New Paltz Alumna Joins “Temptation Island”

Pilkington, who graduated from New Paltz in 2016, stated that this opportunity was perfect for her as she loves to explore new challenges. Photo courtesy of Meghan Pilkington.

Heads up fans of reality TV in New Paltz: The fourth season of the USA reality dating series “Temptation Island” features a familiar face — at least to the New Paltz campus.

Meghan Pilkington, who graduated from New Paltz in 2016 with a communication disorders major and deaf studies minor has joined the cast for its current season which premiered earlier this month on March 16. 

“Temptation Island” follows four couples who are at a crossroads in their relationships. For instance, this season includes a couple who are unsure if they’ll be able to handle long distance, a couple who have been together since college and are unsure if their relationship is going to grow with them, a couple that has difficulty sorting through trust issues and a couple looking to sort through their own codependency.

The couples move to a sunny, beachside location — this season it’s in Hawaii — where they split off and live with a series of 24 singles: 12 men and 12 women. The couples get to know potential partners on the island, learn about themselves and discover what they want out of love and in their lives. The main question for each couple who came in together is if they will stick together or if they will find out that they’re not meant to be.

Pilkington is a member of this season’s lineup of 24 singles. She had just finished her Master’s degree for speech language pathology at Buffalo State College in May and then traveled the country for a couple months before filming began for the show in September. She explained that the opportunity to be a part of the show felt perfect for her.

“I’m the type of person who loves new challenges and to expand my life experience,” she shared. “I figured what better way to learn more about myself and challenge myself than taking on an experience like this where I get to learn about love from a different perspective?”

“Temptation Island” is on its fourth season on the USA network, but the show has a history as a series on FOX. The series originally aired for three seasons in the early 2000’s before being picked up again by USA in 2019. 

Though the premise of the program has remained the same, there have still been massive changes between the original series and the revival. Series host, Mark L. Walberg has highlighted how attitudes around this type of show have changed with the times.

“You gotta remember that the original version came out in 2001, reality TV was brand new. I think there were five episodes that went by before anyone shared a kiss,” he shared with E!News. “[but with this generation], the people that are on the show now, dispelled some of the fakeness of how we were back then. In other words, if you feel sexual, you’re allowed to be sexual. There’s less shame behind action.”

Walberg also shared how in the 20 years since the original series began, people seem to have become more emotionally intelligent and have been allowed to share their thoughts and feelings more openly.

“People want to talk about how to build a relationship, they have the wherewithal to bring themselves up,” Walberg continued. “I feel like people have a better vocabulary to discuss relationships now.”

For Pilkington, the experience of diving into your own emotions and learning more about yourself in the process was definitely felt while she was on the show.

“I didn’t expect as many emotions, not just for me but for everyone throughout the experience,” she explained. “I feel like you see stuff on TV but to actually be there feeling things and finding change within yourself was definitely a moving part of my entire life.”

Though the premise of the show focuses on the four couples and how their interactions with everyone else could shake up their thoughts around their relationships, Pilkington expressed how the show allowed for a lot of introspection for everyone else as well. 

“I definitely learned a lot about myself, a lot about love, a lot about what I want for myself and for someone else,” she said. “I learned a lot about what the relationship I want to have with someone looks like.”

For the cast as a whole she expressed that there was “a lot of drama, a lot of emotion, a lot of tears, people learning a lot about themselves and basically just finding love whether that be with someone else or just themselves. [It was] a growing process for everyone and you get to see that play out for sure.”

Follow the journey of Pilkington, the four couples and the rest of the 24 single cast members on this season of “Temptation Island.” New episodes premiere on the USA network every Wednesday at 10 p.m. EST.