If you've been following along with TV's Top Couple 2018, you've no doubt heard of Wounded Love by now.
Hilal and Leon, of the Turkish series also called Vatanim Sensin, took the top prize when the poll ended last week, somehow and seemingly easily beating out 63 American (mostly) competitors despite the fact that most Americans hadn't even heard of the show and there's an 11 hour time difference between California and Istanbul.
Other fans, for shows like Riverdale's Veronica and Archie and Arrow's Oliver and Felicity, who took second place, were even congratulating HiLeon fans on Twitter, and fandoms were gathering together to support charities together in the name of their couples. It was truly an international love affair. While stars Boran Kuzum (Leon) and Miray Daner (Hilal) both weighed in on Twitter after the couple's win, we finally managed to defeat that time difference and find out just how they're feeling after their unexpected victory in a random American poll.
E! News: How did you find out about the poll and that you were doing so well in it?
Boran Kuzum: I saw on Twitter, because everybody was mentioning me and talking about this poll. I heard about every round of it and enjoyed fans' love for us.
Miray Daner: Hileon fans from Turkey and all over the World tagged us on their social media posts. So, we were informed from the word go. They eliminated competitors who were powerful and have many fans.
E! News: How did you react to finding out you won?
BK: Even being a nominee in a poll with a lot of actors that I admire was crazy enough. We felt so happy and thankful for their support, I mean really.
MD: First of all, competing at this international platform as the only Turkish couple made me very proud and happy. Secondly, having chance to touch the hearts of so many people is priceless, more so than any award.
E! News: What do you want people who aren't fans yet to know about the show and Hilal and Leon?
BK: This is a period drama about the Turkish War of Independence. I'm playing a Greek lieutenant, he comes to Smyrna City after its occupation led by his father, the commander of Greek army. Later he starts falling in love with a Turkish girl, Hilal.
And our story is actually about loving someone without their tags, without their nationality, their race. These are the identities we are not able to choose; and in the world we are living right now, this is the most important thing we need, to love someone, by not seeing the differences, lightly these kind of tags.
MD: Whilst you hold on to your values and stance in life, you should never be afraid to love and empathise. Our underlying motto has always been that Love will Save the World.
E! News: Why do you think the couple connected so well with fans all over the world?
BK: Our story started as two people who are completely different from each other, don't like each other. Their sense of belongings were only to their countries in the wartime, not to people they love. But when they could finally find the courage to get out of the thoughts of differences and when they started knowing each other, they started to see their human beings. They started to complete each other. And a powerful, unconditional love came out. I think that's why so many people connected with the story.
MD: Pain and love have the same language same language all over the world. Hilal and Leon are not just a couple in love also symbolizes that conscience and love are more powerful than war and cruelty. They also want to show people that they should be viewed as human beings without categorizations of language, nation and religion which they are born into. I think the viewers all over the world have sympathised greatly with the seemingly impossible love story between Hilal, a patriotic Turkish girl against war, falling in love with an enemy lieutenant; and Leon, a steadfast Greek officer falling in love with a Turkish girl, in a the lands his army occupies.
I am so glad that we could properly tell the story that we wanted to tell.
E! News: What is your message to the fans who worked so hard to vote for you?
BK: Our show is airing in too many countries right now, and it's amazing to feel their support from all over the world. It makes me happy to see we can touch their hearts with the story we are telling. Thanks to them for sharing our story.
MD: [E! News] Poll was difficult and there was 64 other competitors. Our fans voted tirelessly, persistently and with huge devotion.
There is a serious time difference between us and the US. Most of our fans could not have slept. All Hileon fans all over the world were very well organized. This is a real great achievement and I am very proud of it. The fans also should be proud. HiLeon fandom showed that they are a different, thoughtful, productive, powerful group together; in this case when they have come together to open a well in Africa and have built a play room for a children in a child protection institution. I send them my love, greetings and warmest thanks.
The HiLeon fandom is currently working towards planting an endangered tree in honor of the couple, and information on many of the charities currently being worked on by various fandoms (and Olicity in particular) can be found here.
Wounded Love airs on Kanal D.
Stay tuned for the launch of our next tournament, Alpha Male Madness, in the next couple of weeks!