When it comes to navigating the modern dating landscape, our busy lives and the rise of internet dating can make it increasingly difficult to find people in real life. And if you do take the plunge and agree to meet, not only are you putting yourself out there emotionally, you also have to have your wits about you. So when Lesina Nakhid-Schuster, a 32-year-old locum surgical registrar who specialises in ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgery was ready to find love, she decided to take a unique but pragmatic approach to partnering up.
That’s why for the next little while, she’s traded gruelling 15-hour days working in scrubs for full-length gowns and dates with up to 22 men as New Zealand’s very first Bachelorette. Lesina is following on from Art Green and Matilda Rice’s success story on the first season of The Bachelor New Zealand in 2015, with the show now setting the female in the driver’s seat and letting her put the suitors through their paces. Hailing from West Auckland and with Samoan, German and Lebanese heritage, Lesina says “the stars aligned” when the call-out for a single leading lady was made. “It’s cheesy, but I was trying to find someone and felt like I wasn’t meeting anyone in Auckland. I thought, ‘I really need to increase my pool size.’ I’d actually changed jobs and was working in Australia for that reason,” she laughs. Locuming in Sydney at the time, friends back home started tagging Lesina on a Bachelorette Facebook post, encouraging her to go for the gig. “Someone from production got in touch and said, ‘Would you consider applying?’ Actually, ‘Are you still single?’ was the first question, and I said ‘Yes I am, so that needs to change.’ Even before The Bachelorette, I’d get tagged in lots of single memes. I’m around the same work people all of the time, there were so many reasons why it made sense, so I said ‘Yeah, I’ll give it a go.’”
She compares the approach on The Bachelorette – which sees a woman select a love match from a pool of potential admirers – to the rise of dating apps like Bumble, where if you’re interested, you swipe right. All about empowering women, Bumble’s modern approach means only female users can make the first move with matched male users.
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