Karen Larrea And Breana Symone Tell All On HBO's My Mom, Your Dad - Exclusive Interview

In the world of dating over 40, sometimes your best wing man — or woman — is your daughter. This was true for Karen Larrea, whose daughter Breana Symone signed her up for HBO's new reality dating series "My Mom, Your Dad." If you're not familiar, the premise follows the typical route of a reality dating show: A group of single parents move into a house together and hope for the spark of romance (a la "Love Island" or "Bachelor In Paradise"). The twist is that their college-aged kids are secretly watching (and even helping) their parents on their path to love. Obviously, there were awkward moments, but Karen and Breana's story captivated audiences — first, with their unmistakable bond, and second, with their unexpected exit. So, what happened where the cameras left off? 

In this exclusive interview with Nicki Swift, Breana and Karen tell all — from the truth behind the family emergency that sent them packing to Karen's brand new relationship. Yes, you really can find love on reality TV.

Karen Larrea tried online dating before turning to reality TV

How did you guys initially decide to go on "My Mom, Your Dad"? I know, Breana, you signed your mom up. What was the whole process like?

Breana Symone: So, basically, I found the ad on our Instagram Explore Page. The ad just said, "Do you have a single parent? Are you a College student? Submit your application." The application was just our names, our social media, and a few photos together. That's basically it. We got a couple emails, and a phone call, and now we're here.

Karen, How did you decide that you wanted to actually go on TV?

Karen Larrea: Actually, I had told Breana, "No." I was like, "Breana, it's probably not legitimate." She was like, "Mom, we don't have anything to lose. The worst is that we can say no if we think that it's not legitimate." It just snowballed. You saw that it was legitimate.

As the process goes on, it kind of was a blur of three weeks. On a Thursday, they said you're chosen for the cast. Pack your bags, you're going to L.A. on Monday. It was really that quick. We had to hurry up and do some different things that we had to get done. That was basically it. Then I said, "You know what? I've done all different types of dating. I've been set up by friends, and family, and colleagues, and reluctantly even tried online dating." I was like, "What do I have to lose? Let me give it a shot."

How did you find online dating?

Karen: It wasn't bad. It was a little overwhelming, but it wasn't bad. The majority of the men were great men. They just weren't men for me. Even one of them, I'm really good friends with now, two years later. I'm really good friends with him. We just decided, it's not even romantic, but it's great for friendship.

I only got one that I walked into the restaurant and I was like, "Wow! This is totally catfish because the pictures are like 20 years old." That only happened with one, thank God, but I'm really nice. I sat through the whole meal and like okay, with a totally different person.

Things on the set of My Mom, Your Dad got pretty awkward

On your series, the parents were being watched by the children. You didn't know that when you first went on. What was it like for both of you when you found out — and also, Breana, when you had to watch your mom date?

Breana: It was very awkward. We didn't know initially that we were even going to be watching them until we stepped foot inside of the house. It was is very crazy. I'm just thinking back to that moment when we were told, and we were just like, "So how much are we going to be watching them though? Are we going to be watching them 24/7? Are we going to watching them on our third dates?" It was quite a long time that we were watching our parents throughout the day. We saw a lot of awkward moments and things that I think that we didn't need to know about our parents.

What was the most awkward for you?

Breana: There were talks about the parents' favorite sex positions. There were some sex toys that were brought up. It was just so uncomfortable, and I remember taking out my head. I was like, "No, no, no, no. I don't need to hear my mom's answer. I don't need to hear it. I'm so great with living without that answer."

Karen, how did you deal with that then? Realizing that your daughter had just watched these very intimate moments?

Karen: I was, to say the very least, shocked. My initial reaction, when they told me, the producer told me, I said, "What?" Literally just started going through everything in my head that I said, and I did, and every romantic encounter. I was like, "Oh my God, my daughter saw all this." We have our mom hat on, or our parent hat on. You tend to act, not that you're a different person, but you tend to act differently with your children. You interact differently with romantic encounters. It was a little bit shocking.

The real reason Karen and Breana unexpectedly made an early exit

I want to talk about something that was probably pretty difficult for you. You guys had to leave production early. What happened surrounding that?

Karen: Basically it was a COVID exposure issue. It was really hard for us to leave, but we had to leave just to make sure everyone was safe for production.

Yeah. That's the right thing to do. What are your feelings about having to leave early?

Karen: It was for everyone's safety, so we did what was the safest for production.

