I Watched New Reality Show ‘I Kissed a Girl’ and I Liked It

Last year, when the BBC launched I Kissed a Boy, a show claiming to be the UK’s first dating show featuring all queer men, I did a bit of a double take. Kissed a boy? Had they really misheard the second-most queerbaiting song in pop history* so badly they’d gender flipped it?

Fortunately, the follow-up series is putting things right, and for the first time on British TV we are getting a reality dating show providing 100% guaranteed lesbian drama, because its cast is 100% queer women!

As the title suggests, I Kissed A Girl follows a very snog-centric format: Ten women are matched into couples, with the central gimmick being that the first time they meet, they must greet each other tongue-first! As a viewer, we get a whole thirty seconds or so of the couple walking through the sun-drenched Italian countryside while they reveal the deep, critical details they find attractive in a partner, such as “edgy” or “cheeky.” Finally, they meet poolside at The Masseria**, for an artful smooch to a soundtrack of Sam Smith, Tegan and Sara, etc. before moving onto fripperies such as discovering each others’ name and picking a date for their wedding.

This format left me with a few questions. TV shoots are not exactly quick — did they really snog just the once? Or were there a lot of retakes while the producers found the right shot? Although I was weirded out for the first couple of kisses (I usually like a bit more build-up, you know?), by snog #4 I was totally desensitised and up for more!

Before I delve into the details of our couples, I should point out that because I Kissed a Girl is made for the BBC, there are a few things to take into account. Chiefly, because this queer snogfest is essentially funded by the British taxpayer, there’s a baseline expectation that we’ll be getting not completely terrible representation, and there’s zero prize money or anything like that on offer. Literally, the only thing anyone on this show is looking to win is a girlfriend. Generally, that means we will have more people that seem like real humans, and fewer people that appear to have been dredged from the bowels of hell for the sole purpose of riling up everyone they come into contact with. I view this as a superior approach to reality TV, and there is definitely far less shrieking on I Kissed a Girl than I had come to expect from these kinds of shows.

So, who are the fearless sapphics so desperate for love that they are happy for their friends and family to see them lock lips with strangers on national TV? Repeatedly? Like, literally dozens of times per episode?

Priya & Naee

Priya is a South Asian South Welsh femme who likes mascs. Naee is a masc Londoner from a Jamaican family, who likes femmes. You can immediately see the incredible lengths the producers have gone to in order to match these enigmatic sapphics! There appears to be a spark between these two initially, but fallout from other couples presents Naee with another opportunity, causing a bit of drama, and a lot of consternation for Priya over the first few episodes.

Priya a South Asian South Welsh femme and Naee a masc Londoner from a Jamaican family snog

Amy & Meg

Amy lives in Surrey, has a complex about being posh, and is femme for femme. Meg, from a small town in Yorkshire, is a fire-breathing femme (yes, really), up for anyone that can match her high energy. Of all the cast, Amy is the one it takes me longest to warm to, because of the amount of insecurities she radiates. However! Stick with her and her madcap personality really starts to shine through. Meg isn’t so fussed on the sticking with her part though, and it’s pretty clear that one of the other girls has caught her eye, which leads us to…

Amy a posh femme and Meg, a fire-breathing femme, kiss

Fiorenza & Demi

Fiorenza is reality TV gold — a soft butch Scottish charmer claiming in her intro that she’s a “big softie” and not at all a player, before instantly approaching several girls to tell them she’s a drummer — in a band — with an irresistible twinkle in her eye. The most difficult challenge in each episode is not working out who Fiorenza is going to go after this time, but reining in your awe while she does so. Her initial match, Demi, is completely lovely and seeking her first ever girlfriend, but she is left with quite a bit of work to make that happen!

Fiorenza, a soft butch Scottish charmer, and Demi, a lovely femme, snog.

Lisha & Abby

Easy-going tomboy Lisha and fun-loving femme Abby seem like a great match, and spend the first few episodes in such close contact that you wonder if it’s like in ice dancing where they will get penalised for not touching each other. However, their clinginess may come back to haunt them when the couples are forced to confront their red flags!

I Kissed a Girl: Easy-going tomboy Lisha and fun-loving femme Abby kiss

Cara & Georgia

Cara is a tattoo-laden Northern Irish femme who likes a sporty girl. Georgia has all the swagger you’d expect for a football player, and likes a femme with an edge. Within two seconds of their kiss, this couple have glommed onto each other so hard, you suspect the producers will have to break out forceps to remove them from each others’ grasp.

Cara, a tattoo-laden Northern Irish femme, and Georgia, a football player with swagger, kiss.

