Nev Schulman Explains Why It’s ‘Better’ He Came in Second Place on ‘DWTS’ (Exclusive)

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Nev Schulman has no hard feelings about being the runner-up of season 29 of Dancing With the Stars. In fact, he’s quite happy about it!

While guest co-hosting Entertainment Tonight on Thursday, the 36-year-old Catfish star opened up about why he’s content about finishing in second place with his pro partner, Jenna Johnson. Throughout the season, the two consistently received high scores from the judges and plenty of votes from fans watching at home, but the mirrorball trophy ultimately went to Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev.

“Look, we can all agree Dancing with the Stars is a hoot. I don’t wanna offend anyone, but it’s pretty silly. I mean, it’s ridiculous,” Schulman joked to ET’s Lauren Zima. “It’s a big, fun, ridiculous show that I enjoyed thoroughly, but winning for me was never the objective. Obviously, it’s something to sort of focus on, but for me, it was just about dancing and performing and my love of the performing arts.”

“What’s held me back from dancing, I think, more in my adult life was the concern of not being as good as I would have liked to have been … I’m always comparing myself,” he added. “So I gave myself permission just to have fun and enjoy it and work hard, and I was happy and proud of what I was able to achieve.”

Schulman continued on, telling ET, “In a weird way I think not winning actually was better.”

“I had this weird moment where we were waiting for the results and I sorta said in my head to myself, ‘You know what, I don’t need to win this.’ Because I’ve achieved what I came on the show to achieve, which was just believing in myself and giving myself permission to not be a perfectionist and just have fun and do something that I love,” he shared. “So I was happy that Kaitlyn won. I know how much that meant to her and how long she had wanted to both be on the show and obviously win.”

“I weirdly, despite what you may think, was almost happier getting second place,” he admitted. “Because I really felt like I had already won for myself.”

Now that DWTS is over, Schulman is back to work full-time on the new season of Catfish: The TV Show, which airs Tuesdays on MTV, and is all-virtual for the first time ever due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I think catfishing is on the rise, for sure. Since the pandemic started and we all went into quarantine, we did our best to figure out as quick as possible how we can keep making the show. Because what we saw was, as more and more people spent more time at home and online, the emails and applications started pouring in, and we wanted to help,” he explained. “Whatever the cause may be, people are home more and no one is spending time socializing or doing many of the things we would normally do with each other. Which means we’re at home and if you’re looking for love you’re not at the bar, you’re on your computer. So, yeah, I think more people going online for the first time, using these sites without real experience is making them vulnerable and susceptible to getting catfished.”

On top of the return of his MTV series, Schulman is also celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Catfish documentary he produced, which catapulted him to fame and introduced the term “catfish” to the masses. He opened up about whether it’s easier or more difficult to catfish someone these days than it was a decade ago, with the development of more dating apps.

“There’s two sides to it. Obviously, technologically, you’d think it’s harder now because everyone knows now, certainly this year, how to Zoom and Facetime,” he explained. “And most people have a smart phone and internet access, so it’s hard to come up with the excuses you could have once used about not having the technology.”

“But on the other hand, I think that socially and emotionally we’re so used to living our lives publicly now. Everyone has social media. Your whole life is essentially Google-able very quickly, which I think is pushing people to find and seek out small enclaves of privacy and intimacy with someone who isn’t a part of their greater social network,” he continued. “So I think there’s this strange attractiveness to these relationships that are private and small and mysterious and just for you. So I think that’s why we’re seeing as many, or more people, getting catfished than ever.”

But that’s not all! Schulman is launching his own podcast on Dec. 6 for fans who simply “can’t get enough Catfish.”

“If you want to take it on the road with you, it’ll be a podcast,” he teased. “We’re taking some of our best episodes, we’re editing them down a little bit and then I’m offering some additional commentary and introductions. It’s fun! It’s just another way to sort of listen to and enjoy these stories.”

And, perhaps, a Catfish: The Musical version coming soon?

“That’s what I wanna do. I’ve been mulling this over for years,” he teased. “This experience [on DWTS] was absolutely the thing I needed to start really pursuing new things, certainly in the performing arts. I’d like to develop a musical. I’d like to be involved with and produce any kind of performing arts projects that exist.”

“We’re writing it right now,” he added. “I mean look, the reality of our times is that the search for love exists on the internet and we’re all now familiar with the twists and turns and mysteries that go along with that. I think that lends itself incredibly well to the stage, and song and dance. So… we’re going for it!”

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