Exclusive: Cina Luks dishes on her 'Love in the Wild' experience
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/26/2012
Love in the Wild contestant Cina Luks was eliminated after her partner Jason Ewell chose to keep the other female contestant in his trio, Vanessa Ramirez, instead of continuing to pursue the relationship they had developed following a twist in which the six remaining guys were able to select one of the six new "surprise women" -- who joined the show also to compete in the hopes of finding love.
On Thursday, Cina, a 22-year-old from San Lorenzo, CA, talked to Reality TV World about her short-lived Love in the Wild experience -- including when she first realized the spark was missing with Jason, what the one major difference was between them that ultimately caused them to part ways, whom she was interested in getting to know better had she been given the chance, whether she believed Jason and Vanessa could last together in the real world, and why she wanted to compete on the show to begin with.
To read Jenny Blatt's interview with Reality TV World, click here. To read what Tara Locke had to tell us in her own interview, click here.
Reality TV World: You didn't seem surprised at all when Jason chose to stay with Vanessa instead of you and you mentioned that was because you both realized there wasn't much of a connection. Could you elaborate on that a little bit? At what point did you realize there wasn't much chemistry between you two?
Cina Luks: You know, I actually realized that there wasn't any connection between Jason and I during the first elimination, because I chose Jason over ["Chase" Aaron Chase], and for some reason after I chose Jason, I wasn't even all that super excited with Jason.
It was the mystery that made me choose him, but after I chose him, I realized there wasn't really anything fun or intriguing about him for me to find out. And so, it was around then. I was like, "Okay, maybe I'll just give him a chance." But I wasn't super, super excited. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: So do you think there was any specific reason as to why you and Jason just didn't click? Did you have different personalities? Did you want different things out of life or in a relationship?
Cina Luks: Yeah. I do think there were some main things that Jason and I didn't click on. I think he was -- he took it very seriously. He wasn't really there to have fun. He was just there to find the love of his life and he took the whole thing just kind of really serious, whereas for me, I just wanted to have fun.
If I meet someone, a boy or a boyfriend or something like that, then it goes from there. But I was there more to just experience, meet new people, have fun, and he was there to literally like, "If you're the one or not, then you're out." For me, I was just kind of enjoying the moment.
Reality TV World: Was it obvious to you that Jason and Vanessa were getting along well and forming a connection, or did it come as a surprise to you when they both revealed they had developed feelings for each other? It almost seemed like Jason found moments to talk to Vanessa only when you weren't really around to observe it.
Cina Luks: Right. I think Jason made it pretty obvious. I think it was really easy for me to see that Jason was more into Vanessa just because I can kind of tell the way he interacted with Vanessa versus me. With me, I would joke around with him. It was kind of like buddy-buddy.
We would talk as we were friends versus when him and Vanessa spoke, they kind of had that little like -- you could kind of just tell that they had a connection -- whereas Jason and I sounded more like friends and buddy-buddy.
Reality TV World: Did Jason ever tell you how he was feeling prior to the Couples Choice Ceremony? Was there ever a time you two sat down and talked about how the spark was missing or anything like that?
Cina Luks: No, and actually, I tried initiating it! I tried to figure out, "He should straight up tell me." I wanted to know from him whether or not he was going to choose Vanessa or me. I was like, "Okay, I'm pretty sure he's going to choose Vanessa," but I wanted him to tell me straight up so I don't waste my time and I can go meet with someone.
But he kind of kept me hanging, because I would approach him like, "Hey, are you going to pick Vanessa? Let me know now. I don't really care who you choose. I'm pretty sure you're going to choose Vanessa." And he would tell me that -- he would just be like, "I don't know. I'm not sure. I don't know."
And that didn't really help me, because I needed to know. I'm not going to just stay around thinking he's going to choose me when I could go and meet some other guys and get to know a lot of the other guys better.
Reality TV World: So do you think in a way then Jason was kind of leading you on in the way he wasn't exactly honest with you or upfront about how he was feeling?
