Everything I've Learned About Love (So Far)
Elys Hutchinson from 'Too Hot To Handle' Season 5

Elys Hutchinson Surprised Herself With *That* Kiss On Too Hot To Handle

“I guess we got lost in the moment.”

Originally Published: 
Elite Daily; Netflix

Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers from the Too Hot to Handle Season 5 finale.

When Elys Hutchinson stepped onto a boat to film what she thought was a reality show called Love Overboard, her only worry was about getting seasick. “I really didn’t suspect anything because all the branding was amazing and looked legit,” the 23-year-old from Lausanne, Switzerland, tells Elite Daily. She mingled with the cast, kissed fellow contestant Hunter LoNigro in a hot tub, and agreed to share a bed with him for what she thought would be a sexy singles’ retreat.

It wasn’t until that evening that the big reveal came: They actually were on Season 5 of Too Hot to Handle, and all kissing (plus any other sexual contact) was off-limits from that point forward. For Hutchinson, it was a mixed bag of emotions to process. “On the one hand, that was a nutty moment in my head because I’ve watched the show,” she says. “But on the other, I was like, ‘Sh*t, these rules apply now.’”

Hutchinson made a name for herself in the retreat, first by breaking a lot of rules, including one record-breaking 12-minute kiss with castmate Alex Snell. But over time, viewers saw her becoming more vulnerable and open to love. After being chosen as a finalist and then voted the winner by her fellow castmates, Hutchinson walked away from the show $50,000 richer and with a boyfriend (Snell) in tow.

Here, Hutchinson tells Elite Daily what it was like to date and break rules in the Too Hot to Handle villa. She dishes on whether she and Snell are still together, plus why she chose to split the prize money with another contestant.

Elite Daily: What was your approach to dating before going on Too Hot to Handle?

Elys Hutchinson: I’ve had a couple of long-term relationships and have dated a bit. I used to meet people through friends of friends or doing sports — I wasn’t a huge dater, but I always was seeing someone or having some sort of fun.

ED: In the first few episodes, we saw you in the middle of a love triangle with Hunter and Alex. What was that like to experience IRL?

EH: I was genuinely really confused; I liked both of them. It’s hard because when you’re in a villa with five guys, it’s not like you can lose sight of one and forget about them. They were both there the whole time, and it was hard to get to know them at the same pace and make a decision.

ED: What ultimately led you to choose Alex over Hunter?

EH: Spending time with Alex, I realized that we had a very similar dry sense of humor. Honestly, we got on like a house on fire. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed with a guy as much as I’ve laughed with Alex. So I just had to go with my gut feeling.

ED: You and Alex broke the rules a few times before starting to take things more seriously. When was the moment your mindset shifted?

EH: On our first official date when I was in the black outfit. That was the moment I thought “Wow, I really could see this going somewhere.” It was mostly fun and lust up until then. That date was the first serious moment we’d had together, and I decided I might calm down a bit.

ED: Just before that, you had the infamous 12-minute rule-breaking kiss. Did you have any idea you were making out for that long?

EH: To be completely honest with you, I was just as shocked as everyone else. I had no idea it was 12 minutes, but I guess we got lost in the moment. It was a good kiss.

It’s funny reading everyone’s comments saying “How did you do that for 12 minutes?” because if you think about it, it’s not that long. I’m sure a lot of people outside of the retreat would kiss a guy they were hooking up with for a while.

ED: True, at least it wasn’t two hours.

EH: There’d be no money left if that was the case. To be honest, I didn’t actually think it’d be that hard not to break rules on the show. But when you’re in there and forming a connection with someone, it gets really difficult because you forget you’re filming so much.

ED: Can you fill me in on your relationship with Alex post-filming? Where do you two stand now?

EH: We stayed together just under six months after filming. It was a very fun six months — very fiery and passionate. But with me traveling so much and us doing long distance, it just didn’t work. We’re still on great terms, which is really nice, especially when we have to watch it back and get questions about whether we’re still together.

ED: Have you stayed friends with the cast?

EH: Literally all of them. The girls and I have a group chat, and we speak every day or two, and the guys will also be friends for life. They’re the only people who have properly experienced what I’ve experienced there, so they are like a different category of friends.

ED: Can you recall a particularly memorable moment from the show that never aired?

EH: Alex, Louie [Russell], and I had a really solid friendship. We were winding Louis up about something, and I stood up to walk away, and my bikini bottoms got stuck to the chair and completely came off. We laughed about that for three hours, not even kidding. It really cracks me up because I was nervous for so long that it was going to be shown.

ED: What about a favorite moment that viewers did see?

EH: My date with Hunter, when he’s talking about plants and I say, “I don’t like plants.” That was such a me comment. I come across as so blunt sometimes, and it’s not intentional. That made my family and I die laughing.

ED: After everything (including the awkward moments), you ended up winning the $100,000 prize. Why did you choose to split it with Dre Woodard?

EH: Firstly, I genuinely never thought I’d be in the final. I had a really good run in the show, but I never expected to meet someone like Alex and fall in love. Splitting the prize was a very impulsive decision, but it made complete sense to me. Detective Dre helped me spend less money, and it really resonated with me that he has 11 siblings. I know how expensive children can be — I’m one of three — and I thought it would help. It just felt like the right thing to do.

ED: You said you never expected to be in the final. Why do you think you won?

EH: I went into the retreat quite strong and firm, and I didn’t really open up to anyone. I just thought I was going on Love Overboard to have loads of fun, and I didn’t think I’d be standing up there doing workshops. I genuinely found the process really hard, and I opened up towards the end and really fell for Alex. Now I wear my heart slightly more on my sleeve.

ED: Are you dating these days?

EH: Right now, I’m focusing on my career. I’m in L.A. with my family and having a really good time. I’m open to going on dates, meeting people, and seeing where it goes, but I’m very happy being single and doing my own thing.

ED: What has it been like navigating the show’s release and the deluge of public opinions on social media?

EH: It’s been a lot more good than bad for me. It is weird when people stop you on the street for a picture. It cracks me up, like, why do you want a picture with me? I’m trying to stay on top of social media and TikTok because it all goes so quickly.

ED: Having had this experience, what’s your best piece of relationship advice?

EH: Go with your gut feeling on everything. When you’re in the real world and not the Too Hot to Handle retreat, your friends, family, and people around you can sway your decision. It’s so easy to stalk a guy on social media and see who he follows. In the retreat, it’s your decision. You genuinely meet people for who they are, not what their feed looks like or who their friends are. That’s something I've taken away — you should always go with how you feel about someone, because it’s your life.

ED: Do you have a celebrity couple you particularly admire?

EH: Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. I love their relationship.

ED: Finally, what does love mean to you?

EH: Finding your best friend that you can do life with. Love obviously takes work, but I also think it should be easy and exciting.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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