Stephan And Paige From Love In The Jungle Dish On Challenges, Attraction, And Love In The Wild - Exclusive Interview

Reality TV has shown us that "Love Is Blind," love can be "Too Hot to Handle," and now, that love is wild. In Discovery+'s new series "Love in the Jungle," contestants head to the tropics and embrace their inner animal instincts to determine whether or not they can learn something from how the animal kingdom handles relationships and mating. Billed by the streaming service as a "wild social experiment," the show finds its sexy singles picking an animal that best speaks to their personality and interacting with their fellow cast mates like the animals do: without any talking! They even try on some of nature's craziest mating rituals for fit during the show's challenges. Wasn't it the Bloodhound Gang that said, "You and me baby ain't nothing but mammals?"

The new reality show premieres with two episodes on Discovery+ on May 8. Ahead of its premiere, contestants Stephan — the bee — and Paige — the starfish — chatted with Nicki Swift about what drew them to the crazy concept, what it was like to embrace their inner wild, and just how one-with-nature they got. Spoiler alert: there were "beautiful butterflies" and sweaty b***hes –– and the chemistry on set was just as wild as it appears.

The below interview contains minor spoilers from the first two episodes of "Love in the Jungle."

A lifetime of bad dating experiences led them to the jungle

So, my first question for both of you guys is what attracted you to trying to find love or connection through this social-experiment reality-show format?

Paige: I think for me, it was such a different scenario and just, everything was so interesting about it. I knew, personally, it would be a challenge and I thought it'd be fun and just different. I didn't want to do anything that was super drama-filled and just not me. That's not what I look for. So I really looked at it as just a positive opportunity to grow as a person and essentially find a mate. It was just such a cool concept. I personally love animals and I really wanted to just kind of dig into that and try something different because I was single for three years and nothing was working. So I figured I would try this little experiment out.

Stephan: And I think for me, it is definitely a little bit of what she said at the end there, I've just tried everything out under the sun. It feels like at this point, nothing's worked. So I saw this as a little bit outlandish, but it's still an opportunity to kind of break that simulation, to try to go into this jungle situation that none of us know what's going to happen with it. Just figure it all out.

You're like, "Okay, if it works for the animals, maybe it'll work for us."

Stephan: Right.

Paige: Also, I looked at it as like, "Okay, there's a whole process going into it." Right? So I trusted the casting directors more than I trusted myself because they're doing so much more deeper digging into who each person is that they're bound to find people that connect and have similar characteristics or what they're looking for, X, Y, and Z or compatible. I trusted them.

Filming Love in the Jungle was not as easy as Paige and Stephan thought it would be

It's one thing to read the premise and be like, "Okay, that makes sense." Then it's another thing to see it. Once you guys got the set, was it a lot harder than you anticipated?

Paige: Yes.

Stephan: Absolutely. I think it definitely was for sure. First of all, I kind of got caught by surprise with it. I don't think any of us would've willingly walked into the situation; they're like, "Hey, by the way, you can't talk," so it was a cool little element to kind of get shocked by. But once you're kind of going through the flow of everything and [we] kind of found a way to be comfortable within it and it was uncomfortable for all of us, and I think we bonded more because of it.

Paige: A hundred percent, I agree. Because we didn't really know what we were getting ourselves into and it was a shock, but I think we all just really bought into the experiment and just experienced and just said, "All right, we're all uncomfortable here, we'll make it work." But it made us create a really special bond. And I think for me it was so hard because I'm such a talker. I have so much confidence and I'm outgoing, so I'm always talking. And I feel like when that was taken away from me, you just look at everything so much differently with how you interact with people, how you get to know someone and just create those connections. You have to completely think outside the box and be uncomfortable, which makes you grow. And it was really cool to see everyone do some of that.

One of the fun things about this show is the nature documentary-type narration and all the animal facts that come up in the challenges. Did either of you guys learn a lot about the animal kingdom that you didn't think you would?

Paige: I mean, yeah, definitely because before the challenges ... you kind of understand what we're about to do. So we learn about different animals and how they actually mate. So definitely educational. It was super fun. It was sexy. I was just like, "Wait, that's such an interesting way to attract one another." So it was so cool to kind of act like animals in that.

Stephan: It was pretty cool to kind of understand the dynamic of how animals just get right into it. Humans do a lot more of the BS and talking around each other. And in the animal kingdom they kind of have their rituals, they do what they got to do and it's just straightforward, honestly.

Yeah, no small talk!

Stephan and Paige made their mark on the competition early on

In one of the first two episodes, we got see Paige compete in the flamingo mating ritual challenge. I was wondering what was it like embracing your inner flamingo? How did that feel?

Paige: I haven't got to see it yet, so I'm excited. I don't know. I was just like, "I'm going to just try and attract all these males right now and give all I got," so I pulled out some moves and I tried to be sexy and fun and it was definitely super nerve wracking, but I was just like, "If I'm going to do it, I'm just going to do it 110%. I'm just going to show it, see what happens."

Right, the cameras are rolling regardless, so I might as well just kind of go all out.

Stephan: Right. Own it.

And Stephan, you were one of the first winners in the alpha challenge. How did that feel?

Stephan: Honestly, it felt really good to win the alpha challenge. First, because I got the opportunity to kind of be the first one to take girls out on a date and kind of talk to the ones that I was interested in first. So I think that gave me a real advantage coming off the start of the show and the start of the experiment to kind of have that level up and have that experience ahead everybody. So I think that was really important.

Bragging rights too, I'm sure.

Stephan: Yeah. It felt good.

Paige: Just being called alpha in itself, that's kind of cool.

