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From the moment the first batch of episodes dropped on Netflix, fans speculated which blonde Love Is Blind star was the runaway bride from the show’s trailer. Shown tearing away from the altar through the rain, sobbing in her heels, the shot promised drama, heartbreak, and chaos. All of these are elements of a good reality dating show—but at whose expense?

The wedding finale, which landed on Netflix early Thursday morning, revealed that it was Giannina Gibelli who wound up with streaked makeup and a soiled dress on her wedding day.

In the first few episodes, Gibelli and her fiancé Damian Powers seemed one of the show’s couples most likely to make it—they landed in paradise and immediately embraced their physical connection while other couples struggled. But in a few short episodes, they went from a seemingly sweet couple to the show’s epicenter of drama, with explosive fights in front of their fellow castmates, miscommunications galore, and a deep-cut Oscar-worthy confession, delivered with perfect dramatic cadence:

“You know how you tell me this is the best sex of your life? (Beat.) Have you noticed (Beat.) that I don’t return the compliment? (Beat.) I dont say it’s the best sex of my life, too?”

Ouch.

Damian definitely got back at Gibelli for that dig with his heartbreaking rejection of her at the altar. The disaster that became their wedding was by far the most emotional spectacle of the bunch, and Netflix absolutely capitalized on that, using the footage—which felt too intimate, wrong for us to watch as entertainment—as both the climax of the trailer as well as the cliffhanger of last week’s batch of episodes.

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Giannina delivers her burn to Damian, in bed.

Netflix

We spoke to Gibelli last week about what it’s been like watching herself on the show, what really happened with Damian’s parents, and what she’s been up to for the past year and a half. But there was one subject she was slightly…cryptic about. When we asked if she’s had any new love interests in her life since the show wrapped filming, she responded with “No new love interests, no. Just the same one.”

The same one as…when?

Is Gibelli hinting that her and Powers are now back together after their messy finale non-wedding? The ring she’s wearing in an Instagram posted the day before the finale, February 26th, sure looks an awful lot like her engagement ring from the show.

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She is, however, wearing it on her right hand. Maybe a symbol of friendship? Is she just messing with us? We’ll find out for sure at the Love Is Blind reunion, which airs on Netflix’s YouTube channel on March 5th. But for now, grab your detective cap and read on.

ESQUIRE: I really loved your proposal back to Damian. Anyone who wants to should be able to propose.

Giannina Gibelli: Thank you! I think the same thing. I had no idea I was gonna do it, but it was what I felt in the moment.

Have you been watching the show?

Oh yeah, definitely. Overall I’m really happy with it. I wasn’t expecting so many people to identify with it, you know? To see how we got to fall in love, and to make these decisions, and it’s so interesting how people just really caught on to it. I really appreciate that. Every single time we were in the pods, we would just tell each other like, no one’s ever gonna understand this, no one’s ever gonna get it. So it’s nice to know that people have.

What do you think about the way your relationship has been portrayed?

It’s very real. I don’t feel like it was portrayed in an unrealistic way. I think it was exactly what it was, and I think so many people go through challenges or obstacles related to that, not exactly in the way that we did, but people can always identify with it. Like, hey, it’s okay that we get into fights, it’s okay if we don’t agree on things, it’s just about how strong your love is. Overall I’m really happy with it.

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Giannina and Damian quickly embraced their physical connection in Mexico.

Netflix

Have you been reading your Instagram comments?

On my own page, yeah. And I am so overwhelmed and joyous and grateful. It’s really humbling, I really never thought that people would take to me. I always felt misunderstood and not heard growing up, so the fact that people are listening, are enjoying the relationship between me and Damian, it’s refreshing. I’m glad that I was proven wrong.

How did your family feel about the whole experience? I know they flew in. It must have been a big deal for them.

Yeah, I mean, I’m a product of my parents. They’re just as free spirited, just as open, just as opinionated as I am, so I don’t think they were surprised at all when I told them that I was doing this. And they were fully there to support me. They really liked how they saw me with Damian, they read vibes just like I do, so they liked his energy, they were really just supportive and they still are to this day, which is amazing.

That’s awesome. Was the wedding hard for them?

Oh yeah. My mom especially. She says to this day it pains her to see her baby up there being rejected like that. And she’s my mom, she’s just gonna be the most supportive and on my side as much as possible.

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Giannina’s mother chases after her.

Netflix

Did you ever end up getting a chance to meet Damian’s family? That was kind of left unsaid.

No, not before the wedding. I did not get that chance.

Were his parents at the wedding?

His parents were not there.

Did they just not approve of the show? Do you know the situation?

Yeah, it’s just the show. It sucks that they didn’t want to, but they knew they’d have no control over how they were gonna be portrayed. None of us did. So it was like, we’re just not gonna put ourselves in that situation. And I totally get that.

Were you expecting the wedding day to go the way it did at all?

No! I had zero clue as to what was gonna happen that day. I really, you know, I was just hoping for the best. I definitely was caught off guard.

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Netflix

How do you think it’ll feel watching that on Netflix and knowing the world will be too?

I’m bracing myself. Honestly, I was more scared about how people would react to my fiery side. Because it’s real, it’s raw, I have no filter. When I’m angry, I let it out. And that was the part that I was most nervous about, and honestly it’s the part that I’m the most grateful about, cause that’s so real. And every single time, I always tear up when I see two things: When I see myself running into Damian’s arms for the first time, and when I see myself running out of the wedding. So, yeah, I don’t know how I’m gonna react when I see all of that, but I’ll be okay. I’m strong. I went through it once, I’ll be okay.

It’s been a while, right? You filmed over a year ago?

Yeah, a year and a half ago. It feels like forever. Honestly, I think timing is perfect. I think it was the best to have that break in between.

Are you guys still in touch at all? You and Damian?

Yeah, we are. We talk all the time.

Are you friends with the rest of the cast, too?

Yeah, we all have a group chat, we call it the Pod Squad. Like I said, we’re the only ones who truly understand the experience that we went through, so we all support each other in that way. I love all the girls.

Did it surprise you which other couples ended up together and which didn’t?

Honestly, I thought everyone was going to end up together. Just because of how we all felt in the pods. Of course I only knew of what was going on in my own relationship after we got out of the pods, but I thought everyone was going to end up together.

What’s your love life like today? Any new love interests?

No new love interests, no. Just the same one.

And what else have you been up to since you wrapped filming?

I finally focused on my own happiness. I was working so, so much as a retail business owner and I stopped doing that the beginning of last year and I went through quite a few career changes. But it was amazing because I was able to take time off and recollect and do so much soul-searching. I dabbled in being creative again, which makes me the happiest. I just really took care of myself. It was definitely a year of growth for me. Are you married or engaged? I was going to say you should try it.

Would you recommend anyone single to go on this show?

Absolutely. What I learned from this whole experience is you learn so much about yourself, the things that you value, how you are as a person, and how you love, and that in itself was worth it. And the fact that I was able to connect with someone else was a double jackpot because I fell in love with myself and then I fell in love with someone else. But even if you don’t end up meeting the love of your life, you can definitely learn a new appreciation for yourself. That’s wonderful.

Do you think you’re also learning while watching yourself?

Oh yeah. Watching this is just like, “Oh, now I get it. I can finally stop being so stubborn and defensive.” I’m just growing from it. I took down that wall, so now it’s okay to be wrong, it’s okay to better yourself, it’s okay to admit your mistakes. Even in ways that I thought I was right. So I’m really grateful that I get to see the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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