Bachelorette sisters: ‘We’re not on TV for a thrupple’
When Becky Miles watched her lookalike sister, Elly have her heart broken in last year's season of The Bachelor, the older sibling admits she cried like a baby.
At four years younger, the latter had been brave enough to go on 10's long-running love search series, only to be sent packing by astrophysicist Matt Agnew, after she called out the shady antics of the season's villain, Abbie Chatfield.
Watching her sister's disappointment on the small screen - especially upsetting as it was before the home visit to meet her family - Becky tells The BINGE Guide she "was bawling my eyes out" when the fan favourite was eliminated.
"You could see how devastated she was. And she sent me videos of herself sobbing and bawling [back] in the hotel after she got out."
Elly laughs at the TV memory: "Yeah, I was eating all the chocolate and diving into the mini bar going 'what just happened?'"
Such a public dumping was not what this level-headed country girl was ready for, she admits.
"I think I'm someone who's got their head screwed on. I certainly went into the experience knowing there was a good chance I'd probably get dumped, but initially it was a huge shock. I really didn't see it coming," she says, adding, "there was stuff that didn't make it to TV."
She had been "looking forward to introducing him to my family, I was planning for it and mum and dad were planning for it, but you know what? I'm grateful that I didn't do home towns. It meant it didn't touch my real life."
So it begs the question why the 26-year-old and her over-protective sister would risk similar treatment a second-time around, signing up as the first-ever Australian sister act?
"I was in a place where I was ready to find love again," Elly says. "I did need a good hard think about it but when the opportunity came up to do it with Becky … I mean what a good story and to share it with my best mate … I wouldn't have been able to without Becky."
Becky wasn't the only one who needed some convincing to do the show, with their mum looking for reassurance she really was doing it for herself and not just because Elly wanted her by her side.
"But it was a case of 'if you don't go, you don't know,'" Becky says.
"I'm really looking for my forever person. So I thought I could give this a crack with Elly or just kind of keep on living life."
Sharing the experience proved the best part: "It's hard to put into words, but it was just so amazing to have Beck there with me," Elly says.
Becky agrees: "We were really close coming into the show and I remember having a chat with Elly and being all 'I never thought we could get closer but we have'."
The Parkes pairing even missed each other when the other would be out on a date.
"I'd be all 'what's Becky doing?' Crikey, I missed her when she was gone."
They weren't always so close, with their age gap playing a part.
"We did fight a lot," Elly confesses, with a laugh. "I was just the annoying younger sister, a feral little tomboy that just wanted to hang out with my older sister, who I thought was really cool. She didn't want a bar of it. So I decided to be dad's little spy and dob on her. It wasn't 'til Becky was 17 and I was 13 that we started getting really close."
The twist to this year's series makes for a fascinating first night, the sisters report.
"We have some beautiful men," Becky shares. "It's such a diverse group of men. They are all so different but all such beautiful people. Just such good down-to-earth blokes."
Elly adds, with a laugh: "We had to keep explaining we're looking for a guy each, that this isn't a thrupple situation."
Filmed during COVID times, the Bachelorettes and their men were inside a strict COVID bubble filled with plenty of hand sanitiser and carefully choreographed dates.
But rest assured, there's plenty of kissing.
"Yes, we were free to kiss," Ellys confirms.
"Can you imagine us both just blowing kisses? You know like 'I'm giving you a big kiss.'"
Coy about their luck in love, both will admit they can't wait to show off their men.
In the meantime, there's a lot of furtive Facetiming and texting.
"At least we don't have to wait as long as other Bachelorettes - there's been a shorter time between filming and airing," Elly says.
The franchise has proved hit and miss for lasting matches, including Agnew, who split within months of presenting his final rose to Chelsie McLeod.
But the girls' are taking heart at the success stories.
The first-ever Aussie Bachelor Tim Robards and his 'rose' Anna Heinrich are awaiting the birth of their first child; while Sam Wood and Snezana Markoski, from season 3, are also married and the proud parents of two gorgeous daughters - Willow, three, and Charlie, one.
Bachelorette Georgia Love and Lee Elliot have been forced to postpone their nuptials after their planned Italian wedding, then a Tasmanian back-up, were both delayed by COVID border closures.
Even the man Love jilted, Matty Johnson found his soulmate Laura Byrne in the following Bachelor season - welcoming daughter Marlie Mae, 15 months ago, and with another baby on the way.
So could we see a televised joint wedding?
"Never, say never," Elly trills. "Crikey - that's the next big adventure, geez Louise."
* The Bachelorette, 7.30pm Wednesday, on 10.