This Thanksgiving, HBO Max kicks off the holiday season with the reality dating series “12 Dates of Christmas.” Star Faith Fernandez opens up about her onscreen journey to find love and the (relatable!) modern struggles of meeting men.
From Love Is Blind executive producer Sam Dean, 12 Dates of Christmas follows three leads Faith Fernandez, Garrett Marcantel, and Chad Savage as they search for their own fairytale endings. Between horse-drawn carriages, masquerade balls, and living in an Austrian castle, 12 Dates makes it easy for anyone to meet with Prince or Princess Charming.
Former Seattle Seahawks cheerleader Fernandez opens up to The Knockturnal about her past reservations of finding love, bonding with Marcantel and Savage on set, and what’s ahead for 2021.
The Knockturnal: Congrats on 12 Dates of Christmas premiering today! What was the casting process like for the show?
Faith Fernandez: The casting process wasn’t anything too strenuous. Over the span of a few months I had multiple Skype interviews with different producers. After that, I had one official in-person interview and then I was off to Austria shortly after!
The Knockturnal: Living in Austria seems amazing! How was relocating to the castle, and what did you expect going into filming?
Faith Fernandez: Austria was absolutely beautiful! The view from my window looked like something off of a desktop. I’ve had the opportunity of traveling all over the world during my time with the Seahawks but never Austria, so it was exciting to visit somewhere new.
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I personally had zero expectations going into 12 Dates. I’m not someone who takes a liking to men easily, so I was very skeptical that I’d find a suitor that I’d genuinely connect with. However, I went in with an open mind and an open heart, and tried to be as vulnerable as possible.
The Knockturnal: Showrunner Sam Dean was also an executive producer for Netflix’s Love Is Blind. Are you a fan of reality dating shows?
Faith Fernandez: I haven’t watched too many reality dating shows. The only one I’ve watched consecutively over the years is The Bachelor. I didn’t get a chance to watch Love Is Blind prior to filming, but I really wish I would have! I feel like that would have given me a better idea of what I was getting myself into.
The Knockturnal: What was it like getting to know fellow leads Garrett and Chad?
Faith Fernandez: Chad and Garrett were so supportive and encouraging throughout the entire experience. It was comforting to have two other people in the same position as myself, trying to navigate this journey together. We were able to lean on each other and bounce our feelings and emotions off one another daily.
The Knockturnal: What can you share about your journey on 12 Dates? Are you happy with how the show ended?
Faith Fernandez: My journey on 12 Dates was quite the whirlwind! It was an unforgettable journey and I’m so appreciative to have been given this opportunity. I was a very confident woman going into this experience, but I feel like I’ve grown tremendously since then. It taught me a lot about myself in such a short period of time. Ultimately, I am very happy with the result.
The Knockturnal: What do you hope viewers take away from watching 12 Dates?
Faith Fernandez: First of all, I hope viewers are able to use this show as an escape. 2020 has been an unpredictable and trying year for everyone, so I hope this show gives them a sense of peace, hope, and love during the holidays.
Secondly, I hope viewers are able to relate to not just mine but Chad and Garrett’s love journeys. Dating, especially in today’s society, is not for the faint of heart and I hope that people—singles in particular—are able to connect with us and find hope that love does exist if you’re willing to put yourself out there.
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The Knockturnal: Post-show, you’re also launching brand There She Is! What can you tease about the line?
Faith Fernandez: I am so excited to share There She Is with everyone! My goal was to put pieces together that are simple enough so that they can be mixed and matched, but fire enough that people will say ‘there she is!’ when they see her coming! I also have a collection of unisex tees that I can’t wait for everyone to rock.
The Knockturnal: How do you plan on spending your holiday season this year?
Faith Fernandez: Unfortunately these are unprecedented times that we’re in right now. I’d obviously love to go home to Seattle and spend the holidays with my family, but I also want to make sure I’m being safe in doing so. Hopefully I’ll be able to, because I miss them so much! And who knows, maybe I’ll bring a date this year…
“12 Dates of Christmas” premieres on November 26 on HBO Max.