We are just days away from Season 5 of 90 Day Fiance: Before The 90 Days and its seven new couples.
One of the most talked about new pairs is Ella and Johnny, but viewers have noticed some major red flags.
The Other Way alum Deavan Clegg has seen the trailer and agrees.
She has laid out a very thorough and informed breakdown of why this couple is a problem … but also why production fakery could be to blame.
29-year-old Ella is an American from Idaho.
The self-described country girl admits that she is fascinated by Asian cultures.
In fact, she used a dating app designed to connect white American women with Asian men.
That is how she met her “Asian prince” (her words, not ours), a 34-year-old Chinese man named Johnny.
In the past, Ella has faced cruel rejection that have had an indelible impact upon her relationships and self-esteem.
Johnny, she says, accepts her for who she is, though she cannot shake the fear that history will repeat itself.
There are some red flags in this relationship, despite it being very age-appropriate with no obvious signs of scamming.
Ella can be seen wearing an anime-inspired wig while chatting with Johnny in one of the trailers.
She is also seen practicing with a sword in her yard while a voiceover discusses her Asian fixation.
Appreciating the cultures, fashions, media, and histories of other groups of people is a wonderful experience.
Ella appears to be going above and beyond that, and the way that she seems to be speaking of Johnny and Asian cultures is alarming.
It sounds like she fetishizes Asian men and Asian cultures, which is detrimental and alarming to see.
Being interested in other cultures isn’t fetishization, but zeroing in on a specific dating pool sure is.
There is more to the cringe elements of Ella’s part of the Season 5 trailers than that.
And we’re sure that editors went above and beyond to make the trailer as inflammatory as possible. That’s their job.
There are other elements to the trailer, of course.
The first is that Johnny’s family, if not he himself, appears to be doing some body-shaming of Ella.
The world can be incredibly cruel, particularly to women. We hope that Johnny himself is not.
Additionally, the full trailer for Season 5 showed Ella in tears.
She appeared to have gotten some sort of bad news from Johnny.
We have yet to see a photo of them spending time together in person, so … does Johnny make the trip?
That, we don’t know. We’ve only seen the trailer and a bit of a blurb from TLC about Ella and Johnny.
But that alone was enough to make a first impression upon viewers, and upon 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way alum Deavan Clegg.
Taking to social media, Deavan is offering a very nuanced and informed take on Ella and the trailer … one that will be dismissed by 90% of those who read it.
“I don’t think its right to fetish someone for their race,” Deavan Clegg wrote in an Instagram comment.
“I don’t know if it’s producers trying to do that for the story line to make it interesting,” she admitted, “or if she’s really like that.”
Some have accused Deavan and Ella of being the same, but Deavan explains that she has a family connection to Korea.
“I have ties to Korea because my uncle is korean and I would watch my nieces often,” Deavan stated.
“That’s how I got introduced into the culture,” she added.
“It’s okay to love and appreciate a culture,” Deavan affirmed, “but to strictly go out of your way to find an Asian man or women is not okay and different.”
“I didn’t go out of my way to meet my ex,” Deavan said, referring to Jihoon Lee.
“He had his international turned on and we matched,” she explained.
“I’ve dated lots of men from different cultural background,” Deavan added. “I don’t have a preference.”
“As for dating Topher,” Deavan said of her current love, “we met on an airplane and connected.”
“I didn’t strictly go out of my way to meet another korean man,” she emphasized.
“As for keeping the culture in my household,” Deavan explained, “that’s because of my son and he should know both cultures.”
“I’m happy to be what I am and do my traditions as well,” Deavan stressed.
“I don’t eat noodles and rice just because I think its cool,” she said. “I eat everything | like.”
Deavan added, as has been noted before, that she has Korean ties “from my own roots. That’s the difference.”
“Did the show make me say | dated koreans in the past,” Deavan continued.
She confirmed: “Yes 100%,” while adding that this was prompted by producers and untrue.
“It’s all a show,” Deavan reminded people. “So | can’t sit here and judge because I don’t know if it’s the producers pulling the strings or if she’s really like that.”
“I think its cool she appreciates the culture,” Deavan observed, “but to strictly go out of her way to find someone asian is what bothers me.”
In case it needed to be explained, Deavan noted that she’s uncomfortable “because not everything ‘asian’ is the same.”
Deavan got specific: “I found the trailer distasteful because she was wearing Japanese attire but then found a Chinese man.”
Based upon the trailer, Deavan speculated: “She probably doesn’t know the difference and lumps them all in the same group which is wrong.”
“Everyone has there own culture and traditions,” she emphasized, “which are very different and beautiful.”
Deavan correctly noted: “And if she can’t tell a difference that’s ignorance and that’s what is not okay.”
“I don’t festishize asian men and never have,” Deavan affirmed.
“Do I find my boyfriend attractive?” she asked. “Of course.”
Deavan clarified: “Is it because he’s korean? No.”
We know that the vast majority of 90 Day Fiance fans probably do not want to hear this, but Deavan Clegg is right.
She is right about the racial fetishization, right about the cultural fetishization, and she’s also right about how dishonest the show’s portrayal can be.
We of course hope that Ella has a better experience than Deavan did, and that Ella’s storyline is much more nuanced and less ignorant than it appears in the trailers.