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Why FBOY Island Just Might Be the Most Feminist Dating Show on TV

FBOY Island is a show about female friendship disguised as a dating series. Don't believe us? Find out what leads Sarah Emig, CJ Franco and Nakia Renee had to say about turning down FBoys.

By Samantha Bergeson Aug 13, 2021 2:00 PMTags

The ladies of FBOY Island are saying "thank you, next" to any man that gets in their way. 

Lead stars Sarah EmigCJ Franco and Nakia Renee try to decipher the Nice Guys from the FBoys on the hit HBO Max reality dating series—and yes, they compare notes. Host Nikki Glaser aides in navigating who is only in it for the $100,000 grand prize and which contestants really are looking for a partner. But how exactly did this hot girl summer come to be? 

"It came highly recommended by my therapist," CJ exclusively joked to E! News. "I think I was making too much progress and she was like, ‘We need to set you back a little bit.'"

From "squat o'clock" workouts to comparing notes on possible "lying boyfriends", the women behind FBOY Island were tasked with the impossible: deciding whether Nice Guys even exist in the first place.

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"Luckily, when we were actually filming the show, we never actually pursued the same guys," Sarah explained. "As soon as one of the girls, if she liked one of the guys, we immediately knew he was off limits. It was kind of surprising, but also not." 

HBO Max

With varying degrees of IRL FBoy experience, the trio of women waded through false professions of love, cringe encounters and even a purgatory for FBoys to rehab themselves and think back on their slimy ways. 

"I felt like my FBoy radar was A-1," Nakia quipped, as CJ added, "I feel like I've had experiences with FBoys my whole life. Who hasn't?" 

The three leads quickly bonded to create an alliance against any FBoy who might come in their way. "Being without a phone, without your friends, without your family, having to weed through a bunch of FBoys would be impossible without my friends, you know?" CJ shared.

Host Nikki was a "strong role model" and even showed her support in unexpected ways, according to Sarah. 

"When she wasn't able to talk to us, she would slip us notes like, 'Good luck today, hope you're doing well, let me know if you need anything,'" Sarah reflected. "She was just very supportive throughout the whole process. We were just best friends, us three girls and Nikki." 

The women set out on the "social experiment" series to be a more realistic take on female friendships, rather than spotlighting the competition between women.

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"We did want it to be a feminist show, and that's part of the reason why I think we were cast," Sarah said. "All three of us are all very independent, strong women, and we're comfortable on our own, so I think the idea of men getting in the way of our friendship and our bonding experience there—which was so important for all three of us to be bonded together—I think for a guy to mess that up, that would be dumb."

And these FBOY Island alums hope to be cautionary tales for viewers.

Julie Corsetti/HBO Max

"I want to serve as a good example that no matter if you're in a relationship or not, you should always fall in love with yourself first," Sarah stated. "I think it's super important if you're looking for a relationship, it's important that it's two complete people coming together to form a relationship, rather than two incomplete people looking to find completion in another person, if that makes sense. I can trust myself and my own judgment, and I hope other girls can see that too." 

CJ added, "I think I'm most excited for the fans to see just how strong I was, and it's so hard for women to be really firm and to be really strong, and it's easy to be sweet talked and pull one over and want to believe the best in people." 

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She continued, "It's natural for us to try to do that, and going against that and trying to make healthy decisions and trying to do what's right for you and what's going to be in your best interest long term, is a thing that I see a lot of my friends struggle to do even now. So I'm pretty excited for people to see me do that, because it's not easy." 

FBOY Island is available to stream on HBO Max.

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