MAFS NZ bride Monique Lee is auctioning her wedding ring on Trade Me and donating the proceeds to charity. The auction went up on Thursday night and bids are already at $700.
Monique, a 25-year-old teacher from Christchurch, was matched with 27-year-old policy analyst Fraser Pearce, from Wellington, on the show. But the spark failed to ignite for the pair and they opted to just be friends.
The Trade Me spiel for her wedding ring reads, "As some of you may know, I recently got (fake) married to a stranger, Fraser on 'Married at First Sight'. I didn't find love of more than the platonic kind, but did gain a lot of other amazing things including a white gold diamond ring worth $1950 and some newfound publicity which I would like to put to good use.
"100% of the highest bid will be split 50/50 between Project Growing Up and Mental Health Foundation NZ."
Monique feels passionately about supporting both organisations and using her new celebrity status to do that.
The auction for the 9 ct white gold ring set with diamonds closes on November 18, and Monique points out in her ad that buying a ring from a woman whose marriage (which was not legally binding) didn't work out is not bad luck because "it was mostly worn as a friendship ring".
She also suggests that "when people ask you where you got your ring from you have an excellent story". And it's a "good conversation starter, especially if you want to get with a cute single from MAFS (eg Fraser but like don't be a creep about it)."
She says, "If you live in Christchurch or Auckland maybe we can meet up and if you want I'll spill all the MAFS tea with ya."
It was only a week ago that Monique made headlines for all the wrong reasons, after hooking up with MAFS groom Gareth Noble during a boozy Saturday night MAFS wrap party in Christchurch.
On the show 26-year-old Gareth, an apprentice barber from Cromwell, was matched with 32-year-old promotions manager Ottie Schwartz, but these two did not work out either with Ottie calling things off at the second commitment ceremony.
On the way home from the wrap party, where Gareth and Monique were spotted kissing and then leaving together, Ottie was breath tested at a routine checkpoint and subsequently charged with drink driving. In an Instagram post taking responsibility for her actions she hinted that she'd been upset by Monique and Gareth's behaviour on the night, saying, "Excuses aside (that's not what I do) I am taking full responsibility for making the wrong decision and I'm annoyed at myself for letting my emotions get in the way of logical thinking."
Fraser spoke exclusively with Now To Love after news of the hook-up broke and said he was most hurt by the fact he'd found out about it from a third party.
He'd seen the couple holding hands during the evening and had hoped things wouldn't go any further because he knew they'd receive media attention "that would take away from the experiment".
But he was philosophical about it and hoped to remain friends with Monique: "At the heart of it... you can have a little too much alcohol and then you can make a couple of dumb decisions and that's the way I'm looking at it. It was just a couple of young people making a couple of dumb decisions in an environment we've all been in before."
Monique told Now To Love she felt terrible about the way Fraser found out. She had told Ottie and Fraser as soon as she could, but didn't get to Fraser before someone else in the group mentioned it.
She says she and Gareth are not pursuing a relationship together.
"We're still friends and I'll let you know if we go on a date," she laughs.
"It's quite funny, I was just talking to my friends about this," she continues. "If I'd kissed a boy in town a month ago no one would have cared but because of this whole situation, it's like news. From our perspective, it's ridiculous. That's why I want to use this publicity for good rather than just 'what Monique gets up to on Saturday night'."
She believes the show was life-changing because it changed her perspective on things. She wonders if she will always be "Monique from Married At First Sight" now, but has no regrets.
"I"d recommend it to anyone," she says. "It was a really amazing experience."
She and Fraser still talk most days.
Fraser has been talking with a "real awesome" girl (his words) in Auckland that he is hoping to visit in person soon to see if there's a true romantic connection.
Monique says she's happy for Fraser.
Spoken like a true friend she says, "As long as she doesn't mess him around. I feel like he's quite committed; he'll go in 100 per cent so I don't want it to be some girl that just wants to see him because he's been on the show. They have to be there for the right reasons."
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