MAFS couple look forward to ‘real’ marriage
AFTER their test run wedding, Aussie TV's favourite couple Jules Robinson and Cameron Merchant are looking forward to their real life nuptials and the moment they can truly call each other husband and wife.
The couple met as strangers on reality TV's social experiment, Married At First Sight, in September and have been inseparable ever since.
In fact, they have been living together since December - after the show wrapped filming but months before fans came to know them on screen.
"We've had a couple of test runs," Robinson tells BW Magazine, sitting down for a
break from a photo shoot at Sydney's QT Hotel.
"I want it to be intimate, with all of my favourite people, but I do want it to be a spectacular wedding. That is just me. I am all or nothing, so bring out the fireworks, I say."
Merchant adds: "Our original wedding was absolutely beautiful. It just had a great vibe and feel to it. It is going to be very similar to something like that."
The couple hosted an engagement party in Sydney last month and are now planning the wedding "towards the end of the year".
It is the season for reality TV weddings, with The Bachelor couple Matty Johnson and Laura Byrne announcing their engagement this week.
For their wedding, Robinson, 37, wants to wear two dresses and her father, Peter, will walk her down the aisle.
She will have five bridesmaids, two of whom will be flying in from the UK, where Robinson spent 14 years of her life.
"In my head I want rolling hills, a big marquee, something outdoor with loads of fairy lights - just really beautiful and magical," she says.
"If our engagement party was anything to go from, this will be like a festival."
Whatever way you look at the figures, Married At First Sight was a ratings phenomenon with more than 3.6 million Australians tuning in to Channel 9 for the show's final episode last month.
The series packed plenty of drama, with cheating scandals, hook-ups and spectacular bust-ups. Throughout, Robinson and Merchant remained rock solid - although some people questioned the legitimacy of their relationship because they were, simply, too nice.
"Nothing changed (after the show)," Merchant says.
"That's what people are obviously basing their thoughts and comments on, questioning if we are real. From the day we met each other and got married, it had its natural progression and we kept the recipe for communication exactly the same."
BW Magazine can confirm that the couple are very much together and share a rented two-bedroom apartment in Double Bay, where Robinson lived alone before MAFS.
"It is like coming up for air now," she says of the show coming to an end.
"It is like we can breathe again. We were fortunate enough to have a fantastic and positive experience from day one. It has been great but now we look forward to being an everyday couple.
"For me, it just feels like something I did and I met my one and I am so grateful for that."
Robinson is a beauty business manager, while Merchant, 37, was a professional sportsman and now works as a mentor and educator.
Despite rumours and speculation from magazines that she is carrying twins, as well as being photographed while shopping at a baby shop, Robinson is not pregnant.
In truth, her brother, Rob, and his wife, Rachel, welcomed twins a month ago and the baby outfits she was shopping for were gifts for them.
"If you believe what you read, I have had like 10 babies already," she says with a laugh.
"I would like to have twins but I am not pregnant. We are really enjoying almost like being a new couple. Everything is having new experiences with each other, so we will get married and, we have both discussed, by the time the end of the year comes round, we will have been together for over a year in September so we will take it from there."
Kids are definitely on the cards but it is most likely they won't try until next year.
"There is no rush, we are just taking it as it is," Merchant says.
"We both want to be parents, it will be a beautiful thing. When the timing is right, it
Laughing off the pregnancy rumours, Robinson jokes that she's never been able to "get away with things" because of her distinct red hair, which has made it difficult to steer clear of paparazzi.
The last time the pair were able to go out unrecognised was New Year's Day, before the TV series premiered.
"We had the biggest, fun day ever and no one knew who we were, so it was our last day out before people began to recognise us," she said.
"I took him to Stonewall and educated him on the gay world, he loved it."
With her 40th birthday just a few years off, Robinson signed up for the TV experiment after worrying she would never find her forever partner.
"I went in there looking for the love of my life and I found that," she says.
"As much as I tried to have it all together and had so much going on in my life, I was really confident, but in the back of my mind I'd have that feeling of maybe it wasn't going to happen for me.
"So when women say that to me, that they want this fairytale romance that everyone has seen, that is the most positive outcome.
"People have come up to me on the street and told me they are my age and that I have given them faith to find love. For me, that is the best thing I can possibly connect to another woman about, because I know that feeling."
Looking ahead, outside of wedding planning, the couple is open to whatever opportunities their new-found fame might bring.
Robinson will launch a shapewear line called Figur by Jules and is aspiring to collaborate and create a clothing line.
"My brand is not just for curvy women, it is for all women of different shapes and sizes to feel beautiful in their clothes," Robinson, who wears a size 12 to 14, says.
"I like my curves. I embrace my body and I like wearing things to accentuate that.
"I am not afraid to flaunt it and I have had a lot of women contact me asking where I get my clothes from, so there is a market out there for women who have that small waist, big hips and boobs."
Merchant will continue mentoring through his love of sport and has found a new passion for presenting and entertainment.
"Cricket has been my life. Without cricket, I would not be doing what I am doing so I want to continue down that path," he says.
"But I love all sports and, coming out of the experiment, I have realised it is not just sport but entertaining. So if a camera, TV or radio thing came up, that is something I would really enjoy."
His fitness and athletic performance compression brand, Athleform, continues to grow and is another way that he hopes to support and nurture "the wellness side of things for youngsters, and males in general".
He'd also like to start his own men's health charity one day.