Film and TV

Three DFW Women Get "Duped" on I Wanna Marry Harry

When the season premiere of I Wanna Marry Harry airs tonight, America will watch 12 women compete for the love and affection of Prince Harry.

OK, not really. That's just what the show leads the contestants, including three women from the Dallas area, to believe.

Matthew Hicks plays the Prince Harry look-alike, but he never reveals his name or what he does for a living. Instead, everyone just refers to him as "Sir" or "The Gentleman," leaving the women to draw their own conclusions.

So basically, these women go on lavish dates in England with a handsome British dude only to eventually realize he's a 23-year-old commoner and not royalty.

Did they really think they had a shot with THE Prince Harry, fourth in line to the British throne and the world's most eligible bachelor?

"In real life, a guy hits on you at a bar and says he plays for the Mavs. You can Google it and see if he does," Meghan Jones, one of the show's contestants, told us. "We had no social media, no Internet, nothing like that. So if people keep telling you something, you start questioning yourself. There's definitely a little bit of mystery going on."

Jones is a local single 26-year-old artist and semi-famous ex-girlfriend. She dated Jake Pavelka of Bachelor fame after his stint on the ABC show.

So maybe these girls just wanted a little bit of airtime? That seems to be the case with Leah Thom, a working model from Fort Worth.

She told us she signed up for the show to beat her musician ex-boyfriend to the punch of becoming famous. And the quickest and most effective way to fame these days seems to be appearing on a national dating reality show.

Besides, when a Ryan Seacrest-produced show flies you to a foreign country to meet an eligible bachelor, you don't think twice. Or at least that's how Andrea Fox, a contestant from Plano, looked at it.

Except, she kind of did.

Fox is a pageant girl (placing in the top 15 of the 2012 competition for Miss Texas USA) and now a lead development rep at a technology company. She said her family wanted her to stay in Texas so she could continue competing. Instead, Fox competed on the show, came back to Texas and last weekend was crowned third runner-up in the Miss Dallas pageant.

The women's knowledge of the royal family seemed tenuous. These women aren't tween fangirls with Prince Harry posters everywhere in their bedrooms, Fox said. Thom told us she doesn't really follow pop culture. Hell, now that she thinks of it, she doesn't even know Prince Harry's last name.

But the opportunity landed in Thom's lap, she had a motive for revenge, and a little love never hurt anyone. OK, it can sometimes hurt a little.

And Jones possibly felt the hurt. While she won't reveal when in the season the women learn it's all a hoax, she did say she developed real feelings for the guy.

The show premieres tonight after American Idol, and all three ladies will attend viewing parties.

"My mom is super excited. It's meant to be humorous in my opinion. It's funny, you know," Thom said. "They're all just kind of excited for it. They love to see me on TV pretty much. My mom is excited. My dad not so much."

Jones wants potential viewers to know it's not meant to be taken seriously.

"I hope that they understand that this is for entertainment," she said. "This is supposed to be funny. It's kind of like a reality romantic comedy, so they should just keep that in mind while watching it. I hope people don't take it too seriously."

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Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner