With the big twist of Season 3 being the addition of the three “cleanskins”, Conor Canning quickly won over Mary Viturino.
“I didn’t know anything about the show,” Conor told 10 play, “I was 29, about to turn 30, and I had been working really hard. I just needed to do something crazy.
“I was at that point in my life where I needed to do something a bit out there,” he said, adding that he had no idea of the show’s format, and hadn’t heard of any of the other cast ahead of walking into Paradise.
“I didn’t know anyone at all, but I think that was great because I was able to just take people on face value and didn’t have any preconceptions about it,” he said.
Mary, meanwhile, was a fan-favourite during her time on Matt Agnew’s season. Her hilarious interviews and commentary were a joy to watch, but heading into Paradise she admitted she was sceptical about the process.
“I was like, you know what I’m going to go in, have some fun, holiday… see what happens,” Mary told 10 play.
“I think it was at the second cocktail party, Conor arrived and the girls had the power. Conor took me for a chat, you didn’t see it on camera but we had a great conversation,” she said about the first moment the pair started to hit it off.
“That first Rose Ceremony I thought I was flat-out going home,” Conor added, “Jake [Ellis] said for me to have a chat with Mary, I thought it was just as friends but we had a really nice conversation.
“It was a genuine surprise when she gave me the rose,” he said.
At the next Bula Banquet, Mary admitted to the table that hers was not a friendship rose, she was keen on Conor.
“I was straight away just like, ‘Hell yeah, this is great!’. The whole experience could continue from there,” he added.
With Mary based in Victoria and Conor in Hobart, after leaving Paradise the pair were seeing each other back and forth between their respective homes until the coronavirus restrictions made that more difficult.
“We did long distance for about four months, just FaceTiming, and then school was about to start, Conor invited me over, and I said yes,” Mary said.
For the last month, the pair have been living together in Hobart, and are still as loved up as they were on their final days in Paradise.
“I was sceptical at first, but when you give people a chance… I don’t care if he’s a cleanskin or if he’s been on the show five times, if you like someone and you have some chemistry, why not?” Mary said.
Though the pair were both surprised at finding such a strong connection in Paradise, at the end of the day both went into the experience with open hearts and genuine intentions.
“I think it doesn’t matter where you meet someone, through dating apps or whatever, you’ll come across people that are casual and you’re going to find other people that are genuine," Conor said.
“For me, it was a brand new experience, but you could pick up on who was genuine and who wasn’t, as most people can probably see. I just think I went into it with an open mind,” he said.
‘It just depends on if the person is going after love or just going after fame, you’re going to get exactly what you want out of Paradise,” Mary agreed.