Tracey Jewel blushes when asked if this is her first visit to New Zealand. "I've got a confession to make," says the Married at First Sight Australia star. "I'm actually a massive Lord of the Rings geek, so I've been here three times to visit Hobbiton and all the other sites.
"I'm so obsessed that for my first wedding, I walked down the aisle to Aragorn's theme song and I even had a Lord of the Rings wedding ring. My daughter's middle name is Arwen and I've dressed up as Liv Tyler's character too. And last time I came, I bought an engraved elven sword – it could cut someone's arm off, but I managed to smuggle it through customs!"
The closet fantasy fan, 35, is back in Aotearoa to launch her self-help book Don't Mess with the Goddess and though Tracey doesn't have much time for Hobbit-related sights this visit, she's excited to be among her most devoted fans.
"Whenever there's a troll or bully on social media, my Kiwi fans are the first to jump in and stick up for me," the Perth businesswoman smiles, twirling around in a Trelise Cooper frock during our shoot at Auckland's Wintergardens.
"They're so friendly and they've always got my back."
After spectacularly dumping her MAFS 'husband' Dean Wells, then hooking up with fellow contestant Sean Thomsen, Tracey has now found love with ex-boyfriend Patrick Kedemos, 45, a French venture capitalist.
"He's such an amazing guy," she gushes. "I truly believe we're soulmates."
"I applied for MAFS straight after as a way to get over Patrick and it was hard for him to watch the show, but he was really proud of how I handled myself. After I broke up with Sean, I bumped into him in Cairns and we spent six days together. He said he knew that I'd always come back to him and I'm so glad that I have."
The lovebirds, who have been reunited for just over a month, are set to cruise around Spain and Italy in July, before moving in together.
Despite Dean, 40, publicly humiliating her by fooling around with Davina Rankin, 27, on the Three show, Tracey says she only dumped him at their commitment ceremony because she suspected he was going to ditch her.
She admits, "He was devastated and I cried all the way home afterwards, but it's all water under the bridge now.
"I can totally see why I was matched with Dean, but we're just at different stages in life. For example, at my book launch in Melbourne, he hooked up with one of my friends, a 21-year-old DJ. It's classic Dean. But they lasted a week, which is good for him!"
Things aren't so amicable with Sean, 34, who she split from in April after five months together. Tracey tells, "He was high-maintenance, that man! I think it's a red flag if any guy spends longer than you do in the bathroom. But really, it was just a rebound thing.
"He was aggressive and jealous, and I had to really question why he was with me – I mean, he was much more focused on his Instagram and being seen out at events than on me. He's now turned really bitter and has started this anti-Tracey club with another ex-boyfriend of mine. He needs to move on with his life."
The former ballet dancer saw a therapist to help her cope with cyber-bullying she received while on MAFS. Tracey explains, "It was hard because I'm not an actress. These people weren't criticising a character – they were criticising me. I wasn't prepared for how personal it got, like people saying I'd abandoned my daughter."
Her girl Grace, eight, lives permanently with her dad, stepmum and step-sisters. Tracey says, "I'm just the fun mum who doesn't have to worry about homework or routine. That's what makes her happy and that's the main thing. If I was a guy, no-one would question it. It's double standards."
But the harshest criticism was aimed at Tracey's appearance, especially the fillers she'd had injected in her lips and cheeks, which she's since had dissolved.
She says, "Some of my friends pressured me into it. My problem is that I'm a people pleaser. There's nothing wrong with getting stuff done, but it needs to be for the right reasons.
"Now I'm more focused on facials. I love a good at-home clay mask. It's about looking after my skin and being healthy, rather than getting fake stuff done."
- FitnessCommon mistakes to avoid when you're working out for weight loss
Good Health ChoicesToday 9:30am
- RoyalsThe very unusual way Duchess Camilla just celebrated her 72nd birthday
Now To LoveYesterday 2:00pm
- RoyalsThe caring gesture that no one saw: How Duchess Catherine consoled Duchess Meghan at Wimbledon
Now To LoveYesterday 10:06am
- TVThe Block NZ's Lisa and Ribz fire back at the 'harsh and nasty' judges
Woman's DayYesterday 10:00am
- CareerQueen of tiny: Why I love recreating everything I see in miniature
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyYesterday 9:00am
- TVHayley Holt reveals who her dream co-host would be and dishes on how work has affected her dating life
Now To LoveYesterday 8:30am
- CompetitionsWin a black and a rose gold Samsung Galaxy Watch Active worth $349 each!
Good Health ChoicesYesterday 7:00am
- WeddingsBride quits job to plan her dream wedding and demands her fiancé get a second job
Now To LoveJul 17, 2019
- BodyKaty Perry and Orlando Bloom's new age secret to staying young
Now To LoveJul 17, 2019
- Real LifeYoung dad's incredible feat to save his family from certain death
Woman's DayJul 16, 2019
- CareerThe tough Kiwi women who are running organisations that were traditionally 'boys' clubs'
New Zealand Woman's WeeklyJul 16, 2019