Jephte Pierre is one of six strangers and Boston-area singles who got Married at First Sight, which premiered January 2 on Lifetime.

Jephte, a 26-year-old second grade teacher, was shown exchanging vows with Shawniece Jackson, a 29-year-old entrepreneur and cosmetologist, immediately after meeting each other for the first time. The rest of the season will show the couple honeymooning, moving in together, and ultimately deciding whether they'd like to stay together after the show or get a divorce.

Married at First Sight's three couples this season were matched by a panel of experts: Dr. Jessica Griffin, a Boston-based psychologist and professor who previously appeared on FYI's Seven Year Switch reality series; sociologist Dr. Pepper Schwartz; and marriage counselor Pastor Calvin Roberson.

"Although his parents are still together, he doesn't exactly admire their marriage and looks to others for relationship inspiration and advice," Lifetime said of Jephte, adding that he finds laziness to be a turnoff and wanted an outgoing, mature and confident partner.

During an exclusive interview, Jephte talked to Reality TV World about appearing on Married at First Sight. Below is what he had to say.


Reality TV World: Why did you initially decide to apply for Married at First Sight and take the risk of marrying a complete stranger? Was dating in the real world, away from cameras, in the Boston area that much of a struggle?

Jephte Pierre: Dating wasn't much of a struggle for me, but I do work a lot and meeting people was really tough. And being settled and alone wasn't a great feeling. I even thought about getting a dog to help with the loneliness because a dog will love you no matter what.

So I thought this would be a great opportunity to hopefully have the experts find someone who was made just for me! Can you imagine cutting out the leg work and being gifted with a woman who was matched for you?! I had to at least take a shot at it!

Reality TV World: Married at First Sight unfortunately has a low success rate of couples who decide to stay married long-term. Was that a big concern of yours when choosing to participate in the experiment? Did the outcome of previous seasons affect the faith or trust you had in the experts to match you with the right person?

Jephte Pierre: To be 100 percent honest, I never heard of the show before. I'm not really into watching reality TV. I'm a Netflix and turn on The Office kind of guy. So my only concern was that I would be matched with someone who doesn't like me or someone I don't like.

Reality TV World: What were your fears when beginning the process, other than the obvious prospect of getting divorced? Were you worried your partner may just be going on the show for attention or fame?
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Jephte Pierre: You never really know what's in someone's heart. But I didn't concern myself with the thought of that. Marriage is serious and as I find out, it's really hard and can put a big strain on your heart.

I don't think this would be the place to find attention or fame, but even if you find those things with this experiment, I'd hope that the love of your life is headlining that.


Reality TV World: How important was physical appearance to you on the show? Did you believe instant chemistry or physical attraction was necessary for a marriage to work, or did you feel you could definitely grow to view someone as attractive over time?

Jephte Pierre: The million dollar question! Basically asking how deep am I?! Attraction is such a funny thing because it's so subjective. I know we have our universal standards, but in the real world, like when it comes down to a true genuine connection, it's all about that "GUT" feeling.

Obviously it might come down to that physical attraction where you're like "wow she's pretty" and then comes "wow, speaking to her feels effortless."

Then come those days where you're down and nothing but her voice can cheer you up. That can all stem from that initial "wow she's pretty" (to me). And as our bodies start to change, as our looks start to fade, that gut feeling hopefully never goes away.

So yes, I do believe that chemistry or physical attraction can help kick start the marriage. But there is something to be said about how time and sticking together can change you and help that attraction grow.

Reality TV World: Can you elaborate on the reactions of your friends and family when they found out you were doing the show?

Jephte Pierre: My mother hated the idea and my aunt actually stopped talking to me. I'm still in the process of trying to earn her trust and forgiveness back. But to be fair, I did not keep them in the loop at all.

My mom had no idea what I was up to and I just pulled up to her place in NY with cameras and said, "Mommy, I'm getting married in two weeks." My brothers were all cool with it, they just wished me luck.


Reality TV World: How would you respond to critics who might say Married at First Sight participants do not value marriage? Do you take marriage less seriously since you're willing to wed a stranger on TV?

Jephte Pierre: Honestly, I can understand why they might feel like that. Like I said, you never really know what is in someone's heart. But before they go out and judge, I want them to think about how two people are putting their hearts in the hands of strangers.

I wish everyone can experience this. It's so hard to put yourself out there, and if it wasn't hard enough to put yourself out there, imagine having to worry about someone else's heart.

I value marriage, I have dreams of becoming a father and being able to raise amazing human beings one day with my wife. I'm thankful to MAFS for giving me the opportunity to maybe kick start that dream hopefully with the right person.


Reality TV World: Going into the experiment, what did you believe was going to be the hardest part for you -- moving in together, the idea of being intimate with someone you've just met, etc? And what part were you looking forward to the most?

Jephte Pierre: I was nervous but never really feared that stuff, but my biggest fear was that I would be matched with someone I'm not attracted to, because all that stuff listed above was already hard enough. But to do it with someone who might not make your heart race would be really hard.

Reality TV World: Could you elaborate on what you asked the experts to find in a woman for you? What qualities and characteristics were you looking for in your dream spouse?

Jephte Pierre: I'm a simple guy. It was really hard to tell them what I wanted because it's hard to articulate that gut feeling, because it can look like anything.

But when it came to personality, I wanted someone kind and sweet, someone who's funny but can be serious -- because I tend to take some jokes too far.

Someone who is clean and neat because I'm an absolute slob and you can't have two messy people living together. But someone with a great smile and someone who can balance me out.


Reality TV World: As someone with so many siblings, do you want a big family yourself one day?

Jephte Pierre: No. My father has 14 children from three different women. My mother has nine of those kids, all boys. I saw what kind of financial stress having that many children did to my mother.

I know she would never regret having any of us, because her love runs that deep, but I sometimes think about how much we put her through.

Having one son who goes off and does crazy things, like getting married at first sight, is bad enough, imagine having nine wild ones. I'm the oldest at 26, so there's still plenty of room for heart-pounding crazy to happen between the nine of her wild boys.

Reality TV World: Lifetime says you're not interested in a woman with baggage from a past relationship. What exactly do you mean by "baggage," and why is that so important to you?

Jephte Pierre: Everyone has a past, and that's understandable. But I don't want no crazy ex hitting me up cause he's mad I'm married to the "one who got away" from him. I don't want that kind of stress. 


To read more of Reality TV World's exclusive interviews with this season's Married at First Sight cast, click here to view our show page.