The 25 Most Iconic ‘Married At First Sight’ Contestants Ever, Ranked
As we near the end of another season of Married at First Sight, it’s hard not to feel nostalgic over all contestants who have come and gone.
This show has now been airing for eight seasons, which means that over 100 contestants have taken part in the experiment. Some might say that is simply too many fake brides and grooms, however not all contestants are created equally. Many of the past cast (especially from Season 1 to Season 3) have been forgotten entirely, while a select few have become absolute icons. And because we simply love to rank here at Punkee, we’re ranking the most iconic MAFS contestants!
We’ve decided to narrow the pool of the best contestants down to 25, and it’s unsurprising that the season which saw the likes of Cyrell Paule and Jessika Power debut is heavily featured in this ranking, as the number of iconic characters in Season 6 is unrivalled.
FYI: this article is not about celebrating toxic behaviour, so you will not find contestants on this list who have gained notoriety on this show for gaslighting or have continuously exhibited harmful behaviour without apologising or learning from their mistakes.
We are talking exclusively about MAFS icons, baby!
The 25 most iconic Married At First Sight contestants, ranked:
25. Russell Duance
Any other year, Russell’s inclusion in the cast would have gone unnoticed. But following last year’s COVID clusterfuck which made Daniel Andrews’ press conferences must-see viewing, Russell’s likeness to the Victorian Premier almost broke us all. Add to this, he was just a particularly weird unit, with a fondness for barbecue and a baffling unfamiliarity with common fruits. Never change, Russell.
24. John Robertson
John was a gem. Before Lizzie pizza-toasted her way onto our screens only to return again in the next season, it was John who was the first contestant who got married a second time. John was originally matched with Deb, but unfortunately he wasn’t her type because he was not Polynesian. It happens to the best of us.
Their tumultuous relationship was short-lived, but John came back the following season to be wed to Melissa and he finally got his happy ending…until they eventually split. Oop.
23. Coco Stedman
Coco might not have been on our screens very long, but she truly made her mark. Between her catchphrases, calling herself a “hotdog” and dragging Sam to death for his criticism of her, we didn’t deserve Coco.
22. Hayley Vernon
Speaking of unforgettable MAFS wives, Hayley was really umm…something! Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that Hayley was unique and no one should ever have to go through that toothbrush saga that she had to endure.
21. Melissa Lucarelli/Dino Hira
I’m lumping these two in together because they both brought out some absolute TV gold in each other. Melissa was hilarious from start to finish, with energy that was just pure chaos and a laugh that sounded like it was coming from Sesame Street’s the Count. She and Dino were polar opposites and her reaction to his more eccentric habits were too good. Who can forget Dino’s unsettling breakup poem? I wish I could.
20. Ning Surasiang
Ning was one of the most relatable wives ever, she could always be relied upon for hanging around the cheese board at every single dinner party, or saying what everyone was thinking. Ning telling her new husband at their wedding that she was only there for the food is something that I think about every day. Queen shit.
19. Mick Gould
Heaven to Betsy! I can’t think of a contestant who inspired more national sympathy than Mick. After being matched with Jessika, we all watched as she strung him along, continuously voting to “stay” in the experiment just so she could start a secret romance with Dan. With #FreeMick becoming a trending hashtag at the time, we’re glad Mick was finally liberated.
18. Heidi Latcham
Heidi was a ray of bloody sunshine! And anyone who can put up with Mike’s constant gaslighting and handle herself like such a goddamn queen is an icon in my book.
17. Cheryl Maitland
I have a theory that Cheryl made MAFS into what it is today. After her memorable appearance in Season 4, Cheryl started the trend of casting people so young that they have no good reason to do this show, other than launching an influencer career. Cheryl also made history as one of two contestants who took part in the first MAFS partner-swapping, something that set a trend for future seasons, and like her and Jonesy…it never ends well!
16. Matthew Bennett
It was hard not to feel for Matthew for the way his whole story was framed. He was a virgin!! A 29-year-old virgin!! We know this because the constant promos told us approximately 17 times a day. Since his season aired, it’s come out that Matthew’s time on the show was very different to how it was portrayed, but he is no less an iconic MAFS character.
15. Michael Brunelli
Michael didn’t win a lot of fans during Season 6 of MAFS. Some critics said that he was Martha’s lapdog, which tbh, is actually low-key sexist as it was usually in reaction to him supporting his strong-minded wife. If the roles were reversed, I don’t think people would be so bothered. Either way, Michael went under the radar but he returned with a vengeance at this year’s reunion and proved he actually has A LOT of his own opinions.
14. Booka Nile
Out of all the contestants on Season 8, I reckon the one who will be most beloved in time is metal singer, Booka. Booka’s reaction to Patrick’s offensive letter will go down as one of the most iconic scenes in MAFS history, as she dressed like a stepford wife and decorated her shared apartment with pictures of Brett in response to being told to make a date “all about Brett”. Plus don’t get me started on her song, ‘Brett’, an actual banger. Booka is an icon for the ages.
