90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days‘ Alina, 27, is making her debut on the hit reality show as the first little person in the franchise. As audiences watch Alina’s romance play out on TV with 28-year-old Caleb, from Arizona, the Russian singer is hoping fans will see that people with disabilities “need affection too.”
HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with the burlesque model who explained why it’s so important to share her experience with viewers across the globe. “I’m looking forward for people to see how it is to date someone that has a disability, someone who’s a bit different than the able-bodied person,” Alina said. “I want them to see it and maybe be like, ‘Wow, it’s not that hard. People who have a disability, they’re no different at the end of the day.’”
“There’s so much stigma around it,” continued. “I feel like a lot of people, when they see someone disabled, they just think immediately for some reason — I don’t know who said that — we are asexual. And all we can be is friends and that we are so innocent. This is so not true. I mean, maybe for some people it’s true. Someone can be asexual. That’s fine, of course. But it’s not like if you’re a disabled person, you don’t need affection and human touch. Well, you do. And it’s okay to desire someone who has a different body.”
Alina’s condition prevents her from walking and standing for long periods of time, so she frequently relies on a wheelchair, making free-spirit Caleb wonder if he’ll be able to adjust to her needs. She discussed how she physically keeps up with Caleb, who is adventurous and loves to travel. “I knew he’s like very active and, of course, I’m not the girl you’re gonna go on a hike with or climbing mountains,” Alina admitted.
“But at the same time, I feel like a lot of people don’t know that when you’re in a wheelchair and you have some physical disabilities you can still do so much, especially when there’s someone around you to help you out or something,” she proclaimed. “I’ve never felt like he’s been much more active than I am. Because I traveled a lot in my life with my friends, and even by myself I had a couple of trips. I always lived a very active life.”
Caleb and Alina developed a friendship on social media as teens, but they lost touch for 13 years until they serendipitously matched on a dating app when Caleb was planning a trip to Alina’s home country Russia. Those plans fell through, but their newly rekindled virtual friendship blossomed into something much deeper. Now, they’re finally ready to meet for the first time to see if their emotional connection is deep enough to overcome their physical differences.
A new season of 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days premieres December 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT and will stream concurrently on discovery+.