When we first heard about the show “Married at First Sight,” we thought it was a joke. Just the title made it seem like it was too crazy to be true. How could you marry someone at the same time you’re meeting them?
But, when we found out that indeed there was a TV show that would follow three couples from their wedding day, when they would meet for the first time, through their honeymoon, moving in together, and during the first six weeks of their marriage, we were more than intrigued. We were hooked.
FYI, the network behind the show, dubbed it “a social experiment,” since a team of experts worked painstakingly to whittle down thousands of candidates into three couples based on a series of tests that covered everything from personality, to relationship deal breakers, to sexual preferences.
Jamie Otis, from New York City, was one of the lucky six that got a call from the network saying they’d found her “perfect match.” All she had to do to meet him, was marry him. She was game.
Besides the fact that she has kahonas, we took to Jamie because of her story: After her mother began battling drugs, Otis legally adopted her siblings when she herself was still a teenager. Which didn’t stop her from putting herself through college, landing a job at a top New York hospital, doing a stint on the Bachelor, and refusing to settle for any man that truly wasn’t her perfect match.
Here, we talk to Otis about her new marriage, her plans for the future, her advice for overcoming obstacles, and more.
WE JUST SAW THE SEASON FINALE OF MARRIED AT FIRST SIGHT. HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE SHOW, AND WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO TAKE PART IN IT?
I had received a call and they asked if I was single … The [producers] said they were working on a “love experiment” and I found it intriguing. (Later found out it was an arranged marriage!)
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST REACTION WHEN YOU’D FOUND OUT THE SHOW HAD FOUND A “MATCH” FOR YOU?
I remember the producer said “Do your happy dance–you’ve got a match!” I was at work and on break in an empty labor room … I just stood there staring speechless. I never really thought they’d find my “perfect match.”
WHAT WAS YOUR WEDDING DAY LIKE?
I wanted butterflies and a fairy tale! I wanted love at first sight. I set my expectations so high. Which, of course, is silly since I was marrying a complete stranger. I didn’t realize how uncomfortable I’d feel walking down the aisle to say “I Do”‘ to someone I knew nothing about. Unfortunately, that discomfort was with me all the way through the reception.
INITIALLY, YOU WEREN’T THAT INTO DOUG, THE MAN YOU WERE MATCHED UP WITH. WHAT CHANGED?
It was a lot to take in initially. It wasn’t love at first sight and I felt completely uncomfortable with the whole situation. However, all it took was 10 minutes alone to see that he’s genuine, sincere, and funny! He showed me a scrapbook he had made me (which was really a brag book)! 😉 He told me he had performed CPR and saved a life. He is a hall of fame athlete at his high school and was recruited to Pace University, a D1 baseball college. As a matter of fact, he was almost in Major League Baseball. He definitely put the sincere charm on when the cameras were gone and that was what made him so likable! If only we had that 10 min before we said “I do” for a conversation I may not have reacted in such a horrific way!
AT THE END OF THE SHOW, YOU AN DOUG HAD THE OPTION TO STAY MARRIED OR GET DIVORCED, AND YOU CHOSE TO STAY MARRIED. HOW ARE THINGS GOING WITH DOUG NOW?
Doug is so amazing! He is just the most loving and patient man. He has seen all of my flaws and never once made me feel like less of a person because of them. I am so incredibly fortunate to have him as my husband!
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON THE TWO OF YOU HAVE LEARNED AS A MARRIED COUPLE?
I think the most important lesson is that open and honest communication is key. Neither of us hid how we felt. But we also tried to be approachable and understanding to each others’ feelings. We began to respect each other first. Then friendship came. And now we are in love!
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? FAMILY? SUBURBIA?
I’ve always wanted to have a family! I just wasn’t willing to settle in order to have it. Now that i have found the man who I want to be my children’s father I definitely want to move out of New York. We are currently looking for homes in New Jersey, closer to his family and his job.
YOU HAD A ROUGH CHILDHOOD, SOMETHING THAT PLAYED A ROLE ON THE SHOW. WE’RE SO INSPIRED BY HOW YOU MANAGED TO RISE ABOVE THAT, GO TO COLLEGE, AND CREATE A GREAT CAREER FOR YOURSELF. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE?
Looking back at my late teens/early 20s I’m in awe of that young woman. I feel she was far more motivated than I am today. I saw the cycle of poverty and I just wanted something better for myself and my siblings. I didn’t want to have to worry about where the electricity, food and rent money would come from month to month. I was so embarrassed using food stamps in the grocery store. I desperately wanted to be respected and have a positive impact on others. I was tired of feeling insufficient. I was determined to become “someone.”
WHAT DREW YOU TO A CAREER AS A LABOR & DELIVERY NURSE?
I actually never chose to become a RN. I had been studying “general studies” in college full time, working as a waitress part time and Cheerleading. My mom was evicted from her trailer and asked me if my three younger siblings could get off the bus at my home bc they boarded the trailer up so they couldn’t get back in it. Of course I said my siblings could come over – and then my mom just kind of didnt come back for a while. I realized very quickly that if I wanted to be able to feed myself and my siblings I was going to need more than a minimum wage job – and quickly. I went to the career counselor at college and told her I needed to get a good job as fast as possible. She said “you can try for the nursing program, but there’s a wait.” I wrote the best essay I’ve ever written and I got myself right into that nursing program. Since then I’ve grown to absolutely love my job!
WHAT’S THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR JOB?
The best part about my job is definitely the babies. To know that each night I go to work I’m going to be assisting women and families in one of the most joyous part of their lives is so rewarding. Also, It feels so good to know I’m efficient in some pretty cool clinical skills that actually save lives. Nothing more incredible than getting off a shift knowing you saved a life!
WHAT’S YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR OTHER WOMEN WHO MAY BE STRUGGLING TO OVERCOME SOMETHING — WHETHER IT’S A ROUGH PAST, A BAD RELATIONSHIP, AN UNFULFILLING CAREER, ETC.?
I am a firm believer in opening your mind to all possibilities! You’re given one chance at life and with hard work and determination you can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do. If you don’t believe in yourself no one else will believe in you. If someone or something is having a negative impact on your well being – Get rid of it! Love yourself just as you are and others will love you too.