Married at First Sight UK 2022 (or ‘MAFS’ to those in the know) may be off our screens for another year but its still lodged itself firmly in our hearts – partly because of the on-screen drama (what about that partner swapping?!) but also, maybe just maybe, because it gives us a chance to see true love spark up in front of our eyes (looking at you Zoe and Jenna).
So, to scratch that MAFS itch just one last time, we just had to speak to Maisie Turley – one of this year’s celebrants on the show.
We had a fascinating conversation about love, storytelling, and the importance of inclusivity on screen. Read on to hear her thoughts!
Hook Research: What is the best thing about being a celebrant?
Maisie Turley: I love telling people’s stories, we are all so different and I love to celebrate that! Whether it’s the story of a relationship and what makes a couple unique; sharing the story of someone’s life when they have passed or the story of a name given to a new member of a community.
“I love telling people’s stories, we are all so different and I love to celebrate that!”
HR: What is the most stand-out ‘celebration’ you’ve ever run (in a good way or a bad one)?
MT: It has to be my sisters wedding. We are very close; she has been on an incredible journey throughout her life and now she has a wonderful wife who I love very dearly. To stand up in front of our family and their friends and tell that story for them was a great honour. It was also my first experience of emceeing the rest of the wedding which I loved!
HR: Married at First Sight has been running now for 7 years in the UK, why do you think Brits love watching it?
MT: We love the drama! These couples do something that is unimaginably brave and incredibly exposing….
It is amazing to watch the couples that fall genuinely in love and of course Instagram means we can keep an eye on them and see if they stay together!
And then the ones that don’t get on so well….. It just shows what a range of people and characters we have in our world! And how truly vulnerable almost everyone is. It is unpredictable TV at times, I find it interesting the pairs that get together that weren’t matched and that you wouldn’t expect but often do work better. Love is unpredictable and a wild ride!
HR: As well as being a celebrant, you’re also an actor. Have you learned anything about storytelling from working as a celebrant?
MT: Wow, this is such a good question! I hadn’t thought about it before any further than how storytelling is just totally my jam!
When I was a child I realised you could tell stories for a living; that’s when I wanted to be an actor. It has very much led me to being a celebrant. I think it has informed my acting in terms of the range of people I have been able to meet.
It has also made me even more passionate about representation in our media and entertainment and how much everyone should be able to see themselves in culture and the arts.
HR: You’ve also written about having a visual impairment. Does this impairment impact the acting roles that you get or are asked to audition for? If so, in what ways?
MT: Definitely! The industry is making some ways on this road but we have a long way to go. Unfortunately at one point I was told I can’t play characters who can see! This was quite a few years ago though and I do genuinely think things are changing…
I have had some brilliant jobs and worked with some fantastic people; generally it has been my visual impairment that has got me in the room as they are specifically looking for someone with a visual impairment/ partially sighted.
I would love to play a character who has a glass eye because I do and it is barely mentioned; the plot is telling another story; much like my own multi-dimensional life!
This is very important to me as I think about if my young self had seen someone with a glass eye on their TV or at the theatre it would have made me feel much less alienated and strange.
“I think about if my young self had seen someone with a glass eye on their TV or at the theatre it would have made me feel much less alienated and strange”
HR: What should inclusivity look like in this space? And do you think it’s getting any better or worse in recent years?
MT: It is definitely getting better on our TV Screens but as I said before it has a long way to go.
Our TV here in the UK is much better for having a greater representation but we need to go beyond characters only telling one story that is about their disability, race or sexual preference. I am trying to bang this drum as hard as I can!
HR: Now that MAFS is coming to an end, what’s next for you?
MT: I am so excited about some of my bookings coming up; one of which is a renaming ceremony for a non-binary 18 year old. We have some amazing things planned for the ceremony!
Funerals are such an honour and I am looking forward to helping more families say goodbye to their loved ones.
As a mum to two small children I have ambitions to carve out more time for myself and my business but that’s no small task!
For more insights like this, you should check out the rest of Hook’s Creator Conversation series – we’ve interviewed the founder of Broccoli Content about the importance of championing diversity in podcasts, the Creator of Pop N’ Olly about producing LGBTQ youtube content for young people, and Jess Anson, a founder of Pod UK, about how we should all be aiming to build inclusive fandoms.