Netflix’s latest dating reality show is now available to watch in full on the streaming service! In Too Hot To Handle, a group of sex-obsessed serial daters are given the impression that they’re about to have the time of their lives at a tropic resort, hooking up with whoever they want. Trouble is, little do they know, there are some rules in place during this getaway – no kissing, sex or self-gratification.
Just in case you missed my review of Too Hot To Handle, I loved it. Yes, there’s a lot of outlandish behavior, but the show also highlights the importance of personal growth. It’s wildly entertaining from start to finish, and certainly leaves you in a place where you truly feel invested in the contestants and their experiences.
Need a little more convincing that Too Hot To Handle is worth a go? Let’s meet one of the show’s stars, Nicole. It took everything I had not to ask her about the juicy details of what goes down over the course of the show’s eight-episode run, but know that this interview is entirely spoiler free! You can either watch or read our chat below to find out how much she really knew about the Too Hot To Handle format before filming, what it was like getting used to having cameras around 24/7, the lasting impact of the experiment, and so much more! You can watch the full conversation for yourself in the video player at the top of this article or read the transcript below.
How are you doing? Is everything good?
NICOLE: I’m good! Everything is great. Even though we’re in quarantine, my spirits are still high. I’m positive vibes. I’m super excited. This is going to be an amazing experience and I can’t wait to have everyone watch the show because it is amazing.
I’ve watched all eight episodes and your spirits should be high! There’s a lot of very serious stuff going on right now, but I am a firm believer that it’s a very important time for entertainment. Between the crazy moments and actually seeing people change, the show just kind of filled my heart!
NICOLE: Yeah! I think it’s crazy how everything happens for a reason. There is a reason that this show came out in a time when people need positivity. They need something really good and entertaining to watch, and I think it’s quite fitting with things that are happening at the moment. But yeah, it was so much fun doing the show. There’s a lot of things that go on, so I think the viewers are just going to love it.
Did you ever picture yourself being on a reality show – whether it was a game show, a dating show, anything like that?
NICOLE: You know, I’ve always kind of grown up with my mom and dad putting me on stage, in terms of dancing and singing, so I’ve always been a performer. I’m always wanting to be in the limelight, so I have for maybe the past few years wanted to do something like this. When this came my way, and finding out it was for Netflix, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is gonna be amazing. This is the goal. This is my dream!’ So I’m super lucky and super privileged to have done an opportunity like this. Not only to get to do something with Netflix, but the experience itself was something so amazing and personal to me, personal to everyone else who was on the show. You don’t get an experience like that with a lot of shows, a lot of reality shows. It was like a real retreat and I definitely came out a changed person, which is insane to do a show and then just come out a completely better person, so I’m delighted.
I know this is the hook of the show, but I’m a little afraid some are going to brush it off as, ‘Oh, it’s just that show where you can’t have sex,’ because I think there’s more to it than that.
NICOLE: Yes, even throughout the whole process. We went in completely blinded to the fact that there was gonna be this huge twist. I’m genuinely serious. We had no idea, so when that hit, people will see our reactions; we were in complete shock and we were like, ‘How come this is happening? I thought we were going to just do bits and have fun.’ But it really changed everyone individually. It was like, yes, in a way it’s hard not to do anything, but when you’re stuck in that situation, it’s hard for the public to imagine how you can genuinely feel. Even though you’re like, ‘Oh, these 10 hot singles are in this amazing villa. Come on! They’re having the time of their lives!’ Yes we did, but because you’re left to think about certain things about yourself – and Lana really reiterates that, and lets you have time to open up. Because if I was just back home, I would never have that time to reflect on who I am as a person. Same with other people in the retreat. But having that time and when you’re in there, it all just comes to a head and you just get so overwhelmed with things that were constantly pushed to the surface. So yeah, it was definitely an eye-opener for all of us.
Do you hear Lana in your sleep now?
NICOLE: Oh, I’m not even joking you. When I came out, Lana was just in my ear the whole time. Even if I would go out and I’d be talking to boys, I’d be like, ‘Okay, Lana is in your head, Nicole. Remember!’ So Lana has taught me a lot of things, so I’ve got her to thank.
You said you didn’t know anything about the big twist going into the show. What did you think the show was when you first signed up? How was it originally pitched to you?
NICOLE: They said it was a dating show, so I instantly assume, ‘Okay, Love Island vibes, maybe. I go in, I meet a fit boy, might come out with a boyfriend.’ My parents are constantly saying, ‘Nicole, when are you getting a boyfriend? Like, come on!’ And I’m like, ‘No, hun, I’m just having fun partying!’ So I just thought, ‘Okay, I’ll do this. I might find someone.’ Then it just did a complete turn, and it’s the complete opposite in terms of how I pictured myself finding someone because you’re not allowed to do anything. So yeah, I thought I was gonna find someone and, you know, we had bits and pieces of people, but people have to stay tuned and watch how my journey turns out.
When you audition for a show like this, what do they have you do? How did they know you were the right fit for this particular concept?
NICOLE: In terms of the audition process, it was over a few months. We had different interviews with the team, and they were asking us, ‘Okay, your ideal date? When would you sleep with someone? After what kind of date? Are you into partying?’ Et cetera, et cetera, just trying to gauge if we were really sexual beings, basically. So I just thought, ‘You know what? That’s normal. They just want to know obviously for a regular dating show.’ I had no idea they were trying to find the people who were extremely sexual and put them in a place where that is not allowed to happen. So yeah, they definitely kept it a secret, so hats-off to them.
I have a couple of silly behind-the-scenes questions for you. We only see some of you eat when you go on those prearranged dates. Is there a Too Hot To Handle kitchen? Who’s busy cooking?
