Lily McManus gained fame on The Bachelor NZ in 2017. She appears in the new season of Celebrity Treasure Island.
You have been on a couple of lusty reality dating shows.
Lust definitely comes into play on a dating show because obviously you are attracted to a man but I have never really allowed the sexual side of it to be televised. I have never chosen to go into the Fantasy Suite, because I do believe that your sexual life is private and you have choices. Speaking of choices, there is a big stigma against women feeling lust and having sexual urges and attraction. There is a fear of being labelled, especially for young women. I try not to feel any sense of guilt and I try to encourage other women not to feel any guilt about doing whatever they want to do.
That sexist double-standard that you have identified, what do you say to other women about it?
When women say to me, "I feel guilty," I say, "Why? Was it safe, was it consensual, were you smart about it? Why do you feel guilty?" And they say, "I'm not really sure." There are these words thrown around, like "slut", that are aimed at women for their sexual experiences, which is bulls***. It's not something young women should grow up with.
We get to see a lot of your butt on your Instagram - is that you taking ownership of how you are viewed?
Yeah, there's a lot of everything. I don't hold back. Women have arses, women have fingers, women have chins - we have body parts. If we can try not to sexualise that, that would be great. I think bodies are bodies and it's not a big deal for me.
Why did you go on a dating show more than once?
I had really low expectations of what [The Bachelor NZ] was before I was on it. My mum entered me on the show and I was like, "Why not?" I want to give everything a go at least once in life. When I met Zac [Franich] and I saw how genuine and real everything was, I did a massive 180 in how I felt about the show and when I was asked to do it again [on The Bachelor Winter Games], I knew I had been impressed once, and why couldn't I be impressed again? Every time I do one of these shows I learn so much about myself and my relationships and what I want in a relationship and it's all experiences I am happy to be a part of it.
Do you find it hard that total strangers have opinions on your relationships and break-ups?
I never considered myself someone who wanted to be on TV, it just kind of happened. At the beginning I was very closed up, I am a very private person. I don't like people talking about my s***. I have become really good at finding the balance: what is the right thing to share and what is the wrong thing to share and I am doing it for the right reasons? I grew up being absolutely embarrassed and terrified about my hearing loss. It's a lonely disability. Being able to share that on TV and social media is so beneficial for other people. I didn't know of any young people with hearing loss when I was growing up.
Celebrity Treasure Island is reality show #3 for you. Do you want a career in television?
I am only 22; I do tend to beat myself up for not knowing exactly what I want to do. I am writing a book at the moment, I have written a 10-episode series with a production partner in LA and I want to take small groups of women around the world, to show them a different way to travel. I am dabbling in life and I just want to do what makes me happy. TV definitely makes me happy but I know it's not a consistent industry, so I am just doing all the things right now, trying to get as much on my plate as I can, 'cause I am just hungry for it.
What makes you angry?
I am travelling at the moment. Sometimes when I am really hungry and I have a plan and the people I am with don't want to get food, I think I want to kill someone. There's a hot temper there when the blood sugar levels are low. If I am hungry and it's that time of the month, I will destroy anything with a heartbeat. But I'm, like, aware of it, so it's good. I'll tell people, "Man, if we don't get some food in 30 seconds, I will cut your throat. Just letting you know." - Eleanor Black
Celebrity Treasure Island starts August 18 on TVNZ 2