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Married At First Sight cast just saw me as Ella, says trans bride

Promo shot of Ella Morgan Clark for Married at First Sight UK. Ella is a 29-year-old white woman, she has long curled blonde hair and blue eyes. She smiles at the camera, wearing a pink lip gloss and false eyelashes. She has a four-layered purple pearl necklace around her neck and the white straps of her wedding dress can be seen over her shoulders. She is photographed in front of a studio background of white wisteria flowers laid over pink.
Ella Morgan Clark says she feels honoured to represent the trans community on the show

"I didn't think being married or having kids would be in my path in life. It just wasn't on the cards for me."

But as the first trans woman to walk down the aisle on Married At First Sight, Ella Morgan Clark will take that path on TV.

She signed up for the reality show, where experts match strangers who then live together in an experiment, after having a hard time on the dating scene.

Ella says she took part because in the past she's felt fetishised "or a dirty secret and I know I'm so much more than that".

"No-one's ever really fully accepted me," she tells BBC Newsbeat.

"I thought it would get easier once I'd had my surgery.

"Unfortunately, it was not any easier. There's still this stigma and this embarrassment of dating someone who's transitioned."

'My husband was told'

At the end of the series, which starts on Monday night on E4, the couples decide whether they would like to stay married.

When it was announced Ella was going to be on the show, there was speculation her groom wasn't told she was trans before they met at the altar.

But the 29-year-old says the reports weren't true.

"Because it was the first time Channel 4 had ever done something like this, I agreed along with them that once they'd found me a match my husband was made aware that I was trans prior to the wedding," she says.

"He was aware that I was trans and I had transitioned but he didn't know anything else about me."

A spokesperson for Channel 4 told Newsbeat the groom was told "to ensure fully informed consent" and he chose to continue with the wedding.

"In all other ways, the integrity of the format was preserved," they said.

"Our priority during matchmaking is to protect the wellbeing of the cast and create compatible matches, based on detailed assessment of individual preferences, as part of an in-depth, careful matchmaking process."

The cast of MAFS UK 2023 - a mix of the 16 contestants made up of eight grooms wearing suits and eight brides in white dresses. The cast are pictured on a purple background with confetti and a floral wedding arch
Ella says her fellow cast members were "incredible" and supported her during the experiment

Ella, who's from Weston-Super-Mare, says she was worried about how her fellow brides and grooms might react.

"I thought 'oh God, I hope they like me, I hope they see me as me'," she says.

"As much as I'm so proud to say I'm a trans woman, I don't always feel like I want to be seen as just that, there's so much more to me."

But she says she was well supported by the crew and the rest of the cast "just saw me as Ella".

"I was given the most overwhelming, amazing reception and welcome."

Ella received some hate since she was announced as the show's first transgender newlywed but for her it just serves to emphasise the importance of better representation.

And she says she's "honoured and privileged" to represent her community.

"When I was younger, before I physically transitioned I didn't have anyone like this to look up to," she says.

"It makes me happy that hopefully there's a generation of trans boys and girls who may have hope because they're going to see someone like me on their TV."

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