Get ready to experience “The Venus Effect.”
That’s the name of “love expert” Diann Valentine’s “magical” matchmaking program, which takes women of color overseas to find love. The experience is documented on Bravo’s new series, To Rome for Love, premiering on Sunday night, and ET caught up with Diann at the show’s launch to get the details on the one-of-a-kind excursion.
“About five years ago, I started my company and I started officially taking women to Rome … to date, you know, European and Italian men,” Diann explains to ET. “I have a long history, and a long love affair, with Italy, and I started really noticing how men react to black women when we are there. Honey! We are very popular in those Italian streets.”
Diann, who got her start in the romance business as a luxury wedding planner (Bravo viewers may even remember her as Real Housewives of Orange County star Tamra Judge’s consultant on Tamra’s OC Wedding), realized through her years of working on weddings that she could help women course correct relationship problems before making it down the aisle. So, these excursions to Italy are half about finding love, half about finding yourself.
“We don't just send them out on dates,” Diann notes. “We talk about things like financial freedom and image … making them sure that they really are the women that they say they want to be. You know, if you want to be a wife, you have to make sure that you're wife material. So, we work on the whole woman. You really cannot love someone else until you are fully and truly in love with yourself.”
For the show, Diann and her team curated a trip for five women from all walks of life in America, from a 23-year-old looking for her first, true love, to women in their 40s and 50s seeking a second chance at romance, including former Food Network personality Gina Neely.
“I can't wait for the world to see what this journey has been like for these five girls,” Diann gushes, but stopping herself short of revealing whether the trip is a success for the women finding love. She did share that in her matchmaking history, she has a 78 percent success record, though.
“[Most] women have walked away from their excursions with me, you know, happily in love and some even happily married,” she says.
Once the show launches, Diann expects to be inundated with requests from viewers who want the same chance at finding love in Europe, too, and good news: Anyone can go on these treks… but it will cost you.
“Currently, we do very bespoke, luxury, private excursion trips for women that range anywhere from seven days to as many as three weeks,” she explains. “It's a very curated experience. I take them through, you know, getting adjusted to living, first, in a foreign country, understanding the cultural nuances, and then setting them free to find love.”
“It's not really something you'd find on Groupon,” she continues. “Our packages start at $50,000 … you cannot put a price tag on love, let's be honest.”
For ladies who might not be able to drop that kind of cash at a chance at falling in love, Diann has written a book, Going the Distance for Love, featuring 22 tips for navigating the single scene. She also shared a few tips for daters with ET, starting with, don’t get ahead of yourself.
“I think that too many times women give too much, too soon.” Diann says. “I'm a firm believer that the only way you'll find love is you have to be willing to give it, right? But that doesn't mean you go from zero to 100 in 30 days.”
“I always tell women, when you decide to get married and you say, ‘I'm gonna pledge my life to someone else for forever,’ forever is a long time,” she continues. “Be real clear you want that before you say it.”
Diann also warns to “beware of social media” and oversharing online.
“Social media can certainly get a lot of people in trouble,” she explains. “We are in such a microwave society right now, where everyone wants everything right now, and it's instant gratification. I have never seen people do so many things for likes! I mean, my god. You gotta save some stuff for your husband.”
Get more Diann every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET when To Rome for Love airs on Bravo after The Real Housewives of Atlanta. For more on that show’s current season, check out the links and video below.
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Kim Zolciak-Biermann Clears Up 'Lost Your Peach' Comments, Talks Returning to 'RHOA' Full-Time (Exclusive)
How Kenya Moore 'Pissed Off' Cynthia Bailey This Season on 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' (Exclusive)