Alexa dances during the bachelorette party the show holds for all of the women. (Photo/Courtesy Netflix)
Alexa dances during the bachelorette party the show holds for all of the women. (Photo/Courtesy Netflix)

On ‘Love is Blind,’ Alexa Alfia found antisemitism — but also a husband

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The first season of “Love is Blind,” a reality TV show in which contestants date and get engaged through a wall, had one perfect love story: Lauren and Cameron. An interracial couple who never had any drama, the pair seemed smart and skeptical — a rarity in reality television — and yet they are still married and in love today. In the subsequent seasons since the show captivated viewers during 2020’s pandemic viewing, everyone has been waiting for the next Lauren and Cameron, worried that true love will never strike the show again.

Thankfully, Alexa Alfia and Brennon Lemieux came along. They were early favorites, thanks to a palpably sweet first meeting, and Brennon’s embrace of her plus-size figure. But despite the fact that, unlike nearly every other couple on the show, Alexa and Brennon actually seem to really like each other, some fans started rooting against the couple because Alexa is Jewish and Israeli.

The “Love is Blind” producers certainly played up the pair’s differences in both religion and class: Alexa’s family is snarky and wealthy, and her father owns a business empire that encompasses a gym, several nightclubs, and a tech company. Meanwhile, Brennon grew up poor on a Texas ranch to soft-spoken, Christian parents.

On Twitter, posts about the couple are almost guaranteed to have at least one commenter pointing out that Alexa is Israeli and saying she’s a Zionist, urging fans to withdraw their support from the couple.

Luckily, “Love is Blind” is filmed long before it airs, so the fan opinions didn’t affect the ending: Alexa and Brennon not only walked down the aisle, but said “I do” underneath a flower-covered chuppah. (Most of the couples in each season of the series walk down the aisle only to say “I don’t” at the altar — literally. Previous contestants have said that the show makes the couples buy gowns, write vows and invite their friends and family even if they already know they’re going to say no.)

Alexa trying on her wedding dress — which, remember, we did not know if she would actually end up getting married in. (Photo/Courtesy Netflix)
Alexa trying on her wedding dress — which, remember, we did not know if she would actually end up getting married in. (Photo/Courtesy Netflix)

Still, it hasn’t stopped the vitriol. “Reading these things, of course, it’s hurtful, but I still just don’t get it,” Alexa, 27, said, when we spoke over the phone before the finale aired. “What do you want me to do? Do you want me to stop being Jewish, is that what you want?”

And Alexa, who owns an insurance agency, said the backlash isn’t just about Israel. “It’s been classic antisemitism, for sure. Just people say things about Jews in general, especially, I think, with my dad having money,” she said. She and her family have even gotten death threats, she added.

A lot of the hate has focused on a filmed discussion with Alexa’s family about Jewish practices and ketubahs (Jewish marriage contracts) — which her family took as an opportunity to grill Brennon a little. When Alexa posted about the moment on Instagram, commenters called the ketubah a kind of money-grab and accused Alexa’s family of forcing Brennon to convert.

Alexa said the meeting was actually friendly, and everyone welcomed Brennon to the family. But what the series did show didn’t seem so bad to her. “If my child brought someone home and said I’m going to marry this person in six weeks, you best believe I’m going to grill them,” she said. “I watched that, and even rewatched that to try to see if from other people’s perspectives, and I completely support the way my dad handled that.”

As for a moment in which her father, alone with Brennon, pulled a giant knife and bottle of liquor out from under the coffee table and offered to convert him right then and there, Alexa is confused by the backlash. “The circumcision joke, I thought that was hilarious,” she said, laughing. “It’s a classic Jewish dad joke — I mean come on.”

Alexa said that Brennon dealt with the situation perfectly, and laughed with her family. “There’s a reason why I fell in love with Brennon,” Alexa told me. “I wish we could’ve seen more of Brennon’s humor; he is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. He’s so goofy, so funny — he’s not just this doting cowboy that loves me all the time.”

“People love him so much and think he’s the greatest guy, but then put me down,” she said. “I’m like, so you don’t think he’s that great then. You don’t think he’s smart enough to know if I’m this horrible person?”

But it hasn’t all been bad, Alexa says. “I’ve been called, several times, a queen. Which I will take! I am very unapologetically me,” the star said. “I think I have the opposite of body dysmorphia, whatever that is.”

And, of course, Alexa is glad she found her husband — but she’s still in denial that she found him on “Love is Blind.” “I watched the first season, loved it, thought it was absolutely ridiculous,” she said. “Not ever in a million years did I think I’d get married on this.”

In the end, despite the antisemitism, Alexa is glad to have had the opportunity to be so publicly Jewish.

“I didn’t realize how many people are ashamed to be Jewish. The messages I’ve received — hundreds of messages from Jews around America saying how it’s refreshing to see someone be brave enough to say that they’re proud to be Jewish,” she said. “I really wasn’t trying to make this bold statement that I’m Jewish; it’s just who I am.”

Mira Fox
Mira Fox

Mira Fox is a reporter at the Forward. Get in touch at [email protected] or on Twitter @miraefox.

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