Overall, I was fairly happy with the representation on I Kissed a Girl, especially the ratio of masc-leaning to femme-presenting women on the show. Most contestants come from smaller towns, across the whole of the UK, and it’s great that the show-makers have not taken the easy option to just dip into the typical queer hotspots like London and Brighton. That said, body diversity is what you’d expect for a dating show: basically non-existent. And while there’s a decent mix of those who identify as queer, bi, gay and “big fat lesbian,” I was surprised that the show chose only cis women to take part, although at this halfway point perhaps it’s too early to cement judgement.

As reality shows go, I Kissed a Girl is pretty light on structure, with the bulk of each episode focused on the girls sitting around The Masseria, gossiping about who fancies each other and the state of everyone’s relationship. This is all great, actually. If you’re the kind of person that enjoys spending the morning after a big night dissecting everything that happened, more than you enjoyed the night itself, you will get a lot out of this show.

Whether it’s because it’s all queer women, or as I mentioned earlier, the cast skews towards regular people, everyone on I Kissed a Girl just seems so good natured about it all. They joke about wife swapping! They fess up quickly to their current partner when they like someone else! They celebrate each others’ sluttiness! There’s also a decent amount of people opening up and getting vulnerable about all kinds of aspects of their queerness and intersectionality, which is excellent to see on TV. As one of the girls so articulately puts it: “Being here is quite good for that being gay thing.”

Of course, the producers can’t just let them all be so evolved, and frequently introduce elements of chaos to shake up proceedings. Chief among them is The Kiss Off. This is not the competitive smooch marathon that you may expect from the name, but rather the main method by which contestants get eliminated. At the end of every other day, everyone decides whether they want to keep kissing their current match, or say they’re after someone else — in the hope they want them back. Anyone left unkissed at the end is sent home from The Masseria. Sadly, any kind of triad or polycule does not seem to be an option, or at least no-one’s tried their luck so far!

With ten girls, you might think it would be easy enough for any rejected girls to get together. But things get very interesting when we start getting new girls introduced! Just as the initial pairings were very intentionally matched, so are the newbies clearly hand-picked to set a cat among the sapphic pigeons. I love the fact that not only do they bring in another professional footballer to test out Cara’s fledgeling feelings for Georgia, they find someone that plays Georgia’s exact same position. Do they have a reserve cast of lesbians for every single football position? It seems entirely plausible!

With episodes dropping more frequently than Fiorenza’s jaw at a passing femme, we’re already at the halfway mark of the show, and it’s fair to say I am thoroughly addicted. Let me know in the comments if you’ve been watching, what you think so far, and how long it took you to Google wtf is a masseria!

*The most queerbaiting song in pop history is definitely Tatu’s “All The Things She Said”

**A masseria is a kind of 16th century fortified farmhouse specific to the Puglia region of Italy. The word is mentioned about a hundred times per episode like we should all know what it means!!

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Sally lives in the UK. Her work has been featured in a Korean magazine about queer people and their pets, and a book about haunted prisons. She never intended for any of this to happen.

Sally has written 80 articles for us.


  1. Surprised myself with how much I’m enjoying this show! And you’re right, it’s much more wholesome and good-spirited than most reality TV I’ve watched (at least so far…)

    • The BBC is funded by licence fee payers (basically everyone in the country who watches TV) rather than the government. Also not surprised there’s no trans representation, but that’s because they would be served total hell on social media and in the press. And I suspect the producers are mindful of making sure this (first of a kind) series lands as well as it can for those involved. Plus, I can’t imagine any British trans queer woman having any interest in exposing themselves to the inevitable tirade of hate they would, sadly, absolutely receive here…

  2. I can’t remember when I last watched a reality show of any kind, but this one had me intrigued, and I actually kinda liked it. As already mentioned, it’s probably becuase of the relative “everyday-ness” of the contestants, even when they stir things up there’s no malice behind it, really.
    It would be interesting to know the actual timespan of the show.. it seems like they haven’t even been there a week yet (ep4)? I’m just amazed at how fast they get attached to one another. [Insert u-haul joke here].

    Also, there’s no way that the production can find a spanner disruptive enough to split up Cara and Georgia. One of the other girls (don’t remember who) called it from the second they entered the Masseria [insert minor eyeroll at the voiceover overuse of that word here] and I wholeheartedly agree. If they blow up it’s gonna be because of something between them, not production antics.

  3. I’m loving this show so much! I agree with you that it feels much lighter in drama and misunderstandings than most reality TV, and that’s preferable to me – most of the show is just watching them all hang out and be good-natured and try to resolve conflicts, even if they don’t always succeed.

    I would like to see more butch/butch and femme/femme pairings though.

    Also – crushing hard on Georgia and Lisha 🥵

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