On the latest episode of 90 Day Fiance: Before The 90 Days, Ben Rathbun had a long-overdue epiphany.
Mahogany is not who she told him that she was. He could no longer deny it.
You know what that is? Growth.
But how fake is Mahogany? Is there anything real about her?
Early this season, Ben Rathbun was extremely confident that Mahogany was real.
He and the 24-year-old Peruvian were apparently head over heels for one another, thanks to their shared Christian beliefs.
Ben had tried dating age-appropriate women in America, only to find that they were not willing to marry him in order to have sex.
Ben and Mahogany had never video chatted, and he seemed to be the only person who couldn’t see that Mahogany’s photos were doctored.
Heavy use of filters and other editing software warped her into a caricature of a young woman with genuinely inhuman proportions.
Ben, as an older man who spent decades of his life in a restrictive cult, was not as savvy to this as … literally everyone else in his life.
Ben ignored the warnings from his friends and from his family.
Part of his confidence seemed to have less to do with being conned by Mahogany and more to do with his beliefs.
Ben felt so strongly drawn to Mahogany (after just a few months) that he was sure that God could not be leaving him astray.
Real talk? Leaving a cult doesn’t always mean that it leaves you, and we’re not referring to the fact that he’s a Christian.
People growing up in extreme, restrictive environments have to rationalize their desires and frame them within a “proper” context.
In this case, that means that Ben doesn’t allow himself to simply be horny for a hot young woman — to him, feeling that thirst means that he wants to marry her.
Though Ben had confessed to “loaning” Mahogany $1,000, he seemed sure that she wasn’t using him for money.
That confidence seemingly did not waver even as she tried to discourage him from flying down to Peru to see her.
She claimed that her father was concerned about the relationship, which made Ben feel hurt … but no less determined.
When he told her that he was coming anyway, Mahogany ghosted him for a while.
No replies to texts. She also, of course, did not show up to meet him at the airport.
It was only after he messaged her that he was going to wait for her at a restaurant in her hometown that she finally showed up.
Mahogany did not quite look like her photos.
Hilariously, she commented on how Ben was not exactly what she had imagined, either.
She told the cameras, and even Ben, that he looked smaller than he had seemed in his modeling pictures (because that’s how muscle works).
Despite their mutual surprise at seeing the other, they both met up the next day.
They had a cheesy romance movie moment, courtesy of a drone camera, of walking up to each other and embracing at the beach.
Then they sat down to eat and, after getting him to try ceviche, they had a real conversation. Well, real-ish.
Mahogany claimed that she had gotten cold feet because of her father.
(Actually, Ben asked if it was because of her dad, and she agreed … which sounds a lot like telling him what he expects to hear)
She alleged that her father had asked her a lot of questions about Ben and his intentions.
Ben stunned Mahogany by inviting himself to meet her parents that very night.
Perhaps unable to come up with an excuse in time, she agreed.
This led to her showing Ben the fakest, most not-lived-in apartment that has ever cropped up on this show.
Maybe it was an AirBnB, as many fans quickly suspected.
Maybe someone loaned Mahogany their apartment and scrambled to erase all traces — photos, personal decor, or otherwise — before he arrived.
Whatever happened, it looks like Mahogany’s parents were willing to play along with their daughter’s story.
These folks are very clearly Mahogany’s parents (the resemblance is obvious), so that much is not in doubt.
Funny thing is, Ben was certain that she lived with her parents. Only now did he learn that she did not.
Oh, and there was another thing that Ben needed to learn.
Even though Mahogany was playing translator, Ben recognized enough Spanish to hear Mahogany’s age.
She was 22, not 24 as he had believed.
It’s a two-year difference, but it’s not nothing, even if he acted as if it were probably a translation error.
The truth is, Ben told the cameras, Mahogany had told him that she was 23 when they first chatted, and he’d wished her a happy 24th birthday.
This was a lie. Even he, the most naive man on this whole season, could tell that the apartment was also a lie.
And that wasn’t all.
Ben noted that everything was “weird” about that night’s revelations.
And while he had no problem dating a 24-year-old, his own daughter is 22.
He’d done a lot of rationalizing so far, and now he’d have to do even more.
The funny thing is, we here at THG actually reported on Mahogany saying that she is 22, not 24, weeks before this aired.
This was because we tracked down a real-seeming Facebook account full of (doctored) photos of Mahogany.
So she didn’t filter herself beyond recognition just for Ben. This is just how she is on social media.
Whatever the extent of her lies and fakery, and however creepy (not predatory, just creepy) Ben’s interest in marrying her may be, it apparently wasn’t a dealbreaker.
In February of 2022 (many months after this filmed), the two were spotted together in a mall in Lima, Peru, even photographed by a fan of the show.
There were no cameras there, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t filming again. This mess isn’t over.