Interview by Lori Bizzoco. Written by Dena Linzer.

Iyanya and Maria met and began dating online. Their story is just one of the many relationships followed on Oxygen Media’s new reality TV show, Virtually in Love. The show takes the popularity of online dating and creates an exciting reality TV experience, where we follow young and eager couples as they progress in their relationships. Cupid’s Pulse had the pleasure of getting to know Iyanya and Maria in our exclusive celebrity interview.

Virtually In Love’s Iyanya Discusses Online Relationship & Provides Relationship Advice in Celebrity Interview

An unlikely place to find love, the social networking app, Instagram brought Maria and Iyanya together. “I was not looking to date anybody. I liked her humor and I thought she was attractive,” Iyanya says of Maria, a 33-year-old lash stylist living in Sweden. After several months of talking through direct messenger on Instagram, the two got to know each other and soon found themselves in a relationship.

Related Link: Dating Advice: The Psychology of Online Dating

The Brooklyn native was not concerned about the distance between himself and Maria, although he resides in Brooklyn, NY and she was living in Sweden. He considered it a “low-pressure situation.” At first, Iyanya did not rush into the relationship, wanting it to form organically and not feel forced. The current model, actor, and DJ had no intention of dating and was focusing on his career. But the couple instantly fit together, “It didn’t take long to realize we actually enjoyed each other.” 

The concept of Virtually In Love is that audiences get to know a couple that has been in an online relationship while watching them as they break down barriers by meeting in person and being introduced to their significant other’s friends and family. For Iyanya and Maria, they dated for four months before deciding to take their relationship to the next level and meet in person. Their initial meeting was in Brooklyn, in front of the show’s cameras and they definitely felt the pressure. However, Iyanya said he was happy to finally connect with Maria face-to-face, “I felt alive,” he says of their first encounter. Maria stayed with Iyanya for a week. “I loved the way she smelled,” something unattainable and unknown through an online connection.

When asked if there was anything unexpected that he felt when they first met, Iyanya mentioned that Maria was shorter than he expected. But meeting in person did not change the emotional part of their relationship too much,”the vibe was always there” he said in our celebrity interview. He went on to explain that there were some big differences between talking online and meeting in person, and the emotional aspect of their relationship was online, but now in-person they introduced the physical aspect as well.

Related Link: Love Advice: What Makes A Great Online Dating Profile

When it comes to relationship advice and tips for dating online, Iyanya stresses the importance of naturally getting to know someone and not forcing a relationship. “In relationships, people tend to prematurely get together,” he says. The self-described people person feels it’s crucial to be true to yourself in online relationships because the truth will come out either way. “Know yourself,” he advises. 

Keep up with Iyanya and Maria’s celebrity relationship on Virtually In Love and find out if they stayed together or drifted apart.

Virtually In Love premieres Tuesday, May 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Oxygen Media.