Dr. Venus Nicolino might have the toughest job on TV.
Dr. Nicolino, better known as Dr. V, brings couples back from the brink of divorce on WE tv’s “Marriage Bootcamp: Reality Stars.” Or, in some cases, gives it her very best shot.
The show, which airs at 9 p.m. Fridays, finds Dr. V counseling veterans of “The Bachelor,” “Bad Girls Club,” “Shahs of Sunset” and “Basketball Wives LA.”
HollywoodInToto.com reached out to the “Marriage Boot Camp” co-host to find out more about the current season and how we can all learn something from today’s crop of reality show regulars.
HiT: What can you tell us about Kailyn and Javi’s relationship struggles in the next few episodes (without giving too much away)?
Dr. V: Change in life can be scary, painful and overwhelming. That’s especially true when the change is within a romantic relationship. Standing next to someone while they’re dying of a broken heart, watching two people mourn for the hoped-for future they thought they would share is an indescribable experience. But one truth that can comfort everyone is that the heart may be the only thing that gets stronger after it’s been broken.
HiT: There’s something traditional about the show’s mission — helping couples stay together in an era where divorce has little stigma attached to it. Do you see that as part of the show’s success?
Dr. V: Falling in love isn’t traditional, it’s instinctual. Staying in love in our “Don’t Fix It Get A New One” culture isn’t traditional, it’s revolutionary. Love songs and romantic movies force life into a pattern of an impossible fabrication. The show’s success comes from honest, vulnerable chaos and conflict. The same chaos and messy conflict found in every relationship. Instead of being taunted with something nobody could ever be, the audience sees themselves.
HiT: Looking back, which show couple prove the most challenging for you … and why?
Dr. V: I know I have my work cut out for me whenever we have a couple that appeared on “The Bachelor.” And it’s not their fault: Their relationship is a product of that impossible fabrication I mentioned before. Your first date was in a romantic Irish Castle? That’s not love, that’s trying to culture romance in a petri dish of bullsh**.
HiT: Reality TV stars live their lives in public, to an extent. Now, with social media, many of us do, too. What do you see as the biggest negative impact on relationships thanks to that cultural shift?
Dr. V: People are isolating. Instead of directly experiencing life, we suddenly have the ability to filter everything through a device that lets us pick and choose our realities. People isolate in fantasies, they isolate and focus on an idealized past and they isolate in imaginary futures. All of which keeps us from experiencing our shared present together.
HiT: Do you get feedback from viewers about how the show has helped their relationships in some ways? Any common threads?
Dr. V: Yes. I receive endless DMs, tweets, emails as well as being stopped on the street IRL by people who tell me how the show’s helped them. Every season we dedicate an episode to Conflict Resolution and learning how to argue effectively and vulnerably.
This continues to hit home with people again and again. Everybody loves watching conflict on TV, but we’re not really taught how to handle it in real life, especially in our romantic relationships. It’s something everyone, not just reality stars need to learn. So I feel lucky to be part of a reality show that gives its audience something real and tangible. That’s a rare thing to do.
HiT: You’re on “Marriage Bootcamp” to give sage advice, but have you learned something important about relationships from your time on the show?
Dr. V: It confirms what I already know; everyone just wants to love and be loved. But some motherf***ers be crazy.
HiT: How did your psychology background help you transition into your current TV star status?
Dr. V: It helped because TV execs can be freakin’ loons.
HiT: Can you share a little information about your 2018 book release and how it will be different than other books in the marketplace?
Dr. V: My book is titled “Bad Advice.” In it, I take down the biggest myths of modern self-help culture. You’ve heard this crap before: You Can’t Love Anyone Until You Love Yourself, Nobody Can Make You Feel Bad Without Your Permission, Expectations Lead to Disappointment, etc. After I clear out the BS, I offer my alternative: Practical, Reality-Based Good Advice. I use my own professional experience, scientific research and a fair amount of profanity. I had a lot of fun researching and writing it, which should make for a fun read. My favorite books were always the ones that changed my worldview. That’s the way I want readers to feel when they finish “Bad Advice.”