What Did Adult Star Diego Sans Gift 'Swiping America' Kris Kelkar After Their Date on New Max Series?
Timothy Rawles READ TIME: 6 MIN.
The new dating reality series "Swiping America" is unlike any other series of its ilk currently streaming on television. A cast of four people travel across America looking for love on blind dates through a dating app. Two people are straight women, Kesun and Reagan, and two are not; lesbian entrepreneur Ashleigh, and gay data scientist Krishnanand Kelkar, a.k.a. Kris.
Although all four of the cast members have their strengths and weaknesses, Kris is the most confident of them all – but only if you're looking at his social media pages. In reality, that online persona isn't him at all. Sure, Kris is handsome, young, successful, and single. The ostensible thought is that he could have anyone he wants, based on that alone. But Kris says those things don't make a marriage.
"Personally, I'm looking for someone to share my life with. I think that's the most important part. And when I say that, I mean someone who's curious about my life, and the things that I offer to bring to theirs, and the things they can offer to me," he tells EDGE. "Maybe I'm picky. Or maybe I'm guarded – it could go both ways where I think, I hide myself, so maybe people aren't seeing all I have to offer."
For all of its matchmaking good intentions "Swiping America" wasn't really set up for its cast to find everlasting love – at least, not right away. Kris says it was a time issue. Each stranger they met only had about 20 to 30 minutes to mingle after the introduction. He says that is even less time than in a fast-paced city like New York. But it turns out that brevity worked in Kris' favor, since he considers himself a "slow burn" when it comes to exposing his real character.
"I had to learn how to try and get myself out of my shell quicker," he says. "And I think that I was actually challenged to learn how to date quicker on the show than I would normally."
The one-on-one interactions are one thing, but those same feelings being broadcast to millions on a reality show quite another. It isn't Instagram, where you can control what people see; it is a moderately-budgeted show streaming across one of the biggest entertainment channels in the world. Kris knew the experiment would be both difficult and challenging. Why would he risk exposing parts of himself to the world that he normally keeps hidden in real life?
"I really hate feeling like I can't do something that I know I want to," he explains, taking an example from how he learned to become a data scientist despite having an undergrad in international relations. "I just learned because I didn't want to have to learn in the traditional way. And I also was trying to challenge myself. And this [show] was kind of an emotional challenge, saying, 'Hey, you're limiting yourself for whatever reason, and here's an opportunity to really kind of face it head-on and grow from it.' And, you know, that's kind of what I was thinking throughout this whole process. And I think, especially if you've watched the whole show, you do see that I had to learn from the people around me. And that's exactly what I want out of my emotional and romantic relationships, as well as what I want to surround myself with; people I admire and appreciate, and I want to learn from."
One of the funniest dates that Kris goes on is with a handsome Latin sex worker who may look familiar to some but was lost on Kris. It was adult actor Diego Sans using his birth name, Luiz. Kris says he wasn't expecting the backlash he got from fans for not recognizing the famous porn star sitting across from him. But Diego sent him something afterwards so that he will never forget.
"I really didn't know," he laughs. "I really didn't know. And, actually, in Miami, he, like, gifted me one of his sex toys that's branded by him. And that's how I learned what his name was."
In another episode, the weight of everything finally catches up to Kris, and he becomes withdrawn. The other cast members notice and become concerned. He contends that a lot of the cause of his melancholy was happening off camera.
"Just a little bit of context I like to throw in, specifically about that episode, that didn't make the edit is I'm working during the show at my full-time job," he says. "That week, I got food poisoning. My laptop computer broke from my work, and my boss at my work changed to a boss I had a very bad relationship with, whom I no longer work for. So, all that, plus the show, plus me not feeling like I'm doing well – it really was weighing on me."
Luckily for him, Kris wasn't alone. The three other cast members were there to pull him through. In fact, those bonds might have been what the show is really about. Production wrapped in the spring of 2022 and the show aired its first episode in June 2023, so they have known each other for over a year.
"We're texting each other constantly," he says. "I look away from the phone, and I have 100 texts from them. I think this journey, specifically right now in our lives, is quite emotional. The show is emotional. We feel a lot of ourselves are on display, and we're the only ones who can relate to each other specific to this. I know what they're thinking and how they're feeling. We talked about love, and we talked about heartbreak, and we talked about everything on the show. Kudos to casting, because they're great people."
As for the future and whether Kris finds the man of his dreams on the show, you will just have to watch and find out. But what he can say is he would love to do more creative things in the future.
"I know the risks for me," he says. "I have a data science career to fall back on, and I'm very grateful for that. And I'm hoping that this obviously leads to a place where I feel confident even exploiting that creativity that I've been hiding for a long time."
"Swiping America" screens on Max.