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If you’ve been part of the dating scene of late, then you know the landscape for romance has gotten only more sterile and impersonal thanks to both dating app culture and lingering social weirdness from the COVID-19 pandemic.
All scenarios that are supposed to point toward connection feel like they’re set up to prevent authentic love from blooming, so you can’t blame singles for wanting to throw their dating portals of choice into the closest body of water and be done with it.
For Seattle-based software engineer Nicole Rémy, Puget Sound was mighty tempting — but instead, she opted to try her luck with some very old school, Regency-era romance ideals as the contestant in USA’s reality dating series, “The Courtship.”
On the heels of a bad breakup and with no interest in going back into the digital fray, she instead packed up her proverbial trunks and decided to give the reins of romance over to the show’s producers and have 16 hand-selected suitors, schooled in Regency etiquette, woo her for real.
"The opportunity sort of fell into my lap,” Rémy said of her path to getting cast on “The Courtship.” “It was presented to me and I'm a hopeless romantic, one. Two, I just have not had any luck finding the person that I would want to end up with.”
While the Regency-era framework of the series may have been a barrier to entry for some women, Rémy said the idea of immersing herself into a different time period and its “rules” for dating was hugely attractive.
“But what sold it to me was family,” she explained. “That my family got to be there with me. And that was so important because my family's my rock. To have them there, it just meant the world to me because they know me best.”
Something of a modern Renaissance woman, Rémy is one of three siblings and a constant overachiever. She attended University of Southern California on an academic scholarship where she sang as part of the USC Song Girls, and was president of her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. Graduating with a Bachelor in Science in GeoDesign, she worked in architecture while also fitting in a side gig as a Seattle Seahawks NFL cheerleader for two years. Then, the pandemic lockdown prompted her to learn coding and she’s now a software engineer for a tech startup in Seattle.
Her ambition and success means that Ms. Rémy has an intimidating pedigree for her suitors to live up to as she continues to whittle down the gentlemen truly worth her time and affections each week on “The Courtship.”
And of course, she’s not alone as she assesses the men at the real North Yorkshire, England palace of Castle Howard. Her perceptive parents, Dr. Claire Spain-Remy and Mr. Claude Remy, are along for the ride to help with their keen perspectives. Their long marriage gives Nicole a clear template for the standards she’s looking for in her own future. And then her sister, Mrs. Danielle "Danie" Baker, and her bestie, Ms. Tessa Cleary, are also present, red flagging any of the candidates who are not making the cut in their estimation.
Having gone through this extraordinarily singular experience, Rémy’s ultimate betrothal remains a mystery until the big finale. But regardless, she learned some valuable life lessons that she hopes viewers will weave into their own lives.
“I want people to take away the fact that this is not traditional, but it's OK to try new things,” she said. “We don't have to do what everybody else is doing right now. You don't have to get on a dating app and feel like that's the only way to date. I think going back in time and sort of living things out in a very simple, simple state allowed me to really focus on my emotions and connections.”
Rémy added getting to turn off her devices and just live in the moment with her family and the suitors was a revelation — and that it is adaptable to everyone’s dating pursuits.
“I didn't have the distractions of the modern world,” she enthused. “I didn't have my cell phone. I didn't have social media. It just felt so pure. If we move away from a lot of those modern-day distractions, I think that we'll be able to develop much more deep and raw connections moving forward.”
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