In 2016, saber fencer Monica Aksamit gained a bronze medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic video games. Now, she’s making at lunge at love as a contestant on Fox’s “Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer.”
The 31-year-old New Jersey native and Brooklyn resident was first approached final winter by producers who slid into her Instagram DMs providing to play cupid in entrance of a slew of cameras.
“It sounded really interesting. And I thought, ‘Well, love hasn’t really worked out for me,’” Aksamit — who ended an engagement in 2020 — informed The Post. “And I don’t know anybody who finds love on dating apps. I feel like I am digging through trash to find the one diamond.”
Yet Aksamit, who calls herself a “romantic” trying to get married, was nonetheless hesitant.
“I didn’t want people to judge me or say ‘She’s empty.’ I think dating shows have a bad reputation at this point. [Producers] said, ‘Listen, it’s going to be better than “The Bachelor.” We’re not all in regards to the drama. We wish to give you a chance to fall in love. Are you down?’”
But it was her mom who cast the ultimate vote.
“I was going back and forth and she was like, ‘I don’t know why you are hesitating.’ My mom is Polish. She’s Eastern European and has very high standards. She was like, ‘Who cares if people are talking. This is an experience for you,’” stated Aksamit, who can be a mannequin and influencer.
For love or money
The present, which premieres Thursday at 8 p.m., options 18 ladies vying for the love of two bachelors: Kurt, a 32-year-old building CEO from Charlotte, North Carolina, and Steven, a 27-year-old farming CEO from Gallatin, Michigan. The twist is that certainly one of these two gents is wildly rich whereas the opposite … Well, he’s cute, too. The love-seeking women don’t know which ones has the fats checking account.
It’s a reboot of the wildly standard 2003 iteration that featured Evan Marriott, who was masquerading as a hunky millionaire whereas in actuality he was a building employee bringing in $19,000 a year.
Aksamit, who had by no means seen nor heard of the unique present, stated the money angle wasn’t a part of the attract, although she’s beforehand spoken out about how monetary struggles have figured into her total story. In a 2019 profile in The Post, the fencer opened up about utilizing GoFundMe to help her Olympic aspirations — a observe that has turn into extra widespread for elite athletes in much less marketable sports activities than, say, gymnastics or swimming.
At the time, she was residing along with her mom in New Jersey and dealing quite a few jobs in between coaching classes to make ends meet.
Her struggles struck a chord. Aksamit instantly surpassed her aim by greater than $10,000. While she narrowly missed making Team USA for the Tokyo video games after the final qualifying competitors was nixed because of the pandemic, she signed with Ford Models, which additionally manages her digital endeavors. With 100,000 Instagram followers, the 6-foot athlete is now making a residing working with corporations like AT&T, Garmin, Body Armor, Bandier and Nobu Hotels.
When producers informed the ladies in regards to the monetary twist, Aksamit stated she wasn’t fazed by the prospect of falling for a median Joe.
“My mom always said, ‘I never want you to put yourself in a situation where you have to rely on a man for money or whatever.’ Do I want someone I have to rely on? No, I want to be able to make my own money.”
The deal breakers
There is one requirement, although. Her dream man “must love dogs,” stated Aksamit, who has two valuable pups named Pongo and Oro.
The magnificence can’t say if she discovered love with both bachelor, however she did hit it off with the opposite contestants, together with Suzette James and fellow New Yorker Annie Jorgensen.
“I’ve made some really good friends,” stated Aksamit, who might be flying again from Poland simply in time for the premiere.
“We are planning a watch party at [Annie’s] apartment … if my COVID test is negative.”
MEET THE OTHER NY LADIES HOPING TO LAND A MILLIONAIRE
The magnificence queen
New Yorker Annie Jorgensen, 25, is a long-time magnificence pageant champ. She competed for the Miss America title in 2019, was topped Miss Georgia in 2018, gained the Miss University of Georgia pageant in 2016 and was named Miss Wisconsin’s Outstanding Teen in 2011. A University of Georgia grad, she’s now a digital artistic strategist at Small Girls PR, which has labored with manufacturers like the favored courting app Hinge. She additionally based I Got This Consulting, which gives teaching to build confidence amongst women and girls.
The skilled dancer
Doris Josie Cano is from Bethpage, New York. Cano, 32, is of Ecuadorian and Mexican descent and is a former NBC and NFL dancer. She was a New York Jets Flight Crew cheerleader from 2008 to 2009 and a dancer for the Philadelphia 76ers from 2010 to 2011. She now owns a dance company referred to as Diamond Divas Entertainment, which gives dancers, promotional fashions, hostesses and greeters for varied occasions. — Lauren Sarner