13. Davina Rankin
Speaking of strong-ass females, Davina was ahead of her time. Sure, she was a bit of a villain in the way she treated Tracey but when it comes down to it, did she even cheat with Dean? They had one date and all I remember is them kissing on the cheek. Dean then dumped Davina, went back to Tracey, leaving Davina with the homewrecker title without actually getting any action.
12. Tracey Jewel
Tracey gifted us so many catchphrases like “hit it and quit it!” and her unique pronunciation of “dorter” aka “daughter”. It was a tough call deciding who is more iconic between Davina and Tracey, but Tracey dumped Dean on national TV and for that, she will always have my heart.
11. Jo McPharlin
Like Tracey, Jo absolutely deserved better, as she was also matched with a bloke who didn’t appreciate her. Anyone who wears bedazzled platform thongs on her wedding day is someone we have to stan forever.
10. Jules & Cam Merchant
I understand that these are two different people but after all these years, I consider them one entity. Jules and Cam, Cam and Jules — one can’t exist without the other. This is the couple all other MAFS couples will be compared to, as they had the idyllic MAFS journey, setting a new standard for this show, which was capped by their televised (real!) wedding, before the birth of their first child. Absolute goals.
9. Jessika Power
Jessika is no angel and she definitely made some mistakes, but her recent return at the MAFS reunion proved that she regrets how she treated the likes of Tamara and Mick on Season 6. And all things considered, she made one hell of a reality TV villain.
8. Charlene Perera
If you come for the queen, you best not miss. Charlene taking on Dean and Justin over their behaviour on boys’ night was absolutely sensational, as was her telling Troy across the table, “You might just want to pipe down, Chachi!”. I get chills just thinking about it.
7. Elizabeth Sobinoff
Speaking of absolute forces of nature, Lizzie was like no other bride — or well, person — we’ve ever encountered before. After Sam ditched her for his ex’s parent’s funeral, she spent her honeymoon alone toasting pizza, chowing down Nutella and eating biscuits out of her handbag. In short, she was our hero. Lizzie went on to take down Sam over his disgusting body-shaming comments and soon became the queen of inspirational speeches.
6. Ryan Gallagher
Like Mick, Ryan won fans over for being an absolute trooper, getting strung along by a wife who didn’t seem remotely interested in him. This especially baffled people as Ryan appeared to have it all — he was good looking and hilarious! Above all else, Ryan is iconic because he conceived the name ‘Dickhead Dean’, which is just a really fun and accurate description.
5. Deborah Brosnan
Deb wanted her TV husband to be Polynesian. Deb’s TV husband was not Polynesian. “I was expecting a Polynesian from the islands,” she grimaced at her Polynesian-themed wedding. And she didn’t let this go for the entirety of her marriage to John, who ICYMI was not Polynesian.
4. Troy Delmege
Troy is hands down my favourite contestant of all time. Troy feels like he was almost dreamed up in a lab, as the lovechild of Jim Carrey and some sort of toothpaste tycoon. Between his vicious tooth-brushing technique, a tendency to do push-up before dates, and more generally bizarre way of speaking and reacting to women, Troy is one of the most memorable reality TV contestants of all time. Just ask Ellen.
3. Cyrell Paule
Between throwing fruit bowls and being separated from other contestants by security, Cyclone Cyrell could hit a little too hard at times. But deep down, Cyrell had a good heart and she did gift us all with the show’s most recognisable catchphrase, “You ain’t King Ding-A-Ling”, and for that we will be forever grateful.
2. Ines Basic
You simply can’t spell “iconic MAFS bride” without Ines. Love her or loathe her, she had one of the most captivating story arcs in the show’s history. She was introduced as a bit of a nightmare, a superficial brat who then went on to treat her husband, Bronson, appallingly on their honeymoon.
This could have been where Ines’ story ended, which wouldn’t be the first time someone hated by the MAFS fandom never got their chance at redemption. But it was when Ines started an affair Sam — and then was brutally rejected by him — that we then saw a different, more sensitive and relatable side to Ines. Ines and Lizzie teaming up against Sam at the reunion is still one of my favourite MAFS moments of all time, along with all the priceless quotes that Ines said in Season 6 that are now almost as iconic as the MAFS bride herself.
1. Martha Kalifatidis
Seven words and Aussie reality TV was changed forever: “I’m gonna pour my drink on her.” It was simply TV gold and we’ve all been chasing that high ever since. Aside from providing that epic moment, Martha played such a massive role in all the conflict that went down in Season 6. She was involved in the confrontation with Cyrell in her apartment, and she was the person Jessika confided in about her affair.
Because of this, Martha enraged fans during the season, but now that the dust has settled on all the petty 2019 drama, looking back: Martha was just so iconic!! She was constantly calling everyone “doll”, or incessantly saying “dedddd”, and then there was the face mask scene which perfectly encapsulated the necessity of self-care. There’s simply no one like Martha, she is one of a kind.