Exclusive Interview with Temptation Island’s Johnny Alexander

In case you didn’t read my previous article, Temptation Island is one of the best reality TV shows this year. The reboot of the beloved Fox hit from the early 2000s follows four dating couples at the most vulnerable time in their relationship. They travel together to Maui, but are soon split apart as they move into separate houses with 12 attractive singles of the opposite sex. At the end of the show, each couple will decide whether to stay together, leave the island with someone new, or leave completely alone.

Johnny Alexander is one of the singles on this current season of the show. A chiropractor from New Jersey, Johnny came to Temptation Island with nothing to lose as he opens himself up to the possibility of a connection. I got the chance to talk with Johnny about how he got cast on the show, what initially attracted him to Kady, why it’s important to him to be so open and responsive with fans on social media, his nerdy interest in chiropractic treatment in concussion protocols and so much more. Keep reading to see what he had to say!

Tell me a little bit about how you got cast on the show.

I used to live in Baltimore and I was dating a girl and one of her friends was asked to do Love Connection with Andy Cohen. So I had moved back to New York City and they asked her if she knew any single guys in the area. So I get a random Instagram message from the casting producer about doing Love Connection. They were like, “Hey man, you want to do this blind date in New York City? We can push your application through. It’s going to be quick.” So I did Love Connection last June and I met a bunch of the cast and crew and we just kind of kept in touch on social media and stuff.

So I guess it was last August, I got a phone call from one of the [producers] being like, “Hey, we’re looking for couples that want to go on this show called Temptation Island.” They explained the premise. And I was like, “Yeah, that sounds absolutely insane.” I could not imagine any of my friends bringing their girlfriends or boyfriends to an experience like that. But we just kind of left it at that. Then three weeks later, the guy calls me back and he’s like, “Hey Johnny, you still want to get in the mix for Temptation Island?” And I’m like, “Yeah, are you guys going to give me a fake girlfriend or how we doing this? Cause I’ve been single for like three years.” And he was like, “No, actually we’re looking for single guys that kind of fit your profile. So if you’re down, we’ll push you down to the end of the line with casting, fly you to LA and [you’ll] do this casting interview.” So I figured why not? I have nothing to lose. I jumped on a plane and went out to LA. I guess there was a couple of hundred people that applied, but they liked me. I left there on a Sunday, they called me on Tuesday and they were like, “we’re going to fly you to Hawaii in two weeks.” So it just kind of happened real quick.

Prior to Love Connection, did you ever have a desire to do reality TV or was it just a situation where Love Connection happened and that spiraled into Temptation Island?

Yeah, not even close. I grew up in New Jersey, probably about an hour from where Jersey Shore was filmed and there was a lot of ongoing jokes when I was in college about how I should have been on Jersey Shore. But I’ve been so career oriented up until this point; I was in grad school for four years after college and then I was working in Baltimore, so I really never thought I would have been able to take the time away from my career to be able to do something like this. Then fast forward to last year, I started my own business. Kind of like an entrepenuer, I make my own schedule. So I guess I’m finally at a point in my life professionally where I could do something like this. So Love Connection was obviously a easier commitment. It was just a quick weekend trip to LA and right back. Temptation Island was a whole different experience. I had to plan ahead; I had to get everybody set up with other PTs in my office and, you know, it’s tough not having a cell phone for a month when you run your own business. So it was definitely a crazy experience, but I’m happy I did it.

Obviously Temptation Island is a reboot of the show from the early 2000s. Were you familiar with that version at all? If you weren’t, did you try to go back and find old episodes to see what twists and turns they might throw at you while you were there?

Yeah. So the crazy thing is that I remember the original Temptation Island on Fox from when I was in high school. All I can remember is that my mom liked it and I watched a couple of episodes and there was this really, crazy attractive red-head girl on there. But when I tried to YouTube it, cause I was like let’s see if I can find how this ends up, all I could find were these [international] versions. There’s one in the UK, one down south in South America somewhere. So I guess the show had been rebooted in other countries and had success and that’s why eventually they brought it back to the United States. But there was such short amount of time. I mean I literally had about ten days between when I found out I was going and when I left, so I couldn’t actually watch anything and prepare for it. So I really wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into until I got there.

