For most of us, our first trip to another country means going to Canada or Mexico or the Caribbean or maybe Europe, accompanied by family or friends.
For a young Bradenton woman named Nicole, her first trip abroad meant spending five weeks in Morocco, accompanied by a film crew.
“I’m going to Morocco to meet my fiance,” Nicole says in her first scene on the first episode. “Where’s Morocco?”
Each season, the show follows several engaged couples. Each couple consists of one American and one person from another country. In most cases, the foreigners come to America, where by law they have to either marry within 90 days or lose their visas and return home.
Nicole’s case was a little different. She had never actually met her fiance, Azan, whom she got to know online. So she went to Morocco to meet him first.
In a phone interview, she said she found out where Morocco was long before she went there, and before the show was filmed. In that scene that shows her asking where Morocco is, she’s just joking about how little she had originally known about her fiance’s background.
“When I first met Azan online, I didn’t know where Morocco was,” she said.
Although the show’s crew followed her through the first five in-person weeks of her relationship with the man she intends to marry, and shows her in tearful exchanges with her family, and weeping over Azan’s romantic aloofness, Nicole is still protective of her privacy. She won’t reveal her last name (it’s not mentioned in the show) and although she’ll say she works in a coffee shop in Bradenton, she won’t say which one.
Her family also lives in Bradenton, and they’re featured prominently in the first episode. They’re filmed talking about Nicole’s trip and her engagement. Her mother calls Nicole “very naive” and is worried about what will happen to her in Morocco. She’s suspicious of Azan’s motives.
But Nicole says her family won’t watch the show. “They don’t like to see themselves on TV,” Nicole said.
She was already engaged to Azan, she said, before she ever heard of “90 Day Fiance.” A friend of hers was doing some online research about the visa Azan would need, and she learned about the show. She told Nicole, who sent an email to the show.
She said she paid for her own trip to Morocco. She declined to say whether she had been compensated for her appearance on the show.
And, of course, she won’t reveal any “spoilers” about what happened during the course of the “90 Day Fiance” season. In conversation, she doesn’t give any hint as to whether she and Azan decided to marry.
But, if it’s any clue, she sounds happy now, and she’s enthusiastic when she talks about the experience of being on the show.
“Morocco is very different culture-wise,” she said, “but it’s very beautiful architecture-wise. “Everybody was really nice.”
The season premiere of “90 Day Fiance” airs at 9 p.m. Sept. 11 on TLC.