Lilly Vilchez had never watched MARRIED AT FIRST SIGHT when her Best Friend urged her to sign up to find her future spouse.  In a whirlwind, Lilly auditioned and casting decided that she was a match for her now divorced husband, who lived in a bus, definitely not a match for this high powered real estate broker.  Lilly joins us to chat about her life now after the reality tv cameras left the scene, the real estate scene, and what she was up to in COVID times.

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Alice: Yes. Lilly, welcome to the podcast. We’re so excited to have you on.

Lilly: Thank you so much for having me. I’m actually excited to be on this. My first podcast, though, this should be fun.

Alice: So exciting. Well, we start with some more like softball questions. Where are you living now? I know you were in Miami and you’re also between there and North Carolina.

Lilly: Yes. I’m currently in Charlotte. I still do some real estate back in Florida because I keep on my license active. I also have my license here but I’m currently doing Property Management in Charlotte.

Alice: That’s awesome. What do you love about Charlotte?

Lilly: Honestly, it’s so homey and this is the one thing that Miami is such a transient City. I never saw myself settling roots or establishing myself there. I think as North Carolina feels is like homey, I want to start a family here. I want to buy a house, have a picket fence and just lay some roots out here.

Alice: That’s awesome.

Lilly: In an actual house though.

Alice: Are you in an actual house now?

Lilly: I am in an apartment right now, but still, it’s a dwelling.

Alice: Okay. Me too. I’m in New York City, so it will forever be an apartment.

Lilly: Well, I love New York. It’s so nice out there. I love going around Christmas time. I guess just because of the light displays through stuff. Oh my gosh. I think I go every around Thanksgiving every year, almost.

Alice: Oh my gosh. Yes. I love it here around Christmas time. The Rockefeller Center, the tree, and everything. Ice skating.

Lilly: So pretty.

Alice: Really fun?

Lilly: Yes.

Alice: Yes. You probably didn’t get to go last because of everything.

Lilly: I didn’t go. I still went to New Jersey to visit my family because my sister lives in Jersey. I usually go for Thanksgiving to spend time with the fam, and then I end up taking my trip to New York City. Yes, I didn’t get to do that last year.

Alice: Yes.

Lilly: Hopefully this year.

Alice: Yes, come on. What have you been up to this year in the pandemic? What have you been doing?

Lilly: I’ve been working a lot. Luckily, in my line of business, we’re considered essential because it’s housing. I’ve been working through it. If anything, I’ve had more work because of the pandemic. A lot of people are moving because they either can’t afford it or they just sold their house because the market’s crazy. I’ve been super busy with work and then once things started slowly opening back up, I went to Mexico for my birthday for a vacation. But don’t tell anyone about that.

Alice: Oh my God. That’s awesome. Where did you go?

Lilly: I went to Cancun. I turned 30 this year. Oh my gosh.

Alice: Me too.

Lilly: I was like: “I need to go on a trip. I need to get out of here.” Like, “Let’s go.”

Alice: Oh my God. That’s amazing. I wish I had a little trip. Maybe later, I was a little scared. As a New Yorker, it was all around.

Lilly: Have you had covid at all? At any point?

Alice: I did actually. I got it at the beginning of everything. In March, April. Did you get it at all?

Lilly: I did too. I had it in the lie. Honestly, it was kind of rough for me. I had a lot of symptoms. The body aches, I feel the worst. Just feeling tired and my asthma since then has been horrible.

Alice: Oh my God. That’s terrible Lily. Oh, I’m so sorry.

Lilly: But because of that, I’m a little more, “Well, let’s go to Mexico.”

Alice: Yes. Oh man, that sounds so nice. I haven’t left to anywhere in so long.

Lilly: Well, you guys were really shut down, too.

Alice: Yes. We just opened or we just lifted the Mask mandate. On Saturday, I took off my mask while I was walking through the park. It was really weird.

Lilly: Isn’t it lovely?

Alice: Yes. I was like, “Wow.” People have smiles. People have faces.

Lilly: I know it’s so crazy. Luckily, here in Charlotte, there are so many outdoorsy things to do. Even during COVID, you could still go on Hikes. A lot of the parks were still open, things like that. That was nice. At least on the weekends, I could still do daytime stuff. Of course, you’re wearing your mask and social distancing, but for hiking, it was a great teacher.

Alice: Oh my Gosh. That’s awesome.

Lilly: Yes. Other than that, everything was really close down and it was bleak there for a moment. You miss that personal interaction with people. I have a real-life person next to me. There’s skin and bone there.

Alice: I know it’s so bizarre. Because of the Mask mandate, my friends and I just finally got vaccinated. Waited the two weeks. I’ve touched a friend for the first time on Saturday. This one friend I hadn’t touched for a year. It was so weird.

Lilly: Swimming podcast.

