Atlantan looking for Fox's 'Mr. Personality'
By STEVE MURRAY The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tonight, Atlantan Hayley Arp, 26, starts a five-week search for the right guy -- though all of her 20 suitors wear masks. That means she has to choose (and eliminate) fellows based on whether she likes them, not on how they look.
Guess that's why the new Fox reality show, hosted by Monica Lewinsky, is called "Mr. Personality." We chatted with the giggly, enthusiastic Arp, a sales associate at a financial service she can't disclose, by phone from Los Angeles:
Q: How did you find out about this, and what made you think, "Gee, I want to spend some time with a bunch of guys wearing masks?"
A: They had an open casting call in Atlanta, but the casting director found me. A friend of mine had given him my phone number, and he started the courting process with me. He called me about eight or nine times. I finally went to dinner with him, but I took a couple of friends with me.
Q: Good move.
A: Well, he was a total stranger! They picked us up in a limo and took us for steak and lobster. And I finally agreed to put something on tape for the producers to see.
Q: Had you thought about being on a reality show before?
A: No, I had just been a huge fan -- I'm the person who watches these shows. For "Joe Millionaire," some friends and I had a party for the finale. We drank wine and ate cheese and had pictures of Evan Marriott posted all over the apartment.
Q: So what did you think about the premise for this show?
A: I was just so intrigued by it. First of all, for any woman to have 20 men courting you, how incredible is that? Here was an opportunity to find 20 decent men who aren't criminals and don't have mental illnesses and are all good guys.
Q: What's your opinion of the dating scene in Atlanta?
A: The dating scene? It's a scene. I work crazy hours, and so for me to actually settle on one special man, he's got to be really special. After going out on the town, I was having the same conversation with different guys. "What do you do, let's talk about work, blah blah blah." I was getting over it. You know: "Can someone please bring something else to the table that makes them unique?"
Q: Now, honestly, could you really not tell if some of those guys looked good under their masks?
A: The only thing you can really see are the eyes and the smile. Every time somebody would be eliminated, they're able to take their masks off, and every single time I was surprised by how they really looked. I was wrong every time -- it was so frustrating.
Q: What was Monica Lewinsky like?
A: The woman is so great and warm and funny and intelligent! She served as host, obviously, but she was so much more than that. There were so many times where we got together and she really helped me with my decision. Not only was she there for me as a friend and confidante, she wasn't allowed to see what the men really looked like, either. So she was completely unbiased. It was great having her around, because you're surrounded by these men all the time, and it was great to have a woman in the next room for girl talk.
Q: So, all in all, you're having a good time?
A: What a trip! Yes I am.
Q: And in the end, did you find somebody you really like?
A: I found Mr. Personality. And that's all I can say.