. It appears that Reyes is ignoring the fact that he was still legally married the entire time, making him an ineligible partner for a potential K-1 visa holder anyway. How did this guy get on the show again?
2 Getting Engaged Doesn’t Mean The Non-Citizen Will Get To Stay
This show is all about foreign relationships that could lead to marriage (and many have ended up in exactly that). However, while much of the focus is on getting that 90-day, K-1 visa, little is actually said about the citizenship process that will eventually have to be tackled if the couple wants to stay in the U.S. Unfortunately for the hopeful foreign cast members, there's actually no guarantee that an engagement will lead to permanent residency.
Prospective citizens have to be green card holders for at least three years before they can apply for naturalization, and green card holders through marriage have to “have been living in marital union with the same U.S. citizen spouse” during that time. So while this show may seem just like a fun international dating reality show, the underlying situation is quite serious. And no, TLC does not help facilitate the process.
1 The Situations On Before The 90 Days Are Actually Not That Unique
While it may seem crazy for someone to be in a long-term, online relationship with someone in another country, this is an increasingly common scenario. There are now thousands of dating apps and websites that allow people to connect with others all across the globe, and millions of people are using them. This has even launched a side industry of international “marriage brokers” who help arrange relationships between people looking for love leading to marriage in a new country.
So is it a wise choice to start looking internationally in hopes of finding love and marriage? Possibly. In the entire 90 Day franchise, there have actually been relatively few divorces. If Before The 90 Days teaches us anything, it's that the path to pursuing love abroad is not necessarily an easy one. Couples must conquer not just legal issues but cultural differences, language barriers and of course, the distance. Still, if some people can do all that and handle having it all broadcast to the world via a reality show, maybe it really is true love.