BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Kassy Castillo, a Zachary native, found love with Leo Dionicio on a reality TV show.

“Love Island USA” is described as a dating reality show where single contestants stay at a villa in a tropical resort. They’re paired up with other contestants and compete in games while deciding whether to stay with their current partners or “recouple” with someone new. Viewers vote on who stays or leaves the island alone.

Castillo and Dionicio starred in the show’s fifth season. Their romance went through trials, but in the end, the couple decided to stay together and were named the show’s runners-up.

Castillo said that she applied for the show after realizing that she was at a good point in her life after going through a breakup.

“At first, I didn’t think much of it. I was like, it’d be nice to fall in love and get my mind off of the real world,” she said. “And I was also like it’d be an amazing summer to meet all these new people.”

Dionicio said he wasn’t expecting to find love on the show, but throughout the process, he found himself making friends and falling for Kassy.

“And then once we started developing our bond more and more and more, I was like, ‘how did someone actually make me fall in love on a TV show?'” he said.

“But to find it the way we did in such a unique experience like that is something that’ll be with me forever,” Dionicio said.

It was a challenge for Castillo too. She said that since no one had access to their phones or the outside world, it forced her to learn more about herself and how to handle relationship issues. She said the people in the villa became her family and more.

“They were my friends. They were my enemies. They were my lovers. They were my exes. They were everything in there. They were all I knew,” she said.

“A lot of them were there for me, and I was able to trust them and rely on them. But Leo was definitely my best friend because I was able to be unfiltered and talk about my feelings, and I knew that he wasn’t going to judge me. He was going to understand, so it was nice to know that I had this one person that I could rely on,” she said.

The couple was separated in one part of the season, and Dionicio had an intimate moment with another cast member. Although they decided to be together in the end, some people questioned their choices.

He said that the parts where the two were going through those hard times were when he realized Castillo was his best friend.

“I could say anything to her, fully unfiltered and she’s gonna understand me and not judge me. That was the hardest part, leaving the one person I knew I could really trust and be myself with,” he said.

That’s when Castillo saw some growth from them both, she said.

“We weren’t relying or depending on other people’s opinions anymore,” she said. “Like we did in the beginning, it was just us, following our hearts at the end of the day.”

Right now, they are long distance. Kassy is back in Fort Worth, Texas, working in real estate, and Leo is back at his university, double majoring in communications and business. They plan to move in together as soon as they can. Kassy said she wants to bring Leo to Mardi Gras and make him try beignets.

“Love Island USA” can be streamed exclusively on Peacock.