The Topp Twins slammed Married at First Sight NZ for its portrayal of gay marriage on stage at last week's New Zealand Television Awards, so we were nervous when they bumped into star Samuel Levi on the red carpet at last night's inaugural LGBTI Awards in Auckland last night.
"It was a little awkward," Sam later confessed to Woman's Day, "but they were nice. I addressed what they said at the awards and they didn't actually realise it was me at first. I told them I appreciate what they do for the community."
But the Topps, who took home the Lifetime Achievement Award, still aren't MAFS fans. Dame Lynda told us, "Programmes like that have stopped actors, entertainers, performers and singers being on primetime TV. Reality shows have taken over."
Dame Jools added, "The gay people don't come off looking too good – and the straight people don't come out much better. It's a sad reflection of our lifestyle."
Of winning their trophy, Lynda said, "We've run out of room on our mantelpiece, but it's a great honour. The gay community is our second family, after our mum, dad and brother, and we feel like we have this family all over the world. Tonight is like one big party."
They were excited to be presented with the award by former Xena: Warrior Princess star Lucy Lawless, who Lynda described as "the biggest lesbian icon" and Jools called "a bit of a fox".
Lucy, who won the Local Icon prize, told Woman's Day, "The reason tonight is important is because it shows that gay people are a huge market for us. They're powerful and they're visible. And people should consider carefully supporting diversity because they're a significant presence. I'm rooting for everyone tonight and every kid on the street."
Also nominated in the same category were Samuel and fellow MAFS star Aaron Chisholm, who was married to Samuel's best friend Benjamin Blackwell on the show's first season.
The pair met for the first time on the red carpet at Cordis Auckland, with the fashion influencer telling us, "Aaron's f*ing awesome. I'm going to have to talk to Ben because there's been some bad blood between them."
Sam's MAFS groom Tayler Morgan was unable to make the ceremony due to work commitments, which Sam said was "a shame", but they're excited about the possibility of Tayler moving up to Auckland in three months. "It'll be interesting to see how it works out."
Christchurch ambulance driver Aaron admitted it was "a little strange" meeting Sam. He added, "There was some trepidation, but Sam was lovely."
Of his nomination, Aaron told us, "I was shocked. It was a real honour to be in the same category as Lorde and Taika Waititi." Of his love life, Aaron said, "It's non-existent currently. I'm moving overseas in a few months, so I don't want to get caught up in anything. I'm single and mingling."
Also on the red carpet were Sam's MAFS co-stars Wayne McIntosh and Gareth Noble, who each planted a kiss on his cheek on the red carpet.