We chatted with Ethan and Sophie, 'Too Hot to Handle' season 4 stars, about blow-ups, heartbreaks and early departures
Ethan and Sophie, 'Too Hot to Handle' season 4 castmates, give behind-the-scenes scoop on the wild Netflix dating show
The Netflix dating show is never short of drama and Too Hot to Handle season 4 is no different, as some of this season's love triangles lead to some iconic breakup scenes.
Yes, we are referring to Sophie Stonehouse calling out fellow Too Hot to Handle season 4 cast member Creed McKinnon for breaking things off with her to pursue a connection with Flavia Laos Urbina. We’re also touching on Brittan Byrd jumping back into bed with James Pendergrass after she had jumped ship to explore things with wild card Ethan Smith.
While both moments were obviously emotional for the competitors, we couldn’t help but think there was more to those iconic love-triangle dumpings that saw both Ethan and Sophie leave early. So we went straight to the sources and spoke directly to Sophie Stonehouse and Ethan Smith about their time on Too Hot to Handle and season 4 as a whole.
*Warning: spoilers ahead!*
Our Q&A with Ethan and Sophie from 'Too Hot to Handle':
Q: So, Wild Love, wasn’t that a wild show?
Sophie Stonehouse: I think a lot of members of the public speculate that we know what we're going into, and I think that's really why Netflix made such an effort this season to kind of trick us into thinking it wasn't. And I can honestly say that I had no idea. I was kind of disappointed when I found out what show it was. I thought the premise of the fake show was great. So if they're looking to do another show, they should probably look at budgeting for it because I think the premise of it was quite cool!
Fill us in on some behind-the-scenes production scoop: did you have chefs, phones on set, contact with home?
S: No phones at all from the moment we land in Turks [and Caicos] to the moment we leave. In terms of food, I believe that there was a chef on-site, and the food was amazing. They took very good care of us.
I think I think the biggest thing to remember is we were a group of people from all across the world that didn't know one another, without contact with friends and family at home. And I think that kind of environment, in any sense, can be a bit of a weird one for anyone. The team did a really good job, so we weren't too worried about what was going on at home.
Ethan, you had a wild experience. You were very keen to break the rules while you were there.
Ethan Smith: I didn't really care too much about the money. I wanted to go in there and have a good time. I thought I was going on Wild Love in the first place, so to then be told out to keep the rules, I wasn't too excited about that. But I was up for the challenge.
You spent a lot of time pursuing Brittan, but then she went back to James.
E: That was such a rollercoaster situation. I got really excited about it but then, obviously, when I saw them back in the room together, that was really hard for me. I did struggle quite a lot with that. I'm not very good with rejection. I mean, I did that to him as well so I knew how he felt. But everything happens for a reason.
S: It was okay, wasn't it, because you got to get into bed with me?
You did pick Sophie first. Do you wish you’d pursued her more?
E: I was attracted to Sophie straight away, and obviously we had everything in common. We got on really well. I think what happened between Sophie and Creed was quite hard, especially for Sophie. But who knows what might happen? You never know.
How are you and Brittan now? Are you still friends?
E: We're quite close. We speak to each other every now and again. Obviously, it's really difficult because we live so far away from each other. But at the moment, she's in London with us.
Sophie, you had one of the most iconic moments of this season, or arguably any season of the show. What was going through your head?
S: It was a tear-jerking moment. I got quite upset when I watched it back. I think I'm a bit of a tough cookie. I was in a very long-term relationship and so I think when I found out it was Wild Love, I was like, 'okay, I can do this' and then when I found out it was Too Hot, I was like, 'okay, I'm actually going to have to explore a genuine connection here' and I just wasn't there yet.