Embracing their inner animals made for a wild show

So I want to hear about your guys' chosen animals, did you get to pick them and did you feel like you related to them?

Paige: In the beginning we did personality tests, which kind of helped narrow down your inner animal. And yes, we all had our individual animals and we really tried to embrace it, but at the end of the day it was more so just, we were really wild and just trying to act like animals in general with the nonverbal [communication] and stuff like that. I wouldn't say I made starfish noises or we moved and did everything by what a starfish does, but I really kind of embraced it like, "All right, I'm going to really be my inner animal, but still be myself and try to meet people in this interesting way." But it was interesting how we kind of came up with our inner animals.

One thing I thought was interesting was the drinking and partying scenes, which are such a big part of any reality dating show. When you guys were partying and drinking, you couldn't talk, you were literally being party animals. What was that like?

Paige: Well, we couldn't talk, so we would just be like, "All right, we might as well get drunk and make it less awkward." And we just would make out with each other. There was no words, so it was just physical attraction. When there's alcohol involved and we're all pent up and there's a lot of just emotion and feelings, and honestly physical touch. And we really got wild. You're in the jungle and you don't really think about anything else. And if you think about animals, they just get right to it. They're very sexual beings, so I think that really pulled that out of us during those party times.

I loved the animal noises.

Stephan: The grunts, right. Revert to the cavemen days, literally.

Paige: We made little songs.

These Love in the Jungle stars say the show is about to get even more wild ...

With the show's premiere, you guys are both about to be reality TV stars. Have you guys watched a lot of reality TV before this? How do you guys feel ahead of the premiere?

Stephan: Funny enough, honestly, I actually just started getting into reality TV myself. I actually thought it was pretty interesting how uncomfortable you kind of had to be, to be in this situation. But I did see a lot of people really go through transitions doing a lot of those situations too. So I thought that was a kind of a cool dynamic I had and try to explore for myself. I had a friend [who] actually did a show, "Are You The One," my friend Kenya. So I actually got [to] kind of pick her brain a little bit [about] how the situation was and she gave me some good advice going in. So that really helped ease my whole anxiety going in, so I think that was really helpful.

Paige: I think for me, I never watch reality TV. For me, I would just cringe, I'd be like, "There's no way you fell in love in like two days," I never watched it, but people always reached out to me and they'd be like, "Paige, you're so entertaining. You need to be on reality TV. You're just a big personality." I'm like, "Oh sure, why not? It'd be cool." And I think the coolest part about doing reality TV is that you can be 110% yourself and that is what they want.

It's so cool to just be Paige and people love it. It was such a cool experience just being on set, making friends with everyone, and just being in that environment. And I personally grew a ton from it and learned a lot about myself. And it's also super nerve wracking because I was myself fully, I didn't hold back at all, and now I get to rewatch it and I'm going to be like, "Oh my God," cringing at myself. So I'm nervous, but I'm super excited at the same time.

I got to see the first two episodes, which ended with a cliffhanger. Without getting into any spoilers, do you guys each have something that we should expect to see for the rest of your time in the jungle?

Paige: I have lot of lines that I say, I feel like. I call myself a sweaty b***h. I just make fun of myself because it was so hot in the jungle. And we were always just sweating so much, so instead of people making fun of me, I just started making fun of myself. I was like, "Sweaty b***h." I'm trying to think. I don't know, we were wild.

Stephan: I think that's an understatement, honestly. But I think it's just going to be fun to see it all back, because everybody got to experience their own thing. I had my own experience, but I just want to see it through the lens of everybody else's that happened simultaneously, kind of seeing what their process was like doing everything. So I'm really excited to see what that's going to be like.

And the people who come in and leave.

Stephan: Yeah, and the confessionals for sure. I'm looking forward to [that] because of the fact that we couldn't talk, I really wanted see what was going on behind the scenes.

Paige: Yeah ... we all obviously remember what we did and what we saw. [There's] a ton of stuff that we don't know about [like] what other people said about us or how things played out in other people's minds, so it'll be really interesting to see it all ... and relive the whole experience.

... And they really were out in the jungle

You talked a bit about the weather out there. Did you guys have any wildlife interfere? Were the bugs crazy or were you guys like, "Wow, we're really out here in the kingdom."

Paige: [Where we stayed], we call it Tarzan's mansion. There were trees, it was like a treehouse. It was very open at all hours. No doors, it was completely open. So we slept under these nets [and] there were bugs and spiders. And it was a lot.

Stephan: For me, it was the torrential rainfall every morning that we'd wake up to, and it would mess up production so much, we'd have to kind of wait for everything and the people around, so that was really the jungle experience. Most people [on shows] have resorts where they could just kind of adjust to everything, [but] ours was a little bit more of a process, simply because of the whole nature vibe, so that was something a little bit different too.

You guys were definitely in the elements.

Stephan: You're right. Yeah, exactly.

Paige: We saw monkeys. What else did we see? I don't know. Honestly, there were such beautiful butterflies and it was just such beautiful environment to be in. So I think everyone really let their wild out because we were really in the jungle.

Right, what else are you going to do? Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. Is there anything else you guys wanted to add that I may not have asked about?

Stephan: Just every interview now, I want to thank the people that helped us out, all the executive producers, all the PAs and security on there, everybody, they did such a great job taking care of us and they just want to show love to those people whenever I get the chance. So thank you.

Paige: All love from Starfish over here. Super excited for people to be uncomfortable with us because it was such a fun, interesting thing. And I think it'll be so entertaining and I'm really excited to see it all.

"Love in the Jungle" premieres Sunday, May 8 on discovery+ with two episodes.