Sandy Jawanda On What Life Is Like One Year After 'Married At First Sight'

“Now that I've gone through the crazy journey of MAFS, I feel ready for anything.”

Married At First Sight star Sandy Jawanda at the 2023 Logie Awards

As the drama on the current season of Married At First Sight ramps up, it’s hard not to wonder what previous cast members have been up to. Have their on-screen arranged marriages lasted? Have they gone on to find love elsewhere? Has reality TV fame had an impact on their personal and professional lives? 

For 2023 cast member Sandy Jawanda, the past 12 months have been tumultuous to say the very least. While appearing on MAFS provided an opportunity for Jawanda to explore herself and her approach to dating, she also faced a new reality – strangers recognising her face after a relationship with a stranger went sour on national television. 

“2023 was a difficult year for me,” the Punjabi Australian tells Draw Your Box. “I think that I was a little naive and did not expect the impact of MAFS not only on my everyday life but also my mental health.” 

The Melbourne-based dental health professional was paired with Dan Hunjas on the Channel 9 reality show, however the pair called time on their TV marriage during filming due to different priorities in a relationship, and an apparent lack of trust and connection. The breakup wasn’t easy, and when asked if she’s kept in contact with Hunjas, her response is very telling. “Dan who?” she asks. 

“I took a break from dating last year. I thought I was ready to put myself back out there, but I can't seem to rip the bandaid off,” says Jawanda. “I have travel plans this year, and would love to focus more of my efforts on my career.” 

While she may not have found her happily ever after on the show, Jawanda says it has taught her a lot. She’s always happy to give other MAFS contestants advice on how to deal with the unique experience. Some of 2024 MAFS cast members even reached out to her before appearing on the show. 

“Stay true to yourself, stand in your power,” she says. “It's sad to say but try to be realistic and remind yourself that no matter how much you wanted this or hoped that the person at the end of the aisle is your true match, not everyone's intentions are genuine or authentic. Do yourself a favour and walk away if you know it's not right.” 

MAFS star Sandy Jawanda

Sandy Jawanda. Image Source: Instagram/sandyjawanda

South Asians appearing on reality TV dating shows is still somewhat of a rarity in Australia. However, we’re gradually seeing more brown faces in this genre, including Aarthi on The Bachelor, Niranga Amarasinghe on The Bachelorette, and Ari Kumar on Love Island. Most recently, we saw Collins Christian on the current season of MAFS.

“It's always nice to see diversity on our screens and I'm glad South Asians are putting themselves out there and daring to be bold and hopefully paving a path for others too,” says Jawanda. 

Speaking of diversity, Jawanda now hopes to direct her energy towards helping increase South Asian representation in Australian media “if the opportunity presents itself”.

“Representation is so important and I hope to contribute to more of that in a positive way. I'll be doing some keynote speaking this year around empowering other women,” she shares.

“Now that I've gone through the crazy journey of MAFS, I feel ready for anything.”