Did any of you guys end up actually getting ill or were you luckily spared?

Karen: No, I was exposed to COVID ... but no, but you know what? It was the correct thing to do.

When the cameras left off, it looked like you and Troy Petrick both were feeling each other and wanted to maybe start something. Where do you guys stand now?

Karen: Troy and I are together. Last week, we actually were allowed to come out as a couple. We were very excited about that 'cause it's hard keeping that in. We're really excited, and we're making it work. Right now, using this time for us as a couple because we've only been together for six months. Blending our families, and see where we're going to go from here.

Cat's out of the bag: Karen and Troy Petrick are officially an item IRL

What was the transition like between a TV romance to something in your actual lives? This is your reality now.

Karen: Honestly, it has been so seamless and so easy. We have so much compatibility, and so much chemistry. It's so funny because we tell people the story. The first time that he came here to visit me, he came here first, which was the month after we left from filming. He opens up my refrigerator, and he's like, "This can't be." We buy the same milk, the same eggs, the same bread. That's how compatible we are.

It's been absolutely just wonderful. We laugh because we always feel like there's things that happen to us now off the show, that we're like, "Okay, where are the cameras?" When I was in Atlanta visiting him, we were out in a little shop. I love little antiques, and he indulges me in those things. Guys don't like to do that, but he takes me to this really cute shop. It was so crowded. All of a sudden, we ended up by ourselves in this back room. Everyone disappeared, and he just starts slow dancing with me. After I'm like, "What is this? This is like a rom-com happening here. Where are the cameras?"

Those are the things that happened to us. We were at my family restaurant. We were just sitting there. We went to go have lunch. It was another time that he was visiting. My dad calls me. He's like, "I've been watching you and Troy for half an hour. I didn't realize you guys were going to go have lunch there." And we're just like, "Are there cameras always on us?"

That's amazing.

Karen: Yeah. So it's been great, and technology is great for us. The time that we're apart, every day we FaceTime, and text, and talk. I have a huge smile on my face that hasn't left for six months.

Reality TV brought Karen and Breana closer than ever

Breana, what's it like for you because this is a new man in your life, too.

Breana: Yes. I mean, as long as my mom is happy, I think that's all that really matters, and that he's good and is a good person. Which he is. Troy is an amazing person. He's an amazing dad. He's really great. I really support the relationship.

How do you get on with his kids?

Breana: So the only one that I've really interacted with is Noah [Petrick] from the show. He's amazing. He's literally like a brother to me. We got along so great. We're both busy with college, so we talk as much as we can, but we definitely are very close.

That's amazing. So clearly you guys are proof that you can find love on reality TV.

Karen: You can, and after 40.

How has the experience changed your relationship as mother and daughter?

Breana: I think it brought us closer. We opened up more conversations. I think that we were open with each other around dating, but I think watching your mom actually date definitely opens up the conversation way more than we ever thought we needed to. I think that really just brought us closer together.

Next up: do the Housewives have an empty slot?

Aside from Troy and his son, is there anyone else from the show that you still stay in touch with?

Breana: I speak to a majority of the kids. We all have a group chat actually. We all like text each other in it and just catch up with each other. I do have a few cast mates that live really close to me, so I get to see them a lot.

Karen: The parents also have. We have a group chat going. We talk at least three times a week. We'll chat on this group chat. Actually, I'm really excited because tonight, so some of the boys, Scott [Devoe], Phil [Chevalier], Phillip [Patrick], and Joel [Brown], are here for a food and wine festival in Miami. I'm actually meeting them up for dinner. I'm so excited. I'm spending time with the boys.

Besides your own show, what's your favorite reality show this year?

Breana: Maybe "Real Housewives of New Jersey." I can't get enough of that. "Real Housewives." I love "Real Housewives." I think that's probably my favorite. For someone that's on a dating show, I don't really watch dating shows. I don't know why. I've watched "Too Hot To Handle," but I really love my "Housewives." That's just my cup of tea.

Karen: I love my "Miami Housewives."

Hey, maybe there's a spot in the future. Now that you've got like a little reality TV under your belt.

Breana: That's what I told her. I told her she should go on a "Real Housewives" and she's like, "I'm too scared."

Karen: I told her, "Which one?" I could do "Real Housewives of Miami," or I could do "Real Housewives of Atlanta" because of Troy.

You can catch Breana and Karen on "My Mom, Your Dad," currently streaming on HBO Max.