Let’s talk about Blake Horstmann and Giannina Gibelli. The couple first met in December 2021 on the set of MTV’s All Star Shore, a party-heavy competition show premiering on Paramount+ on June 29. Romance rumors started following the duo in January, but they stayed coy about their relationship status. As Gibelli explained on IG in April, “I can’t officially post him [right now], because we did a project together that hasn’t been announced yet, but I’ll share as much as I want when I can.” Their silence didn’t stop speculation, though, especially when the couple started dropping not-too-subtle clues on social media. Now, Horstmann and Gibelli are opening up about how they met, how they knew they were into each other, and how this relationship is different than their previous reality TV romances.
Though All Star Shore isn’t exactly designed for romance — the main goal is to win a $150,000 cash prize, not fall in love — that structure seems to have only helped Horstmann and Gibelli grow closer. Apparently, neither reality star went into the experience looking for a relationship, and the lack of built-in romance fostered their connection. He tells Elite Daily, “I didn’t — and I know G. didn’t either — expect to meet somebody, so there was... You know, [it’s] not like these dating shows don’t have genuine connections or anything, but it felt more genuine just because I wasn’t going down there like, ‘I want to meet somebody, I want to get engaged, I want to get married,’ you know like [on] The Bachelor, Bachelorette, and all that.”
Gibelli agrees. “It was so refreshing, honestly, cause there was just, like, no expectations for that whatsoever. So it was just, like, the most organic connection,” she says. And it sounds like this romantic connection has carried over. Their relationship is still going strong — and now, they’re actually starting to open up about it.
It was just, like, the most organic connection.
The competitive aspect of the show also helped strengthen their bond. All Star Shore is basically The Real World meets Survivor meets reality TV stars (including Angelina Pivarnick from Jersey Shore, Vanessa “Vanjie” Mateo from RuPaul’s Drag Race, and plenty of Geordie Shore fan-faves). In the show, the contestants are paired with partners at random, and each two-person team has to compete in a series of games to earn points toward a cash prize. Of course, there are some catches: If you get sent to Exile, your team is stranded on a dead-fish-covered boat and you lose all your points. So, yeah, not exactly a bed of roses.
Horstmann says, “It was pretty competitive at times and cutthroat, so it was kinda nice to have somebody — a partner, if you will — on a show like this that you can kind of trust and is loyal and things like that.” Gibelli adds, “You see each other in these really weird scenarios, like covered in dirt and just having the worst day of your life and like all this sh*t, and you’re still looking at them like, ‘Yeah, I still think you’re gorgeous.’”
Although they weren’t looking for love, it didn’t take them long to realize what was in front of them. Horstmann says he knew he liked Gibelli from their very “first conversation.” And apparently, their unlucky-in-love storylines brought them together. He explains, “We had a lot in common, you know, familiar stories, where it’d be like me dumped at the proposal or how her wedding went, so we had a lot in common in that aspect.” (When Horstmann proposed to Becca Kufrin during Season 14 of The Bachelorette, she rejected him. Gibelli’s Love Is Blind wedding to Damian Powers during Season 1 resulted in her being broken up with at the altar.)
Despite their similar histories, they had enough differences to keep things interesting. Horstmann adds, “We were also different in certain ways that I really liked and things that we could push each other on and challenge each other, so it was pretty early on, kind of in one of our first or second conversations, I was like, ‘Ooh, I’m kind of into this girl.’”
Gibelli’s feelings for Hortmann grew a little more slowly. “I mean I had a couple suitors [on All Star Shore], so I was like, ‘OK, what’s going on? I did not come down here for this. Like what is happening?’ I was very shocked.” It wasn’t until she kissed Geordie Shore’s James Tindale during an icebreaker game and saw Horstmann was upset that she realized her feelings for him ran a little deeper. “I felt really bad that I hurt his feelings. In that moment, I was like I gotta figure this out because that’s what matters to me. So yeah, I guess I had to be put in a corner.”
She figured out where her loyalty lies pretty quickly. “I had my eyes on him, and I was like, ‘This is it, I know what I want,’ and when I know what I want, I get it.” 👀 I guess I’ll have to stay tuned in to see exactly how that plays out.
There’s still a lot of mystery surrounding Horstmann and Gibelli’s romance, but I have a feeling this relationship will turn out better than their previous reality TV romances.