Did that make it nerve racking though or were you just like, “you know what, I’m going to go experience this. And if I don’t like it, well then it was an experience”?

For sure. I felt like I had nothing to lose going there as a single guy. I felt like the worst case scenario was that I went, I didn’t like any of the girls, I met some cool people from around the country, I got to go to Hawaii for the first time in my life and then I come back. So I kind of went in to it with an open mind. I didn’t really think that there was much negative stuff that could come out of it, as long as I stayed true to myself and wasn’t trying to be any crazy TV personality.

When I got there, I didn’t realize how serious it was going to be as far as the couples go. I knew they were going to be real couples, real relationships. But I didn’t foresee all the drama with some of them being eight years into a relationship, some of them waiting for an engagement ring, some of them having pasts where they were cheating and stuff. I mean a lot of people who don’t watch the show think it’s fake couples and fake relationships, but I mean these girls and these guys are literally getting their lives torn apart. I wasn’t prepared for that for sure.

So kind of going into the actual show, the first real week you got to go out on a date with Kady. What was it about her that you found attractive and in what ways did you guys connect right off the bat?

We walked to the first mixer and the host [Mark L. Walberg] said you’re going to have an opportunity to meet these girls and get to know each one of them. Off the bat, Shari and I didn’t really get along and we kind of had a little tiff the first couple of minutes we talked. So I figured, “okay now I’m down to three.” I talked to Nicole and I think I was the most physically attracted to her. But I could kind of get the sense that she was going to be a tough cookie. Then, physically, I don’t think I was her type [and] she gravitated towards Tyler right from the start. So when I first had that first date with Kady, we had this amazing conversation where I felt like her personality and my personality just really lined up. She seemed super adventurous. She seemed to be just kind of a down-for-whatever person, which is the way that I am. Usually when I date girls, they’re more of that safe type, where they’re are not as adventurous so I need to push them to do stuff. With Kady, she was looking for something a little bit bigger, somebody to go out with and travel with and just enjoy life with. I really enjoyed chatting with her and was like, “Maybe her and I can click.” I figured even if we weren’t going to end up together long term, there was no way that her and I wouldn’t go on a date and not have a fun time. So I really just started focusing on her mostly after the first date.

Kind of going off of that, after that first date, there was like two or three weeks where we barely saw you let alone what was going on with you and Kady at that point. So what was going on with you guys? I mean I guess you guys were hanging out a lot and building that connection…

Yeah, I talked to Kady like two weeks ago and she was laughing because she was like, “it’s kind of crazy that they haven’t shown much of us connecting at the house.” Because people are going to watch episode two, think “okay. These guys had an amazing date.” And then, I wasn’t in episode three or four very much. [Instead] they showed her connecting with Wynn and Carlos. Then boom, in episode 5, she picks me for another date and it seems like from that point we were pretty much inseparable. So it was a little weird for sure.

But I think that they needed to show that she was open to meeting other guys. I told her from the start, “I want you to date a couple of guys and have this experience. Live this up, because you owe it to yourself to really get to know all these guys because they’re such good dudes.” So I was happy that she picked two other guys for dates. But I really wanted to go on a second date with her when it came time. Her and I had the connection at the pool and at the house. I’m kind of an alpha male guy. I live on my own, I own my own business, I cook every day, I clean, I have a very strong personality. There were several times where I was cooking and she would come in to the kitchen, sit down and have a glass of wine and we would talk about real life stuff. But I guess some of that wasn’t as interesting as some of the other stuff for TV, but I think that kind of proves that I do have some of the right stuff long term that she was attracted to.

Speaking of other guys, I mean I know you addressed it a couple of times IG lives, but for those who maybe aren’t as tuned into to your social media, what did you think of the Wynn barging into Kady’s room while you guys were trying to go to bed situation from this past week’s episode.

