You might think your fave reality TV stars are living the life. But as glam as their lives might look on camera (or Instagram), reality stars don’t take home a ton of dough. Or, at least the stars of TLC’s hit show 90 Day Fiancé—and spinoffs 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After? and 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way—don’t.
A source told RadarOnline that, before 2018, the stars of 90 Day Fiancé made “$500 to $1,000 per episode.” Last year, however, the cast members’ salaries increased to “$1,000 to $1,500 per episode.” The insider revealed that the per-episode salary increases for couples who appear on 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After?, but it “doesn’t go up much more.”
Quick math lesson: Considering the last season spanned 13 episodes (two of which were “Tell All” eps), 90 Day Fiancé stars were reportedly paid a maximum of $19,500 total per cast member. That’s a nice chunk of change if, ya know, being a reality TV star is just your side hustle.
But, that’s rarely the case for the foreign partners who have left pretty much everything, including their careers, behind in their home countries. “They can’t even get paid [by TLC] because they have to wait for a work permit,” the source explained. “It’s, of course, different if filming takes place in their country.” (TLC has yet to respond to Women’s Health’s request for comment and confirmation on salary rates.)
On 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way, for example, Americans move abroad to be with their partners. Because every country requires a work permit–some are easier to get than others, according to WeWork—it’s unknown whether the U.S. citizens will be able to secure one in time for filming.
As for parents and friends of the 90 Day Fiancé cast, they make much less—only $250 for one day of filming, per a second RadarOnline source.
Clearly, reality TV stardom won’t score you the same major bucks as becoming a scripted TV or film star (which, ya know, fair), but it’s often the springboard for a thriving career as an Instagram influencer. Current 90 Day Fiancé cast members and alumni alike have snagged deals promoting brands like Teami (a flat tummy tea) on the social media platform.
Some, including Larissa Dos Santos from this season’s Happily Ever After? and Paul and Karine Staehle from 90 Day’s first two seasons, have also taken to Cameo, an app where celebs can charge fans to record personalized video messages. (If you’re in the market, Larissa’s Cameos go for $60, while Paul and Karine charge $70.)
Clearly, reality TV stardom guarantees you more fame than fortune—but hey, if you’re not into the whole 9-to-5 scene, it’s not the worst way to make money.