’90 Day Fiancé’: Erika Owens Said Her Time On the Show Was Like Being ‘Thrown to the Wolves’: ‘I’d Take It Back In a Heartbeat’

Reality TV can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, plenty of stars have used reality TV appearances to bolster their personas and build a fan base. Still, there are risks to this path. As many reality TV stars have found, viewers of the genre can be particularly brutal, and plenty of participants who were looking for fans instead found themselves reviled. Erika Owens certainly had a tough time as a reality TV star. The 90 Day Fiancé star found her fifteen minutes of fame, but she doesn’t think it was worth the cost. 

TLC executives speaking on a '90 Day Fiance' panel
’90 Day Fiance’ panel | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

’90 Day Fiancé’ is a particularly dramatic reality TV series 

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Most reality TV requires at least a little drama. After all, that’s usually what keeps fans tuning in, but 90 Day Fiancé seems to have more than its fair share of over-the-top stories and unbelievable plots. The TLC show follows a fairly standard reality show script. Like many other series, it follows dating people as they try to find love.

The catch is that these potential partners have found one another online and are in long-distance relationships that span different countries. The title comes from a particular kind of visa that allows a potential marriage partner to come to the United States for 90 days.

At that point, the visa will expire, so the couple must decide whether they’re going to tie the knot or go their separate ways. The show, which some have criticized as seeming scripted, often ends in heartache for the couples. 

Erika Owens participated in season 4 of ’90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days’ 

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Realizing that they had found a premise that fans enjoyed, the creators came up with a prequel concept called 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days. This series focuses on couples before they actually meet up. While they’ve had online relationships, things tend to be much trickier to navigate in person.

In this way, there is some dramatic overlap with shows like Catfish, and cast member David Murphey was at the center of a long-running scheme that seemed to be a catfish situation. Erika Owens was a participant on Season 4 of Before the 90 Days, and her time on the series was marked with increasing turmoil.

In a dramatic tale that tore fans into separate camps, Owens was in a relationship with a woman named Stephanie Matto. As the series went on, some fans began to suspect that Matto was in it for fame more than love, and some even accused her of faking her bisexuality to capitalize on the show. 

Erika Owens regrets her appearance on ’90 Day Fiancé’

Now that some time has passed and the dust has settled, Owens has taken the opportunity to open up about how disappointing the reality TV experience was for her. Many suspected all along that appearing on the show was Matto’s idea and that Owens had been pressured into participating. As Soap Dirt reports, Owens said Matto assured her everything would be fine and pushed her concerns away. 

She was also shocked at just how cruel people could be, and she has faced body-shaming comments and internet trolls who have made bullying her a hobby. While Owens is determined to “power through it and grow from the experience,” she ultimately regrets it. As BuzzFeed reports, Owens said she would “take it back in a heartbeat” if she had the chance.