MAFS’ Lucinda Light (Image: Tina Tiller)
MAFS’ Lucinda Light (Image: Tina Tiller)

Pop CultureMarch 25, 2024

A drink with Lucinda Light, the greatest MAFS participant of all time

MAFS’ Lucinda Light (Image: Tina Tiller)
MAFS’ Lucinda Light (Image: Tina Tiller)

Married at First Sight superfan Tara Ward charges down the aisle to meet this season’s brightest star.

It is a Thursday afternoon, and I am staring deep into Lucinda Light’s eyes. It feels like my own personal version of the eye gazing task on Married At First Sight Australia, but instead of appearing on the top-rating reality TV show, I am at a swanky restaurant in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour. I’ve come to interview Light, arguably the greatest participant the MAFS experiment has ever seen, and I’ve never been more thrilled to gaze so intently into a stranger’s eyeballs.

Moments earlier, Light greeted me with a huge smile, her arms outstretched to pull me in for the embrace of a lifetime. It was as if she’d known me for years. In fact, I don’t get such a warm welcome from people who have known me for years, but that’s an issue I’ll have to unpack with the experts on the couch another time. My new best friend was light personified, sparkling in a sequined top and matching short skirt, her blonde hair sleek and straight. She was more glam than I expected, her energy huge, her vibe magnificent. 

Had we been standing at the altar, I would have said “I do” immediately.

Lucinda on her wedding day with husband Timothy, aka the Tin Man (Screengrab)

It was the end of a long day of media interviews for Light, but she seemed as upbeat as she does at the end of a 16-hour-long MAFS dinner party. This was a whistlestop visit to Aotearoa, her first since she visited years ago and toured her way from Takaka to Coromandel. “I’m a bit of a beach baby,” she laughed, and instantly I remembered Light dancing on the golden sands of Byron Bay in an early episode, having just told expert John Aiken she needed a husband with a “high functioning erection”. “I couldn’t do it with a floppy jaloppy,” she laughed.

It’s just as well the low functioning men of Takaka and Coromandel didn’t marry Light all those years ago, because now here we were, two kindred spirits – Light with her flute of champagne and me with my complimentary glass of water – about to dive deep into the deceptive tidal rip that is Married at First Sight Australia. 

When Light first burst onto our screens, she seemed like just another eccentric reality show contestant. “I’m a servant and steward to love and light and I’m here to nurture and dazzle,” she declared as she hugged a tree. She arrived with a long list of requirements (her “MANifesto”), hopeful that her new partner would “laugh at the cosmic joke that is life”. Light had such an authenticity and optimism to her that I worried she’d quickly be chewed up and spat out by the reality TV machine.  

But after the first episode, it became clear that Light was no ordinary MAFS bride. From the mud-slinging dinner parties to the highly charged commitment ceremonies, the passionate MC and wedding celebrant showed levels of emotional intelligence and self awareness normally only reserved for the experts on the couch. She was empathetic and generous, a skilled communicator who radiated compassion and grace, even towards the more unpleasant participants in the experiment, yet was never afraid to advocate for her own needs

She was also hilarious. When Light wasn’t encouraging her new husband Timothy to break down his emotional walls, she larked about their apartment wearing a weird animal mask and laying golden eggs. When Aiken asked what scares her about relationships, Light spoke her truth. “The shitter,” she replied. “We’ve got to share a toilet, and that is not sexy to me.”

Lucinda: loves a list (Screengrab)

Strangely, Light doesn’t bring up the shitter during our intimate heart-to-heart, but she does reveal that she signed up for MAFS having never watched a single episode. She tells me she hasn’t owned a television for 20 years, and it was only after a casting ad popped up on her social media feed that she made the spontaneous decision to apply to marry a stranger. “I needed something that would blast me into the stratosphere and really put myself out there,” she says brightly, sipping on her glass of bubbles. “And of course, I wanted the husband.”

Enter Timothy, a 51-year-old businessman and self-professed “Tin Man” grieving the recent death of his father. Despite their many differences, Light truly lights up when she talks about “Timbo”, describing their wedding day as a fairytale. “I felt deeply embodied and surrounded and excited,“ she remembers. “Then I saw Tim at the end of the aisle and I thought, ‘hubba hubba, look at this hunk of spunk. Jesus, they nailed this one’.” 

Light continues to stare deep into my eyes while she talks about Timothy. In fact, she rarely breaks eye contact through the entire interview. She doesn’t notice the restaurant staff who hover at the door, whispering breathlessly about her, or the fact that we’re sitting on plush pink chairs placed extremely close together. Light tells me she’s an “ambivert” who’s getting energy off me right now. This worries me. By this point I am a sweaty potato who can’t string two sentences together, and nobody needs to soak up that sort of vibe.

Timothy the Tin Man struggled when he first met Lucinda, too. “I think there was a lot of resistance from him about who I was,” Light remembers. “You see him early in the season going, ‘well, if she’s a meditator, we’re going to have some problems’. Nek minute, I’m meditating in an āsana pose.” Week after week, Light proved she had superhuman levels of patience, and she reckons Timothy was worth her perseverance. “It’s been an amazing journey of unraveling and understanding each other and actually accepting each other for who we are.”

As Lucinda would say: stunning (Screengrab)

Much like John Aiken during a tense commitment ceremony, I ask Light a series of probing questions, mostly about the inner workings of our favourite reality show. These range from the hard-hitting – “what advice would you give to someone who wants to marry a stranger?” (“stand your sacred ground”) – to the illuminating – “what did you eat at the dinner parties?” (“potatoes, meat, the same old crap”). What about the idea that MAFS is reality TV trash? “I totally agree,” she says, “but it can be many things simultaneously. It’s trash, it’s an education, it’s funny. They’ve got their formula, but the rest is choose your own adventure.”

Light also reveals that she lives with three other women in a “beautiful mermaid home on the beach”, and that her wardrobe was made by an Australian designer who encoded her clothes with a “quintessence of beauty and feminine essence”. “Those clothes really bought out my higher self,” Light muses, nodding thoughtfully. I nod thoughtfully too, even though I don’t know what any of that means. I do know that alongside her upcoming book deal and exciting TV projects, I would also like to hear Light’s voice on a sleep app, her serene voice soothing me back to a gentle slumber after I wake every morning at three o’clock in a dark cloud of perimenopausal rage and fury. 

Much like the current delicious season of MAFS, our time together passes too quickly. Light and I must both leave this social experiment forever, me returning to the wild potato kingdom of downtown Auckland and Light heading off somewhere suitably fabulous, probably to float on a cloud or something. In person, Light is just as extraordinary as MAFS fans would expect: funny, engaged, a genuine delight. She gives me two more hugs before we leave. We are definitely best friends now. It was absolutely, definitely, love at first sight.  

Married at First Sight Australia screens Sunday-Wednesday nights on Three and streams on ThreeNow.

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