After a fierce response from locals, Netflix has charged ahead with controversial reality show Byron Baes, with the full cast unveiled today after weeks of speculation.
Details have pretty scant despite filming starting last month, but we now know which influencers will star – and while Zac Efron’s ex-girlfriend isn’t one of them as previously rumoured – some are not strangers to the small screen, The Daily Telegraph reports.
RELATED: Bizarre protest to stop Byron Baes
Chigros, who appeared on Love Island season 1, was confirmed weeks ago.
The 30-year-old model, who refers to himself as an animist (a belief that all things including plants and rocks have a spiritual essence) and mechanical sympathist (treating mechanical things carefully) on his Instagram, is originally from Melbourne.
The former Bachelorette and Bachelor In Paradise star first appeared on Ali Oetjen’s season back in 2018.
He returned to the spotlight for season two of Bachelor In Paradise, where he sparked up a romance with Tenille Favios.
The pair made it to the end of the season before splitting up shortly after filming finished.
Co-creative director of local boutique Bisque, Brauer, whose parents own the store, is a keen traveller with an eye for fashion. Her Instagram is littered with pre-pandemic photo shoots from around the globe.
Dave Frim and Saskia Wotton
The glamorous pair will also appear together in the series. Wotton, who’s often pictured dining out at lavish restaurants and partying with girlfriends, is sales director at natural clothing brand Silk Laundry. Her boyfriend Frim is a surfer and co-founder of hat and beanie brand Fallen Broken Streets.
Local businesswoman Elle Watson joins the gang. According to her LinkedIn profile, she’s a managing partner at Providus Investments, and describes herself as an “environmentally conscious woman in business”.
Jade Kevin Foster
Model and influencer Jade has already appeared on Ten’s Trial By Kyle and Channel 7’s First Dates, according to his Stage Addiction profile. He also stars alongside Angie Kent, Lincoln Lewis and John Jarratt in horror film The Possessed.
His Instagram feed is full of party pictures and features snaps with Kim Kardashian and Abbie Chatfield.
Co-founder at Amplify Live and former personal assistant to Kyle Sandilands, Alex Reid joins the cast. His Instagram is frustratingly private.
Jess and Lauren Bell
Fashion designer Jess, who has had designs from her label Johansen worn by Kylie Jenner, will appear on the show with her model sister Lauren.
Rumoured: Billy Otto
Folk singer-songwriter Billy Otto is rumoured to be joining the cast, too.
Controversy surrounds the series already, making it all the more alluring for viewers.
Press release apology
Netflix was forced to apologise to the stars of the show after referring to them as just “influencers” and “hot Instagrammers”.
Netflix’s director of originals in Australia Que Minh Luu confirmed that the cast “hated” a recent PR post describing the upcoming series.
“They are artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, business owners, models, on a spiritual journey and more,” Que wrote to her 7000 followers.
She went on: “They understand the power of influence. They are part of Byron. They understand the creative vision of the show that has been developed with them over several months.”
Que was responding after many mocked the press release, which said the show was “our love letter to Byron Bay”, saying the town was not just the backyard of Hollywood stars like Chris Hemsworth and Zac Efron but also “the playground of more celebrity-adjacent-adjacent influencers than you can poke a selfie-stick at”.
Furious locals protest
While it’s likely to draw huge ratings, the concept has not gone down well with locals who organised a “paddle out” in protest of the series last month, saying it will damage their beachside paradise.
Photos showed dozens of people who formed a symbol for ‘no’ in the ocean to demonstrate their opposition to the Netflix original series.
An online petition calling on local councils not to grant filming permits to the producers in the “exploited paradise” has attracted thousands of signatures, while some businesses are refusing to allow filming on their premises.
Byron Bay mayor Simon Richardson said community opposition to the show was strong, telling public broadcaster ABC “you’d be struggling to find one person” who supported the Netflix plan.
“What we need now is a moment for our community to take stock, try to find support with the state government to get low-cost housing, to get support for our rough sleepers, et cetera,” he said.
Byron Bay is home to about 10,000 people and in recent years has attracted a string of Hollywood stars to its shores.