NICOLE: Yes! So we had the most amazing food I’ve ever had in my life. We had these personal chefs who cooked us whatever we wanted for breakfast, lunch, dinner. So for breakfast we would have huge fry-ups, french toast, pancakes. So we’d wake up at around eight o’clock. Lana would wake us up. We’d have some breakfast. We’d all get ready, and then lunch would be just steak. We had steak all the time. Same with dinner. Lovely chicken. It was amazing. I went back to my little flat in London just making pasta after, and I was just thinking, ‘How have I done this turn where I’m having steak every day to now having 60-cent pasta?’ [Laughs]
What was the first thing you did when you got home?
NICOLE: So I went home and I was a bit jet-lagged, so I kind of just chilled in front of the TV for the first little bit, but then I met up with some friends, went for a few drinks. But I didn’t tell a lot of my friends I was going on the show, so there was only a small handful of my friends who knew. So until the trailer dropped last Friday, none of my friends at home knew, so they were all so shocked. I was inundated with text messages last Friday. They didn’t have a clue where I went last year. I just told them I was going on a work trip and my phone broke, so they were in complete shock.
What’s the craziest reaction a friend had to this? Was anyone completely blown away that this is what you’ve been up to?
NICOLE: Yes! So one friend has always told me, ‘Nicole, you need to do a reality show. You need to do this, that.’ They were like, ‘I want to apply you to do things!’ But I obviously couldn’t tell her that I had done this, so I was like, ‘Oh, I’m not that interested.’ So then when she found out, she died! She was like, ‘Oh my goodness, what is going on?’ And the fact it’s for Netflix, this is insane. So I had a lot of comments like that.
Back to the production stuff real quick; what was the most difficult thing for you to adjust to? There’s wearing a microphone every day, and it was blowing my mind how close to the showers the cameras were. Are you constantly thinking, ‘Who is looking right now?’
NICOLE: So at the very start you’re obviously aware of the cameras, and then it kind of gradually dies down, your awareness. But yes, at the start, the shower situation, I kind of freaked out about that because I’m thinking, ‘Okay, there’s loads of guys who were going to be watching me in the shower.’ So the production team were like, ‘Oh, well, you know, it’s kind of blurred-out a little bit.’ So I started to put my towel over the shower and they were like, ‘No, you can’t do that.’ So I was like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ And then as well, the forgetting of the mics. Sometimes at the start, people would forget to put them on and whatever, but yeah, it was just getting used to things like that because I remember coming out after filming, I was like, ‘Where’s my mic? Oh my goodness. Where’s my mic?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t need it anymore!’
Who screwed up the most things production-wise?
NICOLE: Oh! I think it was probably Chloe. [Laughs] Chloe and her mic. Yeah, we did get a few calls about that. People would come running in being like, ‘Chloe, put on your mic! Come on!’ And she was like, ‘I’m so sorry!’ It’s because when you come out of the shower as well. You obviously don’t wear your mic in the shower, so then you’re just having the chats with people, and you’re like, ‘Oh sugar, forgot my mic.’
Without spoiling anything, do you have a most memorable moment from the show that you’re really excited for people to see?
NICOLE: You know, I’ll be so honest; there [are] so many moments because there’s not one particular moment that stands out to me, because we were filming for so long and it’s all so condensed. And this we filmed a while back, so it’s like trying to think of a certain moment. I was thinking of this the other day and I actually can’t. There are so many special things that, for instance with Chloe, that I share. So many moments that are so close to my heart that I can’t wait for people to watch because they’re really deep and personal to me, personal to Chloe. So I’m excited for people to see our conversations and our friendship, but yeah, I can’t think of one, specific thing because the whole experience was amazing to me.
At Collider we’re big into talking about movies and TV shows, scripted stuff in general, so my question for you is, if a movie star could have been a contestant with you on Too Hot To Handle, who would have made you lose the most money?
NICOLE: Oh! A movie star? You know who I’m obsessed with? Channing Tatum! I think he is a beautiful specimen. If he walked in, $100k would have just gone like that. I wouldn’t even have blinked an eyelid. I would have been like, ‘Sorry Lana! I’m just doing this. I’m doing me. Goodbye!’ [Laughs]
Before I let you go, I’ve got a couple of rapid fire questions so our viewers can get to know you a little better. What is the last TV show you binge-watched?
NICOLE: Oh! Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
Do you collect anything?
NICOLE: [Laughs] Clothes. I have the most clothes out of every single person I know. I buy about four new outfits a week. It’s actually worrying. I might have to go to therapy for it.
Do you have any pets?
NICOLE: Yes! I just got a puppy the other day! A tiny little miniature dachshund!
I’ve got two dachshunds! Oh, that makes me so happy!
NICOLE: Yeah, they’re the cutest. He’s called Milo, and he’s just a little baby. He’s so gorgeous. So that’s the dog that I have with my roommate here in London, but back home in Ireland, I’ve got two other dogs. I’ve got a Shih Tzu and then I’ve got, he’s a King Charles, so he’s so cute. I love animals so much!
I’ve got a serious one for you now; what is your biggest fear overcome?
NICOLE: My biggest fear, which I’m trying to overcome it, are spiders and heights. Every time that a spider is in my house, instead of trying to call my roommate or my housemate to come get it, I’m trying to pick the spider up, I don’t want to kill it, and just throw it outside. And then heights. I’ve only recently learned that I am scared of heights, because I now live in an apartment block where I’m like nearly at the top floor. So I didn’t really realize that I was scared until a few months back, but I’m trying my best to overcome it!
Too Hot to Handle is now streaming on Netflix