*The new season of “Million Dollar Matchmaker,” the We TV series from Patti Stanger, aka the Millionaire Matchmaker, returns to WEtv network on August 4th.
This season, Stanger and her team of love gurus take over the Luxe Hotel to take on the toughest cases in matchmaking history yet. Each week, two of the most challenging clients will check into the exclusive Millionaire’s Club. Patti, along with her top matchmakers Maxwell and Candace Smith, will guide the millionaires through an intensive, five-day, crash course to work through their dating issues and to find true love.
Earlier this year, Candace starred in the feature film “My Father, Die” written/directed by Sean Brosnan and produced by Pierce Brosnan, Orian Williams, and Sanja Banic. In 2013, she appeared in the independent film “Gimme Shelter” alongside Rosario Dawson and Vanessa Hudgens. She has also worked opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena in David Ayer’s film “End of Watch,” which debuted at No. 1 opening weekend.
EUR/Electronic Urban Report correspondent Ny MaGee caught up with Candace to dish about the second season— including her dynamic with Patti. She also offers a bit of advice on how we all can survive a nerve-wracking first date.
Check out our conversation below, and get a feel for Candace via the video above.
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Describe the personal fulfillment you receive from being a matchmaker.
Candace: My coaching, in general, is what I find most rewarding. Unlike Patti, I have a psychology degree and I’m a life coach. So I began originally life coaching and matchmaking. My single clients would have issues and seek counsel when it comes to their love life and I slowly began matchmaking and now I continue to life coach, which includes a lot of young women, especially in the pageant system. I coach a lot of young girls ‘cause I was also Miss Ohio from Miss U.S.A., so I coach a lot of girls interested in entertainment or pageants. And then I have my other life-coaching clients. For me, it’s about the person’s overall life. I like to approach my matchmaking, my life-coaching, my love-coaching, from the angle of your overall happiness and health in life — physically, spiritually and mentally. I’m a very big proponent of self-love.
So for me, when it comes to matchmaking, I’ve had clients where I didn’t feel that they were actually ready to be in a healthy happy relationship and that there was some work that they needed to do on their own. Which we would address prior to even thinking about matching them. So that’s what is rewarding to me — is seeing the transitions that people make in their overall life, beyond just finding a partner for them and matching them. One of my first matches, it’s now been 14 years and they just celebrated, two years ago, their 10th anniversary and they have two young children and they check in with me all the time. For me, nothing can be more rewarding than having a positive influence over someone’s overall life.
You have a bigger role this season, so what can viewers look forward to?
Candace: This is what I can tell you, as far as the evolution of the show. When I came on it was the last season on Bravo of ‘Millionaire Matchmaker,’ and the season before me they fired two matchmakers, so I essentially replaced two. I came in and it was not easy. Stepping into the environment and working with Patti and it goes 100 miles per hour but that was the last season with Bravo. Then we moved over to WEtv for our first season and at that point, I was the only matchmaker to return all episodes. There were other matchmakers that would come back for 3 or 4 and that’s it. So that first season at WEtv, I was the only one in all ten episodes and my role got a little bit bigger.
But this time around, again, for three seasons in a row, I’m the only matchmaker to return and be in every episode. We brought on a new matchmaker this season and he’s not even in all the episodes. I have my own episode this season, where you only see Patti and myself throughout the entire episode. Usually, every season of ‘Millionaire Matchmaker’ and now ‘Million Dollar Matchmaker,’ you had four matchmakers and so I kinda feel like I’m the last man standing at this point. I was promoted to senior matchmaker. I have a much bigger role. You will most definitely see more of me and I feel like I have the opportunity to share some of my expertise this season when I haven’t had that opportunity in the past. So I’m excited for it but you never know what goes on in the editing room. But based on filming and based on storylines, my role is a lot bigger this season.
Why do you think people turn to matchmaking?
Candace: I would say people turn to matchmakers for the personalized approach. Most people are online at the moment and that’s a completely saturated market. People are meeting people based on profile photos and a couple of bio tidbits. When I match people, I go so-so much deeper. From your religious and spiritual background, your birth or astrological sign, your education, your overall approach to life. I think about who could be a potential match for you, and you’re not going to get that kind of personalized approach with a lot of the online dating.
And then also, most people need coaching through the process. A lot of people don’t know how to date. A lot of people do not know how to be a partner in a relationship, especially in today’s age because of how gender roles have changed and our society is changed. If you go back even 50 years, the progress that women have made, professionally and personally. So there’s been a lot of shift in the dynamics between men and woman along with changes in our society and that throws a lot of people off, as far as the role of the man, the woman — how you come together, how you create a household., how you support one another.
So, people turn to matchmaking not only for that personalized service but also for coaching throughout this process. I coach people before they even go on their first date. And we go over what’s important on a first date. How you should approach a date. Do’s and Don’ts, and a lot of people don’t even think about this. And once you start dating and once you’re in that relationship, a lot of people still need the coaching. So I think that’s one plus for working with a matchmaker.
Has this show resulted in an increase in demand for your services?
