Frankston-born resident Joanne Todd and Somerville resident Melissa Rawson have three things in common. One, they both live on the Mornington Peninsula. Two, they both have blond hair. And three, they’re both beaming into your lounge room via ‘the box’ on a weekly basis. Season 8 of Married At First Sight, airing on Channel 9, sees the two local girls grace the screen – and even with the above similarities, they couldn’t be more different. Joanne is bold, sometimes brassy and full of beans. Melissa is introverted and likes to travel under the radar. Mornington Peninsula Magazine chats to both women about their experiences on the show and what it means to live down south where the salt water soothes the soul.
Chatty and vivacious Joanne, 39, explains: “I’ve always lived in Frankston and love it. I wanted to be a dancer and had spent years doing ballet, jazz and tap dancing, but I had bad back pain so I went into hairdressing straight after school. I then became a barber, which I really enjoy because I think I get along with men better than women. Ha! I was single for three years before going on the show, which I had been following for years. My friend and I had always been obsessed with it. She sent me the link to apply, and I had to put together a 10-second video. I have three sons but haven’t been married before, so I had mixed emotions when walking down the aisle. I was excited and nervous, but when James Susler turned around, he had such a great smile (that) I knew it would be all right. The whole experience was fantastic and I’ve made some lifelong friends. I mean, 24,000 people applied for the show and I got on. My oldest boy told me he was so proud of me. That’s enough.”
Quietly-spoken and reserved Melissa, 31, continues: “I know it sounds unusual, but I haven’t been on a date my whole adult life. I was really struggling with dating websites and apps and am quite introverted so I was having difficulty meeting men. I had to get out of my comfort zone if I was going to do it, so I applied for the show. It was completely overwhelming and I never thought I’d get through the process, but I think Bryce Ruthven, my husband, looked more nervous than I did. I’d never been interested in casual dating and I’m not a girly girl so I found the experience a bit difficult, but I’m glad I pushed myself. The show had the right idea this time round. The whole cast was really genuine, and I made a couple of friends. I grew up in Mount Martha, went to school in Flinders and bought a house in Somerville two years ago. I’ve always lived beachside and love living on the Peninsula. I rock climb in Carrum Downs and love visiting the wineries and breweries.”
Did the ladies find eternal love? You’ll have to find out by tuning in to the show at 7pm on Sundays and 7.30pm Monday through Wednesday. Or maybe bump into one of them down the street. You know you want to.