[laughs] Yeah, it was creepy. I mean to this day, he swears that she told him to come back at night. Kady says that she did not. He says he didn’t know there was another guy in the room. But he definitely knew there was another guy in the room cause he opened the door and I’m sitting on the bed. So I don’t really know what was going through his mind at that point. I think it was more of a desperation shot and I think he realized that she had a connection with me and just kind of threw up a hail mary. I think at that point, you know, if I’m going to bed with her, I think that conversation could have waited for a better time.

Yeah, I definitely agree. But speaking of the IG lives, one of the reasons I know I’ve personally gotten more invested in the show as it’s gone on is how accessible and responsive you and the rest of the cast have been on social media. Why is it so important to you to be as open and honest about your life and what you’ve gone through on the show on social media?

Yeah, I think that that’s honestly been one of my favorite parts of this experience: being able to go episode to episode with people that are invested in it and reach out to me on Instagram, mostly, and Facebook. I want to make sure that people know that these are real couples and I’m really chiropractor in New York City. I’m not a TV actor and I don’t have acting experience. I think in the beginning, people said, “Okay, this is a reality show. They’re going to play the drama up, they’re going to make people do things they don’t want to do and say things they don’t want to say,” and none of that is really true. I mean yeah, the producers get in your head about saying some stuff and doing some stuff that you may not want to. But ultimately at the end of day, it’s your decision; they really can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do. I’m proud of who I am, what I did on the show and what I’ve done in real life, so I’m happy to connect with fans. There have been some people who have reached out to me that have said my situation is very relatable and they commend me for the way that I’ve handled it. So that’s nice to hear, just some reaffirmation that the way that I handled things was the right way to do it. I love talking to the fans. I think it only helps that this show is making a comeback because I feel like since it is a new show, it’s going to take a little bit more to get people investing in it. So anything you can do to kind of get your name out there at this point, it’s great.

Yeah, like I said, that’s been my favorite part so far. It’s just fun seeing who’s going live after the episode and who all is going live the day after. They are really fun to watch. You guys do a good job with engaging with the fans.

Yeah. I went live with Kady last week and there was like 500 people in there. I mean that’s just a really cool experience to have people in her life watching, people in my live watching it and people that don’t know either of us personally tuning in. It’s tough to talk to them without giving spoilers, but at the same time, we can address stuff that’s happened on the show and be honest about the way things went down; I think everybody appreciates that.

I’m curious: from these first seven episodes, is there a moment from filming that didn’t air that you wish that we, as viewers, had gotten to see, whether it was something that happened on one of your dates or something that just happened in the mountain villa?

Great question. My third date with Kady, we went to the Black Rock in Maui; I think in the beginning of episode seven, you can see us jumping off the top of the cliff. The lead up to that was amazing. Kady and I were both kind of disappointed that more of that didn’t make it to TV. I mean that was honestly the best date I’ve ever had in my entire life. We get to this beach, we have no idea what we’re doing. They hand us water shoes, point at this cliff and say, “Hey, you see that rock over there? You guys are going to climb it. And when you get to the top, you’re going to just jump off.” There was no path; it was literally just rocks. We get to the top, her and I were both afraid of heights, and the camera guys were getting set up. So they made us stand at the top of those black rocks for 15-20 minutes, [and we’re] trying not to look down. We were trying not to give into that fear. Once we hit the water, they gave us a couple of minutes to be alone without the cameras, which was romantic. I think that that was a turning point for her and I.

So without giving away the ending, are you happy with how things ended on the show for you? Do you have any regrets about your time on the show?

I have no regrets about my time on the show. I think I did everything I could to open her eyes to what her relationship was missing without pushing her. If you watch, [you’ll see that] I’ve been making sure that I haven’t been making any of the first moves; I’m letting her come to me. I’m not pushing her to break up with John. I haven’t said a bad word about John or her relationship [with him]. I think she trashes him a little bit and I don’t think that’s right. But I’ve never been one to throw another man, that I don’t know, under the bus. I think if I had said stuff about John, watching these episodes and seeing him cry and seeing the stuff that she said about him in her interviews might hurt me a little bit. But, I handled myself with class and I don’t regret anything that I did so I’m super happy with the way that it all worked it out.