Candace: For me, Patti has her company, and she’ll ask for my assistance and I’ll come over and assist Patti with her matchmaking business. A lot of time she just needs assistance from me when it comes to her database. For my business, the show has definitely increased the number of clients I get and that includes life coaching clients as well as matchmaking. And a lot of times there’s an overlay that happens, where someone will come to me and say “I NEED A BOYFRIEND!” and I have to stop them cause my approach is, I go a lot deeper. I wanna know who you are, are you happy are there some voids in your life and you’re seeking affirmation from the wrong places, do you want this relationship to fill a void, and if so, let’s address that void first. So again, that’s my process but the show has definitely helped me and my business just because of the exposure and word of mouth as well. But I’m excited about this season because you’ll see a lot more of me.
In terms of you and Patti’s dynamic this season, what can viewers expect? Is your approach to matching couples similar?
Candace: Okay, I’m a very candid person… Patti and I are very different, in a lot of respects. She enters matchmaking, as she says, a third generation matchmaker and she had worked for a matchmaking company. I’m entering this with a Bachelors of Art in Psychology, a minor in media communications and a Doctorate. So, of course, our approach is going to be different because of my education and expertise, as well as varied life experience. I speak two languages. I’ve traveled extensively and immersed myself in so many cultures. I’ve done a lot in my life, as well as being a successful model, actress, and producer. I passed the bar exam on the first try. So, not to brag about myself, but I feel like my approach is so different because of my education and varied life experience.
I think any great matchmaker or coach is someone who has knowledge in a lot of different areas, psychology definitely helps a lot. But having been a part of such prestigious networks in my life, I know that gives me an advantage when it comes to matchmaking because I have so much to pick from and I’ve been exposed to so much. I can have such a great understanding of all my clients and potential matches. I’ve worked really hard and had a very colorful life. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. So I think I am able to relate to so much when it comes to our clients and also to approach their love lives, or their life, from a very broad perspective that’s fresh.
I actually was just brought on to a new E! show, called ‘The Platinum Life.’ It’s some great black female producers doing this show and they were looking for a matchmaker to come on. There was a young girl, beautiful girl, she’s been on TV and her love life has been in disarray. She was hooked on this super successful rapper and they wanted me to come in and match her. So the producers contacted me and I was very honored that I’m now being acknowledged as an expert in that field.
And they asked me to come on and help this girl with her love life and match her and it was an opportunity for me, without any other matchmaker there interjecting, to do my thing. And producers were knocked out because I asked for a lot of information prior to filming, that I’m sure they thought was just trivial. And they’re just like, why does she need to know her zodiac sign? Why does she need to know how she was raised — as far as religion or spirituality or what city is she from and is she the youngest. So I asked for all this information prior to shooting the scene and it was an amazing experience. All of the producers were like, “Oh, my gosh…. who are you?” And the girl thought I was psychic. She cried. She was like, “How do you know all of this about me and my past relationships?” Where as they probably envisioned that scene being me going, “Oh, my God… blah blah blah… Okay, you’re a cutie. Let me match you up with somebody. You probably need this age range. Do you like black? Do you like white?” It was more so, “Okay, Alicia. Let me make sure I understand who you are and what’s been going on with you spiritually, emotionally and mentally and where you want to be and how we need to get there.” It was amazing because I finally got to do my thing.
So it means a lot to me ‘cause I’ve been doing this off camera. A lot of people that come on these shows, they’re not actually experts. They’re just models or actresses and in the past, there was a lot of that on their show. They were people who worked in a stationery store or bartenders, and not to knock them, but are you actually coaching? Do you actually have any credentials? So I think with me, out of all the matchmakers in the past, I actually have it and I do it, which has caused friction between me and Patti.
She’s kinda used to just extras being brought on this show as backup to just agree with everything she’s saying, like a hype man in a concert. Where as when I came on the show I actually had something of substance to contribute in scenes with clients and she was like, “WHAT!…Who are you and how do you know this?” So that has made it difficult with Patti. But the point being is, for me to finally get some type of acknowledgment as an expert in this field has been big for me and that’s been happening lately.
So yeah, I’ve gotten more from this show now but the most important takeaway for me has been finally being acknowledged as an expert in the field when it comes to matchmaking and love and life coaching because I am. And it’s a little frustrating for me when people look at me as an actress on this show.
Lastly, a bit of advice for our readers. As you know, people can ruin a first date because they say the wrong thing or overshare details about their personal life that may be a turn-off. So, what tips can you offer regarding how to properly converse on a first date, for both men and women?
Candace: I suggest, when entering a first date, your approach should be, “I’m going to meet a new potential friend.” That’s it. So what do you want to know about a potential new best friend? You want to know if you guys click. The foundation for any amazing relationship is a strong good friendship. What a lot of people miss when they begin dating is the incompatibility can be noticeable very early on but most people look at the package, what’s on paper. Would we look good in an Instagram post? What’s my resume, what’s your resume? Oh, you’re educated too? None of that matters when it comes to truly connecting and being compatible with a partner. You want to be compatible with someone who can be your best friend because that’s what’s going to be the anchor 5, 10 years from now. And it takes away that unnecessary anxiety and stress and you’re no longer trying to pretend to be what you think that other person wants. You just want to figure out if you guys can be friends. If you can’t, walk away. If you don’t see the potential of this being like, your homie that you want to hang out with, end it. For me, my man is my best friend. We laugh all day long. He gets my quirky side. I’m eccentric. He knows who I am and he loves who I am. So that’s my biggest advice, just enter it from a casual, “I just want to see if we can be best friends one day.” That’s it.
Tune in to the new season of “Million Dollar Matchmaker” August 4 on WEtv.