Rider’s own Nick Barbati to appear on new reality show Finding Prince Charming

Premiere airs Thursday, Sept. 8, at 9 p.m. on VH1 and Logo
Kristine A. Brown

If you had asked Nick Barbati what he wanted to be when he was growing up, chances are he would have told you his life goal was to be a professional wrestling manager. Today Barbati is the assistant director of Campus Life for Activities and Student Engagement at Rider, and now he is also one of 13 cast members on the groundbreaking Logo TV reality show, Finding Prince Charming.

The show, which premieres on Sept. 8 at 9 p.m., is the first reality dating competition series featuring a cast of all gay men. Hosted by Lance Bass, Finding Prince Charming is similar in premise to other popular reality dating shows where suitors are housed together and compete to win the heart of an eligible man, in this case, Robert Sepulveda Jr. One by one the suitors are eliminated until one suitor is chosen to pursue an exclusive relationship with Sepulveda.

While Barbati is prohibited from discussing the specifics of what happened on the show until the series airs, he did share his feelings of being a part of this historic show.

“Now that the first episode is about to air, the magnitude of this experience has really begun to set in. We truly were part of something historic. I am really proud to share this journey with people all across the country, especially young gay men who now have the opportunity to witness a group of professional gay men who are looking for love, and trying to find their place the world, just like them,” he says.

Barbati says for years he has been interested in participating in a TV show. “This one really fell in my lap,” he says. “There was a casting call posted on social media, and a friend from college reached out and encouraged me to apply.”

The call was for single gay men interested in being on a dating show. “At first I hesitated, because I worried about sharing my dating life on TV. But I took a risk, embraced the opportunity and sent an email to the casting team.”

That was the spring of 2016, and the rest, as they say, is history. “I found out I was selected to be on the show in June,” Barbati says. “At the end of that month, I was on a plane to California to begin this incredible journey.”

Backtracking a bit, Barbati has been a familiar face at Rider since 2003 when he walked onto the campus as a freshman, ready to take on the world. Four years later he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science, and then continued on to earn his master’s degree in 2012. He was hired in 2007 in the Office of Campus Life, and has been a mainstay of that essential campus department ever since.

“I came out during my first semester at Rider,” Barbati says. “I never thought when I was 18 years old and telling people that I was gay that one day I would be on a national TV show sharing this aspect of my life with the world. I attribute that to the many mentors I’ve had at Rider along the way who have taught me how to be comfortable with myself and true to my life story. This community at Rider has been nothing but supportive of me since day one.”

That experience has carried over to his involvement with Finding Prince Charming. “One of the most surprising outcomes of this experience is the brotherhood I have experienced from people not only in my personal life, but from people all over the country. My experience as a gay man is not unique, and to see the overwhelming response, support and love from friends and strangers has been emotional and heartwarming. I knew my family would be supporting me, but the positive reaction from total strangers has been amazing.”

Asked if he’s received any negative response from being on the show, Barbati says, “No. I have never felt as much love as when people found out I was on the show. I was overwhelmed by the support I received. I didn’t realize there were that many people out there rooting for me.”

He added how grateful he is to everyone at Rider for affording him the opportunity to go on this journey. “Not every employer would support such an endeavor,” he says. “Not only was I supported at Rider, but I was encouraged.”

Looking ahead to the future Barbati says his dream is to have a family of his own, with lots of “Italian babies” running around. “My family knows what I want for my future,” he says. “They were very excited for me to share myself with the world. I want to find love and have children. You can be any sexual orientation and want what everyone else does.”

The premiere of Finding Prince Charming will air on Thursday, Sept. 8, at 9 p.m. on VH1 and Logo.
A viewing party for the campus community will be held in the Pub beginning at 8:30 p.m. All students, faculty and staff are invited to attend.