I know you guys didn’t get to know any of the single girls while you were filming, but have you gotten to know any of them since filming wrapped?

Yeah, for sure. After we left Maui, definitely just through social media I connected with a lot of them. I haven’t had in-depth conversations with many of them, but just through some of the Facebook and Instagram stuff, I’ve talked to Katheryn, I talked to Rachel, I’ve talked to Morgan. I think some of the crap Morgan has been given for the postition she’s in with Evan sucks. There was some racist stuff thrown at her, people think that she’s a home-wrecker and are calling her a whore. I just don’t think that’s right. She was basically there for the same reasons I went there. Nothing to lose, just a single person, looking to meet somebody. She and Evan made a connection and Evan decided that he’s going to push that limit with her. People are blaming her for it and I don’t think that’s right. So I reached out to Morgan a lot of times; we’re pretty good friends this point. Even though I’m really good friends with Kaci, I don’t blame [Morgan] for the things that happened on the show. But yeah, I definitely got to talk to at least three or four the single girls and I would consider myself pretty good friends with them. Ali and Jeffri, I think are both pretty funny girls. They’ll tweet some stuff at me here and there. My personality is just super outgoing so I don’t think that there’s any reason that I can’t be friends with them.

Speaking of Morgan real quick. I know a lot of people have, at least on Twitter, compared your situation that’s now happening with Kady to that situation [with Morgan and Evan]. Have you gotten the same level of backlash that she has or is hers just worse for whatever reason?

I’ve been waiting for it, honestly. After the episode where I slept in Kady’s room for the first time, I think somebody posted in that Facebook group [Temptation Island: The Bonfire], “Waiting for the crowd to turn on Johnny like they did with Morgan.” But somebody had an amazing comment right back and they were like, “Johnny has handled himself with class this whole time.” I think it’s different because I think the [single] girls are maybe a little more aggressive. But so far, people have not really come at me because they haven’t seen me trashing John at all. I think that if I had gone out there and said, “John’s a pussy. I’m an alpha male,” I think that a lot of people would be like, “This guy’s heart is breaking and Kady’s going to cheat on him and she doesn’t deserve him.” But I think that because of the way I handled things with John and I never, from the start, put him under the bus at all, I think people respect me for that and then they realized that I had good intentions. I didn’t really want to hurt anybody.

Last question — our website is called talk nerdy with us because we all have an inner nerd. So what is something that you are currently nerding out about?

[laughs] I’m a huge science nerd. My whole background is sports medicine and sports science. This is going to sound really weird, but I’m nerding out about the use of chiropractic treatment in concussion protocols, specifically with football players.

Interesting. What about it specifically, just because of your background or is there something specific about it?

This might be a little too nerdy for you.

Go for it.

There’s a place called the Carrick Institute, which is Dr. Ted Carrick[‘s], he’s a chiropractor and he basically became famous for starting this concussion-based study where he took famous athletes from around the country… like Sidney Crosby is one of the best hockey players, maybe the best hockey player in the world, and has missed a significant amount of his career due to concussions and several head injuries. So they are testing these athletes in these stimulators, similar to the way astronauts are tested before going to space. They are doing all sorts of studies on the brain and upper cervical injuries. As a chiropractor, we treat the head, the neck, the spine, the nervous system, the soft tissue, the muscles. Nowadays, I think the last five, six years, there has been a huge focus on concussions in football. The NFL has been looking for more alternative treatments for concussion and prevention of concussions, so  not just [with] the helmet but also the treatment, like chiropractic and physical therapy. I think that that’s amazing, so I’m diving into that head first right now.

Temptation Island airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on USA. You can follow Johnny on Twitter and Instagram.

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