Although all the boys are beautiful, there was no initial attraction to anyone at all. I was like, 'Oh god, I don't know what to do.' This is obviously before Ethan came in. Ethan's my type. So I really had to dig deep with morals, and Creed and I, there was just something about him that I was like, 'Okay, this is different. I could really see this working.' So although I feel like the audience didn't get to really see the progression from start to finish of how it developed between the two of us, I think we did really develop quite a deep connection quite quickly. Obviously, he hadn't been in a relationship before. So when the whole thing happened with Ethan and me, it wasn't because I didn't want to with Ethan, it was because I'm getting to know someone here. How can I do to him what I wouldn’t want to be done to me? So that's why I didn't take the kiss.
Then obviously I was really shocked. To be honest, I was absolutely mortified. I was just really embarrassed. Not so much because of him—at the end of the day, Flavia, if anyone's seen her arse, I mean, you can't really blame them. She's absolutely stunning. But at the time, I was just embarrassed. And that's why I was like, 'Get out of my face, this conversation is over. We're not talking about it because this is not happening to me right now.' It's interesting that we'll be able to watch that bit back for the rest of my life.
You and Creed seem to get along now, though. He recently commented on your Instagram.
S: We are friendly, I don't think he necessarily did anything malicious. I genuinely don't believe his intention was to hurt my feelings. I don't think he really expected me to be as hurt as I was, and it probably isn't so much him. It's probably got to do with all of the stuff that I've been through in my past dating relationships.
Both of you left early. Do you think that was the right decision?
E: I didn't feel like I was ready to leave. I felt like I had a little bit more to learn. I didn't really expect to build such a good friendship with everyone and get on with everyone so much and I was having fun. I just wasn't ready.
S: My opinion was very different. I was done. I knew that when the second set of grenades came in. There was just no one there that I really felt like I could build a connection with. I just checked out. I wasn't even willing to give anyone the time of day in a relationship sense because I just knew, mentally, I needed to be on my own. I just knew that it was my time to go. And honestly, I was absolutely relieved. No one wants to be sat in front of a person that you like and see them crack on. I've given myself a bit of a pat on the back in the sense that I really don't feel like I brought any drama in.
Creed went on to have another love triangle with Flavia and Imogen. Did you expect something like that to happen?
S: When the new people came in, Flavia asked me what I thought. And I could have been really honest. But I'm not a malicious person. I didn't know the ins and outs of what they built together. So who am I to say that, 'oh, my connection is stronger than yours'? In my own head, I was okay, I know how deep it kind of got with us, so I know he's probably capable of it. But I didn’t say it. I think he'll meet someone one day who will sweep him off his feet and it always happens with men—they meet someone that's just like a game changer and they fall head over heels in love and they turn into this little puppy dog. I can't say I was that surprised, but also you never know.
If you had to pick another contestant from another season who would you pick?
E: I can’t remember now. Is it Carly something?
S: Yeah, obsessed with her, love her. I would probably pick Nathan [Soan] from last season or Harry Jowsey from season one. Tall, foreign—we love that. But don't tell them. We don't want to boost their egos!
Final question: do you think the show changed you in any way?
S: The show actually really taught me what to put up with and not to put up with in a relationship. I've realized since I broke up with my ex that I kind of allowed men not to treat me as well as they should have. I don't really know why I did that. And I think going on the show and having that particular incident happen, I'm not going to let a man do that to me again. It taught me a little bit more self-love, and just to respect myself a little bit more.
E: I'll be completely honest, I don't think I learned too much because I was only on there for a brief kind of time, I didn't really get to really build a proper, strong connection with anyone. But I think the situation I mentioned about seeing James in bed with someone—at first, I didn't really care about James's feelings when I went in bed with Britain. But having it done to me, kind of made me think, 'Oh, sh*t, I shouldn't really do something to someone I don't want to be done to me.' I've been a bit more grounded now and less selfish toward people's feelings.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
See Ethan and Sophie in Too Hot to Handle season 4, streaming now on Netflix.
Liv is a freelance journalist currently studying English at university. She loves covering everything from entertainment and politics to lifestyle and travel. As well as writing for My Imperfect Life, Liv has bylines in The Times, HuffPost, Den of Geek, Bustle The Metro and The Bookseller.
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