Tough Talk With Steve Ward: The Phonies And The Favorites


Master Matchmaker Steve Ward is back for another season of Tough Love, and each week, he’ll be giving us an exclusive look at what went down behind the scenes on the series. After episode one, we spoke to Steve to get a little bit more insight on all the ladies, so read our interview to find out what Steve really thinks of all the ladies in the Tough Love mansion this season.

Let’s start our chat talking about Melissa, because so far she’s my favorite, I can relate to her dorkiness. Maybe not quite to the extent that she takes it to.

Steve: Wait till you see some later episodes. Some of the crew came to me to say “Is she acting?” and we thought to ourselves that there was no way this girl could be this awkward, and once she really started breaking down and crying, we realized this was not an act. That’s just how bad it was. She’s not a virgin by choice, she wants to find a guy to sleep with who will agree not to sleep with other women. That’s not too much to ask. But we felt that she had more depth than just the virgin thing, her social awkwardness is the problem. She’s a sweetheart though.

I got a good first impression from Danielle too, but her problem is basically that she chooses to date dirtbags, right?

That’s her entire problem. She could be respectable and have higher standards if she simply chose to. What you’ll find out about her is that she’s repeating a pattern that’s been going on in her life since she was a little girl.

What’s Donna’s deal?

Donna’s an onion, there’s many layers to Donna. You’ll peel them back throughout the season. Donna’s not as naive and innocent as she appears to be. First of all, she’s extremely emotional, and she considers herself incredibly in tune with her body. She’s just extremely sensitive in every sense of the word, but she also plays a very common character in that she’s an attractive 40-year-old woman, never been married, doesn’t have kids, and wants both.

Let’s talk about Stephanie.

Stephanie — I wish I got to go to the extremes with these girls that I really wanted to. Elizabeth’s not that far behind Stephanie when it comes to the makeup, and I just wanted to make them do a day with no makeup on whatsoever. These girls would spend hours getting ready sometimes, but it’s such a production with Stephanie. She’s had countless plastic surgeries. She’s going to continue to get more and more work done. Guys that she dates tell her they love it and I’m like, “Why do you believe anything these guys say?” They’re all dirtballs. Enough’s enough, you’re taking it too far. But she’s doing it because she desperately wants to conform to someone’s standards or desires. She just needs to be herself.

She seems really nice though, I mean, with Elizabeth, I didn’t want to like her because she seemed shallow, but with Stephanie, her real issue seemed to be physical, so how do her looks affect her personality?

It’s funny because she’s done so much to her face that it’s hard to tell her emotions. She’s frozen her face. It’s hard to get a read on somebody like that, so you can’t even imagine what it’s like for a guy.

Since we’ve mentioned Elizabeth already, let’s talk about her.

Elizabeth is my favorite, she puts 110% into this thing this season, hook, line and sinker. From the minute she got there, she was like, I got nothing to lose. You reveal a lot of very personal information on this show ad her family did not want her to come on this show. They live in this huge mansion in New Jersey, and her mom was like “You don’t marry for love, you marry for money.” Like, get over it, get over yourselves. But my mom and I have a special place in our heart for her. My mom’s been coaching her since bootcamp.

What can you say about your first impression of Tiffany?

My first impression was I could smell a rat. I’ve got the best nose for bulls— east of the Mississippi. I could tell there was something amiss. That’s why I labeled her Miss Phony.

Despina: She’s a “maneatah.” What’s her history?

She’s never had a relationship, how do you like that? Never had a boyfriend. Has never said I love you. She was always afraid of getting comfortable with anything, her parents were divorced and she was always shuttling between their homes, and she was fiercely independent. Fiercely.

How does she respond to bootcamp?

Oh, she evolves. My mom loves Despina. Loves her. My mom is close to Elizabeth, but she loves Despina. She loves her attitude and her tenacity and her confidence. Despina is very conscious of her faults and she realizes she’s unemotional and guarded. Ultimately with Despina, it was necessary for her to meet someone worth caring about.

Shalana is the last one we have to talk about.

Shalana comes on because she’s considered Miss Bitter, and a lot of times when you give these women their name, it’s before I even meet them, so what I think what I mistook for bitter was actually that she was shut down. And you’ll see a lot of her character emerge eventually.

What else can you tell us about this season?

I stress this every season, but I do not put these women through this experience expecting them to form long-term relationships with the men they meet. I think that’s contrived, I think doing this on TV is incredibly difficult and that’s why you see a preponderance of failure on shows like The Bachelor and other matchmaking shows, they’re not realistic, but this is not real life. It’s not until the cameras go away that you’ll know what somebody is like, and I try to remind them of this. I love this franchise and making these shows, I love that this is my work, and I just want people to see it.

If you want to keep up to date with Steve Ward or even ask him for some love advice, make sure you follow him on Twitter (@stevenbward), like him Facebook, and friend him on Google Plus.

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