Kristin Davis is back on SA TV, but this time she’s doing the hosting on reality TV – as the head honcho on dating “gameshow” Labor of Love, from Tuesday, 23 February on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 21:00.

Over the course of the 8 episodes, Kristin is helping The Bachelor S11 star Kristy Katzmann to find a romantic partner. “I absolutely want to meet the right person, and I think that there is a different stake in this [finding love] for a woman, in this case, it’s me,” explains Kristy. “This [show] really is my last chance to meet someone I would start a family with before I would pursue motherhood on my own.”


You’ll hear a familiar accent among the 15 suitors vying for Kristy’s attention – a South African voice. Alan Santini is one of the hopefuls on Labor of Love. He’s been living in LA for years after leaving the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, and he’s giving you the scoop on the show, finding love on TV, and which challenge was the hardest.

Watch Labor of Love now Watch Lifetime 

Right place, right time

You’ve acted in soaps and dramas. So why a reality show?

Towards the end of 2018, I’d been approached by a couple of dating shows to go on and I turned them down. It was never something that I was interested in. Then in December 2018, Labor of Love approached me and I turned it down. In January 2019, I had a new year’s resolution to follow the principle of the Year of Yes – anything that approached me and wouldn’t affect me or my name negatively, I’d say yes to. And then they [Labor of Love] re-approached me. I thought: Let me check in with my closest friends and family and see what they think. I said yes because I wanted to follow through on that philosophy.

What did the interview process consist of?

It was a number of interviews. First, it was video interview, like videocall. Then they wanted me to fly back to LA early – I was visiting my folks down in KZN and they wanted me to come see them. There was also a roundtable with the guys from [production network] FOX, that’s when the challenge started. We had to do all these psychological evaluations, physical evaluations, full SAT-type questions. So we went through a lot for them to assess whether we were healthy… we had to sit down with psychologists – it was a huge process to select the right people for the show.


You aren’t wearing masks at all on Labor of Love, so you did this before the whole COVID pandemic, right?

April 2019, so we were pretty safe with filming in that regard. It’s been a bit of a wait for the show to come out in SA.

What were your first impressions of Kristy, because we know her from The Bachelor?

We knew her by her job – “a health industry sales rep”. We had no idea who she was in that sense, about The Bachelor. We were given a very different idea of who she was going in, to obviously what our audience knows now. When the producers came around after the first episode was shot and they came to our rooms [and asked], “How do you feel about the house, how do you feel about Kristy, how do you feel about the guys?” I didn’t really feel anything, to be honest. But I’m here, so [I thought] just run its course. Get through the first date and see how you feel.

The challenges you guys are put through seem pretty interesting and not your usual reality TV fare… like simulated childbirth…

Haha! We did have some really fun challenges – it’s actually the episode you don’t see. We had to learn the Argentine tango dance. We had to learn it in an hour-and-a-half and perform it in front of behavioural psychologists and chemistry specialists, basically an audience. It was a lot of fun but it was a challenge because we had huge time constraints. Every guy got a female [pro] dancer to work with, and I was the only guy without a dancer. They got a dancer and she taught me all the female moves, so I was in trouble and had like 15 minutes to learn the male moves and put the whole thing together.

What happens when you’re eliminated on Labor of Love? Is it like other reality shows where you get put up in a fancy hotel for a holiday?

No, you’re out! The car is waiting outside, the luggage is packed. You [everyone] actually have to take your luggage out before every elimination episode. You walk out the door, into the limo, off to the airport and you leave. Done.

Reality TV is a whole other ballgame compared to regular TV shows. What surprised you about being on a show like Labor of Love?

The obvious one is that the cameras are on you almost 24/7, except for sleep and using the restroom. You have a camera and a mic on you all the time. It’s the little things. You become very self-aware when you’ve got a camera in your face everywhere you go.

One part that I was very bummed about was that the whole show was confined to a very limited timeframe, in terms of what you see compared to what was filmed. We had some really amazing conversations that I think people [the audience] should hear… 40-year-old guys who’re in the dating world and the challenges they face with [dating] women, but you never get to really hear them. It’s tough when you’re in that environment where you’re dealing with new guys and you’ve all got different personalities, some abrasive, some you get on really well with, and you try to make a household work. At the same time, you all know that you’re vying for the same woman’s attention.

A house full of guys competing for one woman… hmmm…

There were definitely cliques…and there were definitely “un-cliques”. There were guys who [rightfully] took this very seriously and were deceptive and cunning about it, they would do whatever they could. There are definitely moments and scenarios when you’ll see this in the show.

That [the inner competition] made it challenging… it’s not really a competition. She [Kristy] will be attracted to who she’s attracted to. That kind of behaviour [the deception] can help your cause on the show, but at the end of the day, she’s attracted to who she’s attracted to.

Are you happy with how you’re portrayed and come across, in line with who you are?

Very much so. That was the one caveat to me, the only reason why being on reality TV can be challenging for some people is because they feel they need to be somebody else. If I’m on the show, I’m going to be as I am, because that can’t be misinterpreted. I feel like we got into our comfort zone, but for the first few episodes we’re like deer in the headlights. We’re all facing this mammoth of a situation, and we’re trying to navigate ourselves through it.

After leaving the show, did your appearance have any impact on your love life?

The obvious flurry of messages, “Oh I saw you on the show and you’re amazing”, that’s all good and well. But that virtual thing [social media DMing], I think a lot of the other guys had the same frustration with dating in the virtual capacity. It’s a tough experience. And with COVID, it’s seemingly impossible to meet anyone. I found it tough to meet the type of person in LA that I’m looking for. Have I got a bunch of attention from women who’ve seen me on the show? Sure. Has it done anything real for my love life? No.

On the show your South African accent is pretty clear to us… but you have a US accent, too?

I’ve tried to use more of my South African accent for the last couple of years because I’d been using my American accent a lot more. I’ve been here in Los Angeles for 11 years. I don’t see that changing for a long time, but whether that’ll be where I end up in the long run, I can’t say.

And what was it like working with host Kristin Davis, who obviously is famous for playing Charlotte in Sex & The City?

I’ve worked with a lot of named [famous] people and I’ve never been starstruck. There’s never really that kind of element to working with them. I appreciate getting to work with famous people whose work I do enjoy. Labor of Love is a very different setting for her, so she’s really down to earth, and we got to chat to her about life and that kind of thing, stuff that’s not about “the business”. She’d ask questions, she was engaging, just a great human being. I'm glad they chose her… but I’ve never seen her work. It’s nice to meet someone who’s real and willing to connect.

Watch Labor of Love S1 from Tuesdays on Lifetime (DStv channel 131) at 21:00 or on Catch Up

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