Cina Luks: Yeah, I think he's just really secretive. I think he was leading both Vanessa and I on, because he was pretty much telling Vanessa he doesn't know and I don't know.
But clearly, in my eyes, it was obvious he was going to choose Vanessa, but he should've just straight up told me instead of just kept saying, "I don't know," because I don't want to waste my time. That's just the point. I don't like wasting my time and I was kind of getting frustrated that he wouldn't just straight up tell me that he's obviously going to choose Vanessa.
Reality TV World: Going into the Couples Choice Ceremony, what was going through your mind? If you were aware you and Jason weren't forming a connection, what did you envision happening? Were you confident another guy would most likely end up picking you in the "unmatched area?"
Cina Luks: Well the problem is, I went into the elimination ceremony knowing I'd probably because I actually didn't get to talk to or know the other guys, because I don't know. Jason, during the second episode, he told me, he's all like, "Ugh..." I asked him, I was like, "So are we going to stay together or are we going to switch partners?" Because I don't like wasting my time.
And he was like, "We're going to do this until the end!" or "We're partners until the end!" And then, you know, the ["surprise"] girls came in, and that kind of switched things around a lot. But he didn't tell -- that was literally the last conversation we had about staying together or not, with him saying, "We're going to go to the end like this, as partners."
And then the new girls came in, so I could see how that changed, but he should've told me like, "Oh, now that the new girls came in, I'm going to choose Vanessa." Because I just think I wasted my time thinking about how maybe there's that 25% percent [chance] that I could still be in the game.
Reality TV World: If you could go back and try to get to know another guy instead of investing your time in Jason, who do you think you would've been attracted to or got along with? Who would you have liked to go on the next adventure with?
Cina Luks: I probably would have (laughs) -- I probably would have stayed with [Tim Parrish] and switched him out for Jason. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Okay, fair enough! Any reason why?
Cina Luks: Just because I felt like Tim was probably more fun. We'd probably be more of a fun partnership than Jason, because he wasn't really out there -- I probably spoke more to Tim than Jason, and I didn't really speak a lot to Tim, so that's intense. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Would you be mad if Tim rubbed cake in your hair though? (Laughs)
Cina Luks: Honestly, I probably wouldn't. I'd probably push him in the pool and laugh it off.
Reality TV World: What's your relationship with Jason like now? Are you friends, are there any hard feelings between you guys?
Cina Luks: I mean, I don't have any hard feelings at all. It may be a little awkward just because, you know, he probably feels bad for kicking me off and I don't know. I honestly don't really care for Jason. (Laughs) But we talked.
We talked a few times just to make amends. He apologized for cutting my time on the journey short, and I accepted his apology and was like, "No problem. What happens, happens. You're there for love and hopefully you found a connection with Vanessa because there wasn't one with me and you." (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Do you think Jason had a real connection with Vanessa or do you think it was more just a strong physical attraction?
Cina Luks: With Vanessa, I think, to be completely honest, I think Vanessa reminds him of his ex that he dated. Because he told me he had dated older women, because Vanessa's 30. I'm 22. Jason's 25.
And I remember we talked about our pasts and he said he dated older women, and then Vanessa comes in and I'm like, "Oh well, that totally seems like someone he probably used to date or is his type" -- more his type than I was.
Reality TV World: I'm sure you got to know Vanessa at least a little bit while you were on the show, so at that time, did you think she and Jason could possibly form a solid relationship or did you think it'd be pretty hopeless for them to find lasting romance?
Cina Luks: (Laughs) I think they really got along, but I don't think it was strong enough that they would probably be able to stay together today. I mean, who knows, depends. But I don't think so.
Reality TV World: You cut Chase in the premiere episode and you said that Jason had a little bit of "mystery" that attracted you to him in the first place. But what else went into your decision to eliminate Chase? What exactly was missing in that relationship for you and do you regret letting him go looking back, especially since now you know things didn't work out between you and Jason?
Cina Luks: I don't really regret choosing Jason, because who knows. If I chose Chase, something else could've happened. But I mean, I'm glad Chase stayed and got picked up by Ali Leitza, but it's just really hard to -- that's a really hard question, because I don't know.
