MTV’s Are You The One? is in it’s fourth season and things are already heating up, specifically for Sam Handler, who instantly clicked with cast member Alyssa Ortiz. The couple has been a fan favorite since the show started earlier this summer, and it’s no surprise — they’re adorable. But how long can the honeymoon period last in reality TV land? Sam Handler, the 22-year-old former UCLA football player and self-proclaimed “third grade girl,” gave us the answers you’re looking for.
I chatted with Sam about his newfound love, being real and Nicholas Sparks movies.
You’re one of the contestants on MTV’s Are You The One?. What made you want to be on the show and what was the entry process like?
Actually one of the casting directors commented on one of my Instagram pictures, “Hey! Do you want to be on the show?” and I was like “Why not? I’m not doing anything in March and April.” We did countless tests, anything from “Are you a family man?” to “Would you go down on a girl?” Like there was a 600 question test, which was like 200 questions of true or false, we did a personality test, there was a sexuality type test, like what position do you like the best. Literally you name it; we did it. Then we filmed in March and April for ten weeks in Maui. Each week was an episode to figure out who our match was, and each week works in a little formula. Then the drama happens because of all the alcohol, love, and money.
Had you heard about the show before going on it?
Honestly, I’d seen it on Instagram, but I had never watched it. Then in the casting process, I had an interview with the people, and I hadn’t even watched the show so I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. All I knew was that I’d be on MTV and I’d get publicity and then make all my ex-girlfriends jealous. [Laughs] So I did the whole recruiting process and ended up getting on the show and the rest is history.
That’s one of the best revenges you could get on an ex. So, how did you feel when things first started?
Honestly, it was good for because I’d done the whole four-year university thing. I was on the football team [at UCLA], so for me, it was kind of like being on a football team again. There was a lot of people with different backgrounds, different families, and different stories. Then on this show you had the prospective of love and money — it’s not just a sport. So that made it interesting, but it was fun just hearing people’s stories and why they did it. Instantly I was attracted to one girl, and she happened to be from just one or two towns over from me. It was kind of funny and we immediately connected. So I’m all about personality girls. Guys always ask me “are you a boobs or butt guy,” and I always say “I’m a personality guy.” If your personality clicks with mine, in my mind you’re absolutely beautiful. I know cue the cheesy music. I was just instantly attracted to this girl, she’s beautiful inside and out.
This has to be Alyssa you’re talking about, right?
Yes it is. We just instantly hit it off. We were kind of like, I’m not going to say “the normal ones,” but we were kind of the ones that didn’t want to get involved in any drama. We kind of avoided all of the drama that would happen within the entire house and would always hang by the pool and do our own thing. We fell in love with each other.
Do you still?
OMG! That’s amazing. So obviously that would be your favorite experience from the show.
I think definitely falling in love with someone, and just meeting 19 people I can honestly call my best friends and I text either everyday or every week. We’re not all friends, but I personally still talk to people. There was a group chat and it’s now down to like eight people — people started getting mad about others and just left. But I’m proud to say I’m still in that group chat. I still reach out to them once a week to catch up and see how they’re doing. That’s kind of who I am though.
How have people responded to you being on the show?
My parents surprisingly loved it; they’re really proud of me and they love watching it. Monday nights are so cool because I get texts from everyone back home saying how fun it is to watch it on TV. It’s kind of fun, like [I get texts from] people that I never talked to in high school, my best friends from high school, and just everyone from back home, because I come from a really small town, so everyone back home watches it and loves it. My Instagram has also been blowing up since the show aired.
At the end of the day, I really was 100 percent myself. I didn’t fake anything, nothing was forced, nothing was scripted, nothing was fake. It’s nice to know that people just appreciate how down-to-earth and genuine I am, not to sound cocky. You know, people look and me and go, “oh this guy is some cocky surfer, ex-football player,” but that’s like the furthest from the truth.
Now I’m trying to go the acting and modeling route. So far its gone pretty well, and I’d like to keep pushing forward with it. I’m very realistic and I know that people try to get on reality shows to become famous blah, blah, blah, but I actually had a career-ending injury at UCLA, so I had to retire a year early. So I was like ok I’m in LA, I love movies, I love acting, and I took some acting classes at UCLA, and I genuinely want to be a part of the film industry. It’s not to become famous and it’s not to get a lot of Instagram followers. It’s because I genuinely enjoy watching movies and being a part of making a movies. So for me, my goal here on out is already getting involved. I have agencies sending me out to a lot of auditions and castings. I’m doing a lot of short films, student films, and indie films. So I’m just trying to cross my way into Hollywood but for the right reasons. I could honestly die a happy man if I was a lead in a Nicholas Sparks movie. That’s my goal, to get into some like Rom-com stuff.