The Love Is Blind star on being a newfound role model.
If there’s one thing pretty much everyone can agree on right now, it’s that Deepti Vempati is reality TV’s current it girl. Her starring role on Love Is Blind Season 2 earned her a massive fan base (think 750k Instagram followers and counting). Over 10 episodes, millions watched as Vempati got engaged to Abhishek “Shake” Chatterjee, then persevered through an increasingly rocky relationship as Chatterjee made critical comments about her appearance behind her back. In the final twist that literally everyone was hoping for, Vempati said “no” to marriage, delivering one of the most iconic breakup speeches in modern television memory.
That moment — Vempati standing at the altar in a breathtaking lehenga, telling Chatterjee, “I deserve somebody who knows for sure, so I’m choosing myself” — made her a bona-fide star. Vogue India called her a “modern-day feminist icon,” the Bachelor’s Nick Viall dubbed her “America’s sweetheart,” and there is a not-insignificant online campaign to name her the next Bachelorette.
Vempati is taking this newfound attention in stride, displaying the same quiet warmth and confidence viewers saw from her on screen. “I'm in awe of all the support and love I've gotten,” she tells Elite Daily. “I didn't expect it whatsoever.” Watching the show back was undeniably “tough” — she would wake up at 2 a.m. to watch with her family as the episodes were released in real time. “There was some sort of hurt that I felt just reliving it,” she recalls, “[and] going back into that mental state of mind that I was in during filming.” But checking social media, where the #TeamDeepti hive was quickly coalescing, made things easier. “It’s just refreshing to see that [viewers] understood my perspective,” Vempati says.
Though Season 2 officially wrapped on March 5, fans aren’t done dissecting Vempati’s love life. One prominent rumor is that she might be dating LIB co-star Kyle Abrams, who said during the reunion episode that he regretted not proposing to her. While Vempati is single right now, she’s not ruling out the possibility of a romance with Abrams. “We're trying to focus on ourselves, and we'll see what happens,” she says of their connection. Other than that, she’s fending off quite a long list of DMs (some “professional soccer players,” she says coyly) and soaking up this unique moment in her life.
In Elite Daily’s Q&A series Everything I’ve Learned About Love (So Far), celebrities share their most heartfelt and heartbreaking lessons about dating, relationships, and breakups, and offer their best advice. This time, Vempati talks about what it was really like to date on TV, how to navigate heartbreak and come out stronger, and why she’s ready to make herself a priority.
What's your favorite thing about being single in this era of your life?
Being single is fun because you can really concentrate on yourself, put yourself first, and determine what your needs are. Especially after going through this process, I'm realizing that I need to be a little bit more selfish and take care of myself first, because when I love myself, I can exude that love to others. I really believe in the law of attraction, so if you're loving yourself and putting love into the world, you're going to attract that same type of energy.
How do you meet people? What is dating going to look like now that you’re a public figure?
I don't think I'm going to be going on any dating apps whatsoever. I guess people have to be sliding in my DMS, or [meeting] organically when I'm out doing things. I don't know. It's going to be a lot different now.
What is your best piece of dating advice?
Don't ever settle in a relationship. When you see somebody physically and are so attracted to them, you tend to overlook the [personality] traits that you're looking for in a person … Stay focused on what you're really looking for. The characteristics in somebody are what's going to last a lifetime, so instead of the physicality of things, look for those characteristics that you're in search of.
The world saw you go through a public breakup and handle it very gracefully. What is your best piece of breakup advice?
Look within. Think, “What is it in this relationship that didn't work?” Take those things and apply them to your next relationship. But don't jump right into the next thing — really take the time to focus on yourself, hit the gym, meditate, ground yourself, and do whatever makes you happy. I also think it's OK to grieve and feel sad when you make the right decision.
I am still going to be a good person and see the good in them.
Do you have a celebrity couple you admire?
Michelle and Barack Obama. Talk about give and take. They both have their career-driven, success-oriented mindsets, and they don't overstep each other. Their relationship is just iconic and so admirable.
What is your most memorable first date story?
My first [Love Is Blind] pod date ever was with Rocky [Smith], and you don't really see him much on the show, but it was so scary to go into that situation. There are cameras, and the very first time you have 15 minutes, and you're just like, "OK, let me just figure out everything about you in this short amount of time." It was so intense and so amazing at the same time.
I’m usually great on first dates, but in that environment I was like, "Oh my god, I'm freaking out." But after a while you forget the cameras, and it's important to disconnect from that because you are getting really intimate and deep in these conversations. You have to block out the noise. Yes, people are watching, but you just forget about that and focus on the person that you're with.
What is a fear that you used to have about dating or relationships that you've since overcome?
My whole life, I've been working on confidence and self-worth. I tend to put the decision in a man's hand — in this experience, I feel like I gave Shake the ball in his court for the first few weeks. Toward the end I realized, “You know what? Let me take a step back. Why am I trying to figure out if he wants me? Do I even want him?" My mindset shifted.
I need to make myself a priority and say, "These are the characteristics I'm looking for in a person, and I'm not willing to budge just because I care about you."
I think I was meant to go through this process with Shake, just so I can learn more about myself and know that I'm strong, and I can be proud of myself. I don't fault Shake for not having a physical attraction to me — you shouldn't have to fake chemistry, and I'm totally understanding of that. You just have to be respectful as a friend and a human being and not talk behind someone's back. I hope that both of us come out of this situation learning and growing. I definitely did. I can't regret anything because it was meant to teach me a lesson, and I grew from it.
Do you have a favorite love song?
“Elliot’s Song” from the last episode of Euphoria. I am obsessed. I think I’ve cried to it, like, 100 times already.
What is one misconception people might have about your love life?
I think a lot of people are under the assumption that I'm a fool or I don't see what's going on around me, but I'm extremely intuitive. Sometimes I play the fool, but I know what's going on, and I'm very good about picking up on energy and reading the room.
Sometimes, when I get super emotional or someone is giving me criticism, I tend to put up a wall and go deal with it on my own, but I'm never outwardly mean or vocal about those feelings. I'm not a doormat, I'm not a pushover, and I care about people, and that may come off as me being weak, but I'm never going to change that about myself. I love everyone, and I'm going to continue to extract the good out of people even if they're giving me negative vibes or unwanted advice. I am still going to be a good person and see the good in them.
What does love mean to you?
Love, to me, means unconditional support. It's a balance of catering to your partner's needs and vice versa. It's about giving, but also making sure you find someone that gives you just as much back. Love should be patient and kind, and all of the things that you look for in a best friend. There are so many types of love, too. Love is everything.