Yousef Saleh may be ready for love, but his city comes first.
Jersey City’s Ward D Councilman said he turned down an offer to audition for the second season of the hit Netflix series “Love is Blind,” opting instead to focus on his council duties.
The series, which debuted in January, shows men and women getting engaged without ever meeting face-to-face. Marriage proposals are made based solely off conversations that are had in separate rooms. The couples then meet in person and decide whether to proceed with their marriages after a vacationing together.
Saleh said he signed up to audition for the show before he joined the council and never anticipated being offered the chance to appear on the program.
“I really enjoyed the first season. I was like ‘Oh I would love to do something like this,’” Saleh said. “Fall in love with someone based off just their personality, with the ability to communicate, that seems like the best way to cut through all the distractions of modern-day life.”
Saleh, a lifelong Jersey City Heights resident, joined the City Council in April, replacing the late Ward D Councilman Michael Yun, who died of COVID-19.
Saleh ran for a three-year term on the Board of Education in 2017 but fell short of being elected to one of three open seats. He also served as a student representative on the BOE when he was senior at McNair Academic High School in 2007.
He went on to graduate from Rutgers University and earned his law degree at Rutgers Newark. Saleh is a first generation Palestinian American and is the second oldest of eight children.
“If I wasn’t the councilman right now, I probably would have done it,” Saleh said. “I am grateful to be councilman and to be able to help my community. While I would like to find love, I do love my community first.”
Filming for the show would have been done in the fall. If he found a partner, Saleh would be sent on a romantic getaway with that match.
The councilman wouldn’t be the city’s first reality TV star: Jersey City Police Officer Tony Vlachos is a two-time winner of “Survivor,” winning a $2 million prize in May.
If he had gone on the show, it seems Saleh would have had the support of Mayor Steve Fulop and some of his fellow councilmembers.
“I watched the first season of Love is Blind and I think it would be great TV to watch Yousef’s love life unfold in front of the country,” Fulop said.
Council President Joyce Watterman said it’s his personal life and Saleh can do whatever he chooses.
“I would watch it,” Watterman laughed.
Don’t count the 31-year-old councilman out of the dating games yet. He may not have a Tinder or Bumble profile but he’s on the lookout for his future wife.
“I’m looking for the Michelle Obamas, Chrissy Teigens, and Jaclyn Fulops of the world,” he joked.
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