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Crazy for you! Naz’s steamy love affair

Meet The Bachelor bombshell’s raunchy Mr Right!
Naz Khanjani, Craig Sutherland

She was spurned on national television, but four months on, Nazanin Khanjani has picked up the pieces and found love. And unlike The Bachelor New Zealand’s indecisive Jordan Mauger, who chose Fleur Verhoeven over Naz only to dump her soon after, her new boyfriend Craig Sutherland can’t contain his affection.

“She’s the most amazing person I’ve ever met,” he gushes. “Yes, she’s a strong woman, but she’s just so positive, caring and genuine. I’ve never felt this kind of connection with anyone before.”

The pair first crossed paths three months ago at a dinner with mutual pals in Auckland, where they admired each other, but were too shy to make a move! Naz giggles, “I remember thinking, ‘What a hottie!’ when I saw him. But we didn’t really flirt or anything – we just went our separate ways at the end of the night. Neither of us quite knew what the other was thinking.”

Watch Naz and Craig behind the scenes at our photo shoot in the video below. Story continues.

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Unbeknown to Naz, who returned to her hometown of Christchurch to focus onher ill-fated boxing training, Auckland-based digital developer Craig – who also moonlights as a stripper – couldn’t get the Iranian beauty out of his mind. The muscle-bound 31-year-old wanted to contact her but just didn’t have the courage.

“It ended up with my big sister Penny telling me to man up and send her a message! So I did it and from then on, we’ve been in constant contact.”

Says Naz, “His first Facebook message was so friendly and lovely. We had our first phone call that day and since then, I don’t think we’ve gone more than about 15 minutes without some contact – a text or a Snapchat or FaceTime. We just can’t get enough of each other!”

Fast-forward a month and, indeed, the raunchy pair can barely keep their hands to themselves as they chat to Woman’s Day, gazing into each other’s eyes and stealing kisses at every possible opportunity.

“I pretty much pounced on him as soon as I saw him!” she laughs as she tells us about the moment she returned to Auckland to be met by Craig.

“I was supposed to spend the week staying with my cousin, but I didn’t end up staying one night there. I’ve been with Craig every single minute since. I’m just really, really attracted to his eyes, his muscular body… I even love his beard – he looks a little bit like an Arab!”

The lovebirds, who are splitting their time between Naz’s native Christchurch and Craig’s home in the City of Sails, acknowledge it’s all been a bit of a whirl, but they’re confident this is the real deal.

“It’s all a bit crazy,” Naz tells. “It really feels like we’ve known each other for a couple of years already. We are flying back and forth almost every weekend – we’re basically obsessed with each other. I miss him when we aren’t together, but being apart isn’t as hard as I thought because I know he’s only ever a FaceTime away.”

Craig confesses, “Everyone will think we’re such weirdos, but we really do click. I’ve said to Naz that I wouldn’t be putting in this kind of investment with someone if I didn’t think it could last forever.”

Nevertheless, you can imagine our surprise to see Naz and her beau out browsing for rings during a recent shopping trip documented on the reality star’s Snapchat. But asked if Craig had popped the question, Naz denies she’s a bride-to-be.

“We’re not engaged,” she says. “Craig has told me he’s in love with me – he’s popped the L word, but I haven’t said it back yet. My feelings towards him are so strong, but I don’t say it back to him yet … In time!”

Craig says he never watched an episode of The Bachelor until the final Women Tell All show, where contestants took part in a question-and-answer session. Naz notoriously lost her cool, later apologising for swearing at an audience member.

Craig says, “I know everyone was like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s so bad!’ but I remember thinking, ‘Good on her for standing up for herself!’ I thought to myself that she’s the sort of girlfriend I’d like to have one day.”

But he admits he’s had to convince some of his friends and family she’s not how she appeared on the show, where she was accused of conspiring against other Bachelorettes. “When I told my younger sister Holly about me and Naz, she was like, ‘What?! But she was the bitch on The Bachelor!'” says Craig. “But she completely changed her tune when she talked to Naz on the phone. She could tell straight away that’s not what she’s really like.”

With a dreamy new man by her side, Naz admits she’s relieved things didn’t work out between her and Jordan in The Bachelor finale. “I did have strong feelings for Jordan initially, but after the show, we spent a weekend together with his brother and his wife too, and that’s when I realised, ‘Nope, he’s not for me.’ We just have different values about things like how to show respect to your family.”

She tells us Jordan contacted her regularly after breaking up with Fleur, but she’s convinced he was more interested in staying in the public eye than actually forging a relationship. “I’ve come to think he was just really, really fame-hungry. He’d call me and want to talk about what we could do to make money. It felt like he only wanted to talk about The Bachelor and that’s just what I didn’t want to talk about!

“He was calling me three or four times a day sometimes. He’d ask me to send him selfies. I wasn’t into it.”

She even claims Jordan rang her from his dad’s wedding in Fiji at the end of June, begging her to join him. When she finally tried to cut off contact, he wasn’t pleased, she says. “He kept telling me he wanted to be part of my journey. He actually raised his voice at me and I really didn’t like that. I don’t think a man should raise his voice to a woman – that’s so disrespectful.”

We approached Jordan to get his side of the story, but he declined to comment. Meanwhile, Naz can’t find fault with Craig. She doesn’t even bat an eyelid at her boyfriend’s racy history as a stripper. “I’m totally supportive of whatever he wants to do. I’d never be the sort of person who would tell him what he should and shouldn’t do.”

Naz says Jordan wasn’t pleased when she decided to cut contact.

Craig – whose stripper name is Chase – tells us he became a topless waiter several years ago as a way to pay the bills when he was in a tricky spot. “I was in a bad place,” he admits. “My dad was very sick with cancer and I’d lost my job with BMW. I had some big credit card bills to pay off. My friend Ryan came along and asked if I’d like to give topless waiting a go. I was like, ‘Sure.’ It was just a way to earn some money and still have time to take Dad to his chemo appointments.

“Then one day, he threw me in the deep end and got me to do a strip. It was really cool and I guess it just went from there. “I ended up getting referrals because even though you’re not meant to talk when you’re stripping, I talk the whole time. I’m like a comedian. It’s not sleazy at all – it’s just fun.”

While Naz is relaxed about his unusual job, Craig – whose dad sadly passed away – is adamant that now he’s found love, it’s time he gave it up. “I’m definitely ready to hang up my G-string,” he laughs. “I don’t want to be squatting over a girl’s face when I’ve got such a special thing going with Naz. It just wouldn’t be right.”

“He’s so sweet,” Naz sighs as she strokes her man’s face. “I’m feeling so lucky right now. He really is my Mr Nice Guy.”

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