Ella Morgan Clark is one of the courageous singletons who married a stranger on Married At First Sight, but it’s never been about finding love for her.
Ella, a 29-year-old clinic consultant from Weston-Super-Mare, has made ‘herstory’ as the first trans bride on the E4 show, and she wanted to offer a positive representation of her community as well as attempting to find a happily ever after.
‘Since I’ve transitioned, I try to say yes to everything within reason,’ Ella said.‘I promised myself that I would take opportunities when they came to me because of what I’ve survived.
She continued: ‘There were times before and during my transition when I didn’t want to be here anymore.
‘Suicide and assisted suicide in the trans community is high because of the misunderstanding and the way that we are treated by a lot of society.’
A recent study found that 88% of trans people had experienced suicidal thoughts*.
‘I didn’t die, and there’s a reason I’m still here on this planet.
‘I genuinely believe everyone is here for a reason.
‘I didn’t know what mine was, but I knew it was something.
‘Now, I believe it’s to spread a message, give a voice to trans people and show our dating experience.
‘I’ve had some bad relationships, where men have been happy with me but then ashamed to be open about our relationship because I’m trans, and that’s not just something I’ve experienced.
She continued: ‘When I got my application accepted by MAFS I thought this is my chance to change my luck and do something incredible.
‘Why throw it all away because I’ve been treated like crap by men and society in the past?
‘Life is too short. I lived life as a boy in the wrong body for so many years and so now I don’t want to waste a single second of my life, and I don’t want to take anything for granted,’ Ella concluded.
However, Ella did have to try to forget about this responsibility while filming: ‘I can’t physically walk through life always thinking I’m a role model and a representative of my community. If I did I would be on mute the whole time to not say the wrong thing!
‘This is my experience and I can’t speak for everyone, but hopefully my story helps and I’ve made my community proud.’
Ella opted to speak to the group about being a trans woman on last night’s broadcast of the show.
‘When I was born, I appeared very different to how I do today,’ she began.
‘My mum gave birth to four boys, three brothers, and then me. My mom asked me when I was younger if I was gay, and I said, “No Mom, I am a woman.” She said, “You want to be a girl?” I said, “No. I am a girl”.’
She concluded: ‘Now that my outside and it’s a very sexy outside matches my inside, I stand in front of you all as an openly trans woman, but more importantly, I stand here is Ella and all I want to do is be seen and treated as the girl that I am, finally.’
Ella had just one person in mind as she made the emotional address before a group of 15 cast members, the team behind the scenes, and eventually millions of spectators.
‘I was thinking about the old me. I had six-year-old Evan sitting there. I thought about who I was, and who I had become.
‘It’s emotional even now talking about it,’ Ella told us before she composed herself and joked she didn’t want to ruin her makeup.
‘That speech was the proudest moment of my life.
‘I didn’t know how everyone would react, but the cast were so supportive.’
One day, Ella hopes she won’t have to announce that she’s trans: ‘I want to be able to say, “Hi I’m Ella” and that’s it, but that’s not where we are. It’s unfortunate.’
She was paired with Nathanial Valentino, 36, an events marketing manager from Manchester, during the process.
‘I knew there would be a lot of people who signed up for this show, who wouldn’t want to date a trans woman so when my match was found I thought it was the right thing to do to tell him I was trans. That’s the only thing he knew about me.
‘I didn’t want to spend my wedding day worried about letting him know in front of all the guests and crew.
‘We still sat down together to talk about it though as I wanted to have an authentic conversation about that part of the story myself as it’s a big part of my life,’ she recalled.
Although the relationship apparently did not work out (we’ll have to watch the series to find out what happens), Ella still refers to the wedding as “the best day of my life,” and admits she has seen the episode four times.
Things appeared to go awry for the couple during their honeymoon in Mexico.
Instead of drinking margaritas and swimming in the Pacific Ocean, the couple spent a lot of time arguing. When Nathaniel claimed Ella was different off camera and had discreetly disclosed she was formerly a stripper, a massive feud erupted.
Ella has now addressed her intention to conceal her past career.
‘I knew I was going to get backlash for being trans, and I didn’t want to have it for being a dancer too.
‘I’m not ashamed of it. It helped to look after my family and pay for my surgeries but I knew it wouldn’t go down well with all the viewers.
‘A lot of trans people have to turn to sex work due to high unemployment rates [a previous study found that half of trans people were unemployed**] due to discrimination as they can’t get traditional jobs.
‘I’m lucky that I’ve been able to since but I know those choices can be judged.’
Sadly, Ella correctly predicted some backlash to her appearance on the series.
‘I can be quite tomboy-ish. I compare myself to Olivia Attwood and Chloe Burrows, but as they aren’t trans they don’t get the constant ‘You’re a man’ comments.
‘I have to laugh things off – that’s how I deal with my emotions,’ she explained.
‘As a trans person, you kind of just have to grin and bear it. I’ve got someone just calling me a man 50 times. So f*****g what? That’s the only thing they can poke fun at.
‘I’m very secure in who I am as a person.
‘I’m glad that I am strong because if there was someone else in my shoes, they may not be.
‘I was given this opportunity, privilege and honour, and I’m going to rise above it in hopes I can help some people. I know I’m a good person and people who know me know that too.
She stated: ‘I’m never gonna let anyone dim my shine.’
Ella is also thankful for the practically daily check-ins with the production crew, as well as her supporting family, who has helped her whenever she has needed it.
‘My participation in the series is kind of a love letter to my family and a thank you for all the s**t I’ve put them through.
‘I can hopefully show people who are trans that it’s possible to have a supporting and loving family,’ she sweetly declared.
‘I’ve had so many messages about my incredible nanny. She’s from an older generation who people may assume would be less accepting, but she completely accepts and loves me.
‘We’ve been through some hard times, but we’ve always done it together. I don’t know where I’d be without them.’
Ella has had a taste of fame thanks to MAFS, and she hopes that it will continue long beyond the final commitment ceremony.
‘I want to keep working in this field and be a voice for trans people. It’s a lot of pressure to be a representative, but a good pressure.’
*The study was carried out by Just Like Us – an LGBT+ young people’s charity.
**Study by Action on Social Change.
Married At First Sight UK returns tonight on E4 at 9pm.