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Love Is Blind’s Bliss Poureetezadi ‘Drew a Lot of Boundaries’ With Irina

Photo: Netflix

Love Is Blinds Bliss Poureetezadi came into Netflix’s experiment with no expectations — especially not one of a love triangle. Within days of being in the pods to find her future spouse, Poureetezadi found herself in a chaotic situation involving Zack Goytowski, Irina Solomonova, and birthday cupcakes. Goytowski eventually proposed to Solomonova, who was dubbed this season’s villain by the internet, until they ended things during an awkward honeymoon in Mexico. Goytowski was longing to be reunited with Poureetezadi, and Solomonova was longing to be with … her best friend’s fiancé (but that’s for another time). Then, in a Love Is Blind first, Goytowski and Poureetezadi started dating back in Seattle and got engaged — outside of the pods. Poureetezadi handled the twists and turns with maturity and grace because she knew Goytowski was her “person.” Ahead of the show’s April 17 wedding finale and the just-announced live reunion, Poureetezadi reflects on ignoring Irina, bonding with Zack, and the importance of owls.

How did you and Irina handle dating the same person in the pods? 
We didn’t really talk. The episodes don’t show this, but I really drew a lot of boundaries with Irina. I had that conversation about Zack with her multiple times, like, “Let’s just not talk about this. This isn’t serving either of us. You do your thing, I’ll do mine.” I’m not into competition. I’m never going to compete for a man, that’s just not my vibe. And it’s not how I approached this experience. I really didn’t talk to her about what was going on in her and Zack’s dates, so I can’t really speak to anything beyond what you guys saw with the birthday thing.

How did your impression of Zack change when he chose Irina?
When I said, “I question his judgment,” that was from a moment of emotional anger. That was me not being my best self. I never told him what was going on in the living quarters — I spoke very vaguely that I wasn’t seeing good things from Irina — but he never knew about the cupcake thing. I did not tell him about all these other things that happened because I didn’t want to use that as a tool to manipulate him into choosing me. I do understand why he went with her. I think it was a fear-based decision, and we’ve all made decisions from that place. It didn’t change my perception of him at all. I still thought he was an absolutely respectable person. And when we’re breaking up, he couldn’t hear me say that I apologize for saying that about his judgment because it was a moment of me being angry.

I really admire how you responded to your breakup with such maturity. Was a breakup something you prepared for? 
Honestly, I didn’t really prepare for that. I went in like, “I am gonna show up and I’m just gonna do this.” I didn’t want to overly plan for it because I felt like it wouldn’t be authentic. I didn’t expect to fall in love.

What was going through your head when he was breaking up with you? 
I knew he was my person. I knew that in my soul. When he ended things, I was surprised. Obviously, I was hurt, but I had so much peace with it. What is meant for me is meant for me. This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been the one to have to break up with someone else. I’ve had a lot of anger come back at me. You’re not trying to hurt this person. You’re trying to be open and honest and do your thing. I did cry after I got out of the pods.

I heard you left the pods after. Do they do an exit interview? 
There’s a whole thing in returning your stuff to you, like your phones. I did want to leave. There was no reason for me to stay.

Who reached out first when Zack returned from Mexico?
I didn’t have direct contact. I didn’t have his phone number. He didn’t have mine. He reached out to the producers to reach out to me. As we’re seeing each other in the restaurant, that was the first time we were seeing each other.

What was your initial reaction to seeing him in real life?
It was intense. I fell in love with this person in the pods without seeing them. It was a reveal moment for me in a lot of ways. I was so nervous it was in public. But when we saw each other our eyes just locked. It was this intense chemistry, like truly the most bizarre thing. Not that I didn’t expect to be attracted to him, but it was so intense. You can kind of see me smiling, I’m actually suppressing that as hard as I can. I’m trying to remain calm and cool. And thinking like, “We’ll see what he has to say.”

Was being reconnected with Zack something you wanted to do privately?
I felt like that was the right thing to do because we had already started our journey with cameras. I already had agreed to share my life and journey with the world, whatever that was. It made sense for me.

Why did you decide to take him back?
He was always so honest with me in the pods. I mean, honest. Like maybe too honest. I felt so safe with him. I never felt like he was untrustworthy or saying things that were manipulative or trying to play games. I really, really felt like I knew this man’s intentions. And we had such a true deep love, somehow, in this crazy short amount of time in these pods. We deeply fell in love. We needed a second chance and wanted a second chance. I was so open to hearing him out. Why would I let my pride get in the way of this beautiful thing?

What do you think people don’t see in Zack that you do?
I think his heart is so beautiful. Something I learned from him in our time in the pods is that grace, the ability to look at someone and see the good. He has consistently shown that he’s a good man. Even the way he handled the situations in Mexico. He was very aware that something was off with Irina, so he was trying to figure it out.

He’s also super athletic. I don’t know if that comes out in the show at all, but he’s a Brazilian jiujitsu master brown belt, which is a high achievement in the jiujitsu world.

In the show, you said his proposal came as a surprise. Did you have any discussions about marriage and compatibility after you met in real life but prior to the proposal?
No, we didn’t really talk about marriage. I just thought we were dating. I was like, “I guess they want to film us continuing dating or something.” It was genuinely shocking. He made this joke that I would have worn a totally different outfit if I knew that he was going to propose.

What was the aftermath of Zack meeting your dad?  
I expected my dad to react that way. I would probably be surprised if he didn’t react that way. He had the right to be skeptical and ask questions. But I never felt like I had to prove to him that I was making the right decision. I live for myself and I trust my intuition. I knew he was gonna be there to support me.

How does Netflix prepare you for any backlash or bullying from the public?
You can be as prepared as you can be, but when that happens, you’re never going to be fully prepared enough. They offer supportive therapy sessions. They will pay for you to go to a therapist if you need.

How do you and your fellow cast members support each other during the release of episodes?
We’re texting each other, calling each other, and being in each other’s presence. You bond so much with these people you’ve gone through this crazy unique experience with and you feel so normal around them. It’s so amazing to have that safe space in place with all of them.

Did anything not air that you wish viewers were able to see?
Everyone probably feels this way about their story, but I would have loved for more of mine and Zack’s dates in the pods. There were so many amazing moments. The owl thing was a lot more profound moment than what is shown. Owls are very much my sign. I’m a very spiritual person. That was my sign that I’m on the right track. He also was wearing a tie that had an owl on it. That’s actually part of how the discussion came up. It was a crazy, beautiful, serendipitous moment.

What were your thoughts on his owl painting? 
I love his owl painting. I think it’s so cool. It’s just another weird sign that I knew I was supposed to be with him. It’s a great painting, and it will continue to be a great painting.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Love Is Blind’s Bliss ‘Drew a Lot of Boundaries’ With Irina