HBO Max’s “12 Dates of Christmas” is already a holiday hit amongst reality dating show fans. The series features three leads looking for love before New Year’s Eve.
Showrunner Sam Dean first made audiences believe in love at first sight with Netflix’s Love Is Blind. Now, three lucky singles – Faith, Chad, and Garrett – seek someone to bring home for the holidays. What’s better than looking for love in an Austrian winter wonderland?
Real estate agent and 12 Dates lead Garrett Marcantel discusses being cast through Instagram, what the show means to him, and the importance of representing all types of love onscreen.
The Knockturnal: What inspired you to sign on to 12 Dates?
Garrett Marcantel: I felt it could be a unique opportunity to record a journey of me falling in love with a special someone. This way we could always look back at a moment and cherish the insane visuals captured during this time of our life.
The Knockturnal: On Instagram, you’re an experienced traveler and obviously know properties well as a top real estate broker! What was it like to fully relocate to Austria and live in a castle?
Garrett Marcantel: I love the Alps. I have been traveling to this region for the last five years to visit Swiss and German friends that I made from university. Regarding the castle, my real estate mind was trying to assess the property value the entire time. There were so many room that must have been valued well over a few million dollars each. I would assess that this property is worth over $100 million. The details inside this castle do not exist anywhere in the U.S., and the historical significance makes it all the more special.
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The Knockturnal: Were you familiar with Love Is Blind from showrunner Sam Dean ahead of filming 12 Dates?
Garrett Marcantel: I didn’t watch Love Is Blind until I got home from the castle. I had producers tell me that Sam Dean just finished it. I didn’t really have a reference of how successful the show was until the buzz was widely known later in the spring.
The Knockturnal: Are you a fan of reality shows in general? What are some of your favorites?
Garrett Marcantel: I don’t really watch dating reality TV, to be honest. I used to be a Park Ranger so I love reality shows that are based on wilderness adventures like Alone and Survivor.
The Knockturnal: How was bonding with co-leads Faith and Chad on set?
Garrett Marcantel: They are truly great people and we had many funny moments shared that didn’t make it on the show. We all came in not knowing how big of a production this was going to be, or anything really about the structure of the show itself. We also didn’t know we were leads until just before arriving to the castle. We had no idea what was ahead for us, but all agreed to keep an open mind. It wasn’t the easiest dating experience as you can imagine, and knowing I had them both to lean on helped me out tremendously.
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The Knockturnal: The show has been making headlines for its racially and sexually diverse cast. How does it feel to be a part of one of the first reality shows to actually reflect real life?
Garrett Marcantel: It’s perfect and about time. Our cast was full of incredible people, and I’m thankful we could share our journey publicly. Dating and love is an experience that goes beyond race and sexual preference, and I believe everyone deserves to find love. Unfortunately, the media and America was slow to pick up on this fact – but I’m thankful it’s here and hopefully here to stay!
The Knockturnal: What do you hope viewers take away from watching the show?
Garrett Marcantel: Love is love, and always trust your gut to keep you centered. Opportunities come our way that give us a chance to say yes or no. For me, life is about taking and assessing the risks while staying open-minded. You never know, something really incredible could be just beyond a decision that scares you.
The Knockturnal: Obviously you can’t share too much about how the series ends, but are you happy with the result of 12 Dates?
Garrett Marcantel: Yes, putting love aside I’m happy to say that my overall experience captured a special moment of my life just before COVID-19 hit. I left New York and the world was one way; when I returned from the castle, it had all changed. My routine which took years to build quickly dissolved a second. It’s really humbling have this show serve as a reminder to what life was like before and during this bizarre time. Of all the years to be on a reality show, 2020 was it!
“12 Dates of Christmas” is available on HBO Max.