Alice: Yes. We have hands.

Lilly: I know it’s so crazy. I don’t even know. This past year was definitely one for the books.

Alice: Oh, yes.

Lilly: I thought of getting married to a stranger would be the peak of weirdness in my lifetime, but I guess not.

Alice: Oh my God. Can you please talk about that? If anyone doesn’t know Lily, you might have seen her on Married At First Sight, the season 4 in Miami. Can you talk a little bit about that experience?

Lilly: It was definitely an experience. Yes, I want to say I was 25 at the time. They put my age one year short on the show because my birthday happened prior, right in the middle of filming. At that point, they couldn’t change my birthday. Everyone was like, “Oh, my gosh, she’s 24 years old?” I was 25, guys. My best friend from Houston actually put in an application for me. She was like, “You need to try this. You know, they’re casting in Miami. I think you should do it. You’re always complaining that you can’t meet someone and it’s hard to date in Miami.” I was like, “That sounds kind of far-fetched.” Then she was like, “You just have to try it. Like, what do you have to lose?” I thought about it. I was like, “Nothing, really.” What did I have to lose? I was like, “Nothing.” It could be really great or go terribly wrong. Either way, it’s just for six weeks. I’m like, “It can’t be that bad.”

I ended up getting a call from the application she submitted. It just kept going from there. The interview process, and then the personality assessment. Now you’re meeting with the shrink to see if your psycho evaluation comes out good. All of a sudden, “We found you a match.” I was like, “Holy crap. Okay, I’m getting married.”

Alice: Wow.

Lilly: Yes, it was pretty crazy. It was a fun ride, though, just the experience itself. I learned a lot of life lessons that I carry with me today. That was great. That’s a good takeaway that I have from it, for sure.

Alice: That’s good. Yes. Can you talk a little bit about meeting your husband at the altar? What was that like? You didn’t see him, you turned around. Did you watch the show before?

Lilly: No.

Alice: Oh, wow.

Lilly: No. I didn’t know about the existence of this show until my girlfriend—her name is Michelle—told me about it. She’s like, “Just watch it.” I watched the first season and of course there was Courtney and Jamie in that season. I was like, “Oh, my gosh, they made it. That’s great.” I have the chance of it potentially working for me. Then season 2 happened. Was it too late? I think the second one in New York and I was like, “Okay, but I’m still season 4.” If you want to make it work, I think there’s a good chance you can make it work. I don’t think you can account for the interest of the other person. What they truly want from the experiment.

Alice: Yes. Can you talk a little bit about being filmed all the time? What was that like?

Lilly: It’s weird. I’m assuming the podcast is similar. If they ask you a question, you have to answer with the question in your answer so people know. They would, “How old are you? Hi. What’s your name or how old are you?” I would be like, “Hi, my name is Lillian. I’m 25 years old or 24 years old.” Whatever. Then let you get used to answering like that, which is kind of strange. The cast and the crew, well, the crew, I guess they were awesome. We became so close and I still have my wedding album. I’m not even going to lie: I have it here in my living room. I still keep it because all of the crew signed it in the back and wrote us these cute messages and stuff. You really become close to them. We filmed 40 hours a week. It’s basically another full-time job. Outside of your work schedule. If you’re not working, you’re filming.

Alice: Wow, that’s crazy. That’s a lot of pressure for six weeks.

Lilly: It definitely is, and I think it adds to everything that goes on into the marriages. You also have to account for not only did you just marry a stranger and you’re sleeping with this person in your same bed—you’re legally married but now you also have a crew of maybe eight people or more. Just walking around moving things, asking you questions. Pulling you here, pulling you. We have a schedule. We got to get this done. It’s a lot. It can become a lot. Yes.

Alice: Yes. What was the wildest story from being on a reality TV show?

Lilly: A lot of people are going to guess my answer, but I’m going to say it anyway.

Alice: Okay.

Lilly: I think the wildest thing from that whole experience was the fact that my husband lived on a bus.

Alice: Yes.

Lilly: I mean, I don’t have anything to top that right now. I think that was probably the wildest thing during that whole time.

Alice: Amazing. Are you dating now? Were you dating through covid? I know it’s been a super weird experience this year.

Lilly: I mean, could you really date through covid-19?

Alice: Not really.

Lilly: Yes. I haven’t really been dating. I started getting back in the dating game not too long ago. I’m on the hinge now.

Alice: Cool.

Lilly: We’ll see how that works out. Right after my divorce, I wasn’t dating a lot, to be honest. I was just like, “I’m going to take a pause on this and I’ll revisit this later.” I think now I’m ready to revisit that. I had the Mommy Jean Kickin and I’m like, “I want to have a baby. Oh my God, am I dating again?”

Alice: Awesome. Yes. Well, I mean, what a year.

