The dating scene is hard enough, but Naked and Afraid of Love takes opening up and getting vulnerable to a whole new level. Stripping away the filters and apps, the new discovery+ show gives 16 naked strangers the perfect blend of survival and romance to have them get real with one another. Speaking with PopCulture ahead of Sunday's brand new episode, single Stefen opened up about why looking for love totally nude ended up being one of the best experiences of his life.
A 31-year-old model and part-time server from Brooklyn, Stefen said stripping down was the least of his concerns when it came to jetting off to film the dating show. "The day I left for the island I was so nervous...my heart was racing," he admitted. "I was basically just nervous being in survival mode, and I didn't know what it was going to be like."
Having just got out of a 5-year relationship, the self-described "prince charming" had never even been on a dating app, and he was happy to get back into the scene even if it meant taking off his clothes. "Honestly, I've been just super confident — I work out and I'm super positive," he said. Explaining that his mom always raised him to be 100% himself, Stefen joked, "Right when I got there, I was swinging everything around. I was super comfortable."
Stefen's mindset wasn't exactly the majority, as many of the singles were "nervous" and "shy" about getting naked. But as one of the older contestants, Stefen thinks he had a leg up. "Being more mature ... I feel like I've experienced a lot of times where there's naked activity going on, so I didn't really look at anyone like that," he shrugged. "There's men and women here, there's body parts."
The time he spent on the island working to survive and find love was the "best experience" Stefen said he's ever had, and while he won't confess if he found a significant other, he did say he's "smiling" watching the show back. "I came back just a little stronger in my mind," he noted, saying it was so valuable for him to triumph over all the challenges on the island, which were things he "would never do out in society."
He also learned a lot about himself when it comes to love. Coming in on the heels of a previous "toxic" relationship, Stefen said he knew he needed to work on letting other people get a word in edgewise while still being his "fun and crazy and wild" self. After leaving the island, he said he has a renewed sense of responsibility and is able to "take things more seriously" when the time comes for it. Will Stefen find love in the end? Naked and Afraid of Love streams new episodes Sundays on discovery+.