Chase, the reason why I didn't really choose Chase, was because, I don't know! I don't know why I didn't choose Chase! I literally -- it was really a 50/50 for me. Jason was the mystery one and Chase was the sweetheart that I can just -- I felt like I could just predict versus the mystery.
And you know, I always go for the bad boy-type, which is not always the best option! And so I went with Jason on that one, but before the ceremony, I literally flipped a coin for them and it landed on Jason. So I was like, "I'll just choose Jason." I could not decide. It was 50/50 even.
Reality TV World: What did you think of Jesse Wilson while you were on the show? Tara Locke seemed to think he was a real jerk. Did you have time to get to know him at all or spend enough time with him to at least form an opinion about him?
Cina Luks: Yeah, (laughs) I thought Jesse was very -- what's the word for it? Jesse's very blunt, you know? It has its pros and cons. I mean, I got along with Jesse and we still talk and he's a cool guy, but I think he's just very blunt and sometimes his words can come off a little harsh. He does not mind throwing out his opinion and how he feels, even if it hurts somebody's feelings.
Reality TV World: It kind of seemed like Jesse had his "intimate relations" with Tara and then kind of lost interest in her afterwards. Do you think Jesse was, for lack of a better term, a player or maybe on the show to hookup with girls rather than find a serious girlfriend?
Cina Luks: I think Jesse was just trying to stay in the game. From get-go, we all knew that -- I think everyone knew that Jesse wanted to be with Ali. But I think Tara had that glimmer of hope, you know, "Maybe Jesse will change his mind" -- getting to know Tara, seeing that she's actually down to earth.
Tara was just trying to see if she could change Jesse's mind, because everybody knew that Jesse was trying to be with Ali. He made it pretty clear to everyone.
Reality TV World: So do you think because Jesse had made it so clear that he wanted Ali, it played a role in why Summer dumped him at the very first Couples Choice Ceremony or do you think she let him go because of another reason?
Cina Luks: I think Summer just was first handedly attracted to Tim and wanted to be with Tim because that was more her type. That's exactly what she told me! (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Speaking of Summer, she hasn't kept the same guy for more than one adventure, whether it was the men's choice or her own, since the beginning of the season. What are your thoughts on that? Do you find it strange and/or impressive she keeps switching partners without forming real connections but still has managed to stay in the competition?
Cina Luks: I find that super impressive and I kind of wish I took her route. (Laughs) I really wish I took her route, actually, because it sounds way more fun. I wanted to get to know every single one of those guys, but it's kind of hard given the dynamics of the whole plot. But I mean, I give props to Summer because I wish I was able to switch partners so quickly and easily and still stay in the game.
Reality TV World: The show has portrayed "Ken" Kenneth Barrington and Yanina Beccaria as having a very strong connection. Do you agree with that, and was it as obvious while you were as it has come across in the show's editing?
Cina Luks: I think it's very obvious. I think, you know, they kind of made it pretty clear. You could kind of tell with the new girl coming in that Ken was not even interested at all, whatsoever, didn't even really give her a chance for him to get to know the new girl. He just literally asked her out and was all about Yanina.
Reality TV World: Do you have any regrets from being on the show or do you wish you had done or said anything differently?
Cina Luks: Yeah, looking back on the show, I think I should've switched up partners a lot more instead of just -- you know, put myself out there more and just take a chance. I think I maybe tried to play it too safe and didn't want to get eliminated or whatever, but I think I played it too safe. I would've definitely taken more chances to get to know some of the other guys.
Reality TV World: Are you dating now or still single? And do you think being onLove in the Wild will help or hurt your dating life?
Cina Luks: I think being onLove in the Wild will help my dating life just because I learned so much from it and it's such a fun experience. If anything, it just shows how adventurous I am, and also, I am single. But you know, I'm dating, dating around. (Laughs) I'm pretty picky, so we'll see if I find "the one" soon!
To read Jenny Blatt's interview with Reality TV World, click here. To read what Tara Locke had to tell us in her own interview, click here.
(Photo credit NBC)
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