Lilly: Hey, no one would look sideways if I randomly popped up with the baby. There are a lot of quarantine babies out there.

Alice: That’s true. That could be awesome, too.

Lilly: Yes. I’ve been having that little mommy-itch lately. I’m like, “You know what? I need to…” I mean, for me to meet someone I have to start dating and that’s where I’ve been going wrong.

Alice: I think now with our vaccines and like being vaccinated. We can go out on the town and you said, all the hiking trails and everything. Charlotte’s open.

Lilly: Yes. Oh, Charlotte is definitely open.

Alice: That’s awesome.

Lilly: Yes. Charlotte is, you wouldn’t think there was a pandemic here. Not all though. But yes, now that I can actually meet people in person, it might make it easier for dating. I don’t know. I think I’ve become a little jaded with the whole. Even dating through a website, because that’s essentially meeting someone random.

Alice: Yes. Stranger.

Lilly: Yes. I’ve been taking it real easy with the dating site.

Alice: Yes, that makes sense.

Lilly: Precaution.

Alice: Yes. I met my boyfriend on Tinder.

Lilly: It worked.

Alice: It just so happened.

Lilly: I had hope for the hinge. Let’s listen…

Alice: Yes. I heard that’s great.

Lilly: It’s supposed to be the app that’s meant to be deleted. I’m going to hold on. I’m going to quote these words later on.

Alice: Yes, come on.

Lilly: Come on, hinge make it work for me.

Alice: Something that we always ask on this podcast is, what is your definition of Womanhood?

Lilly: For me, my definition of Womanhood is someone who carries her own, just in general. Emotionally, mentally, and physically. Someone who is a go-getter who says, “I want this and goes for it,” and says, “I don’t need any of the negativity that you’re spewing, or you’re giving me because I know what I can do. And I’m going to get there.” That for me, is just what every woman should embody. Never take no for an answer—just going.

Alice: Yes, that’s so awesome, Lily. That’s very empowering. Go-getter. Don’t take no for an answer. That’s awesome.

Lilly: Yes. I mean, I’ve been there. I moved to the United States by myself, from Nicaragua. I know what it’s like starting from scratch, starting from zero, and getting to where you want to be. Where you feel you want to be, or you need to be. Just knowing if you keep going and you have had it. If you put in the effort, you’re going to get it.

Alice: That’s amazing, Lilly. Do you have any advice for your younger self? What would you tell her?

Lilly: I was going to say something, but let’s change that one up. I’ve been able to maintain a nice persona in my divorce, so let’s keep it that way. What would I say to my younger self? I think I probably should have thought of these beforehand.

Alice: No worries.

Lilly: I like to be more spur-of-the-moment. See what happens when I get asked the question. Probably to know that it always gets better. Everything. Whatever it is, it always gets better.

Alice: That’s awesome. That’s really lovely. Yes.

Lilly: I was going to say, get a divorce on decision day, but literally the first thought that came to me.

Alice: Amazing. Oh my, Gosh. Lily, do you have anything else you’d like to add to our listeners?

Lilly: I mean, for all the young girls out there. I get a lot of messages from younger girls who want to get into real estate and want to know what they need to do. Just put in the hard work. A lot of people I know, my parents, were very high on, “Get a college education. This is the route you have to do to get to where you want to be in life.” There’s really no book or map for people. You can’t just do one, two, three, and get there. There are phases to everything. Just keep trucking on. Just put in the effort. Go for what you want to do, because I made that mistake as I was younger. My parents really wanted me to get a college degree and I ended up getting them for them. Do I work in it? No. Do I use my college degree? No. That definitely do not. That was about five years of my life that I’ll never get back. When I appreciate it because it taught me a lot, but that’s not the necessary route for everyone. I want all younger girls to know that like. You can come from anywhere, but you can get to where you want to be if you put in the effort and you put in the work.

Alice: That’s awesome, Lily. Thank you so much for being on the podcast today.

Lilly: Of course, this is great. Very nice. Super fun.

If you liked this article, check out the rest of our interviews on our podcast Weekly Woman.

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About the author

Alice Cash is the Marketing Manager for Jubilance by day and an award winning Theatre Director by night.  Leading the podcast Weekly Woman, she loves her candid conversations with women from all over the world about how they live and the amazing things they are doing to make a difference. Alice is also the editor of the bi-monthly newsletter the Jubilee, a blog dedicated to the power of female wellness especially concerning menstruation.  She’s worked in France creating theatre pieces and taught drama and filmmaking to women and children in Haiti.  She graduated from Georgetown University and holds two master degrees from NYU and The New School.  Alice has traveled to  40+ countries, including Tibet.  She is a New Yorker and can often be found in Central Park, searching out the best bubble tea, or directing a play, you never know where she’ll show up. @alicesadventuresinwonderworld
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