Married at First Sight NZ star Anna Saxton has released a new song inspired by her struggle with online bullying during the show.
Saxon, who goes by the stage name Saxi, said she wrote Sticks and Stones in November after taking a month off to process her experience on the controversial show and focus on her mental health.
“We smashed the song out in about eight hours,” she said.
“It was something that came quite naturally. The whole online bullying backlash, it hit me really hard — it was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. So I knew it had to be my first single.”
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The song’s chorus features the lyrics: “They try to cut me to the bone, but they can keep their sticks and stones.” Saxton said another lyric that stood out to her was: “No, I don’t need opinions, I’ve got enough of my own.”
“Going through the show, I had so much self-doubt that was going through my head all the time. And then having all these opinions of me was really tricky to deal with,” she said.
However, she had made her peace with the situation.
“It was real tough, but it’s led me to this path and I’ve discovered all this passion and drive, which I think is a positive way to look at it all.”
Saxton has been vocal about how difficult she found the Married at First Sight NZ experience and subsequent media and public scrutiny.
She was branded the “X-rated bride” after she talked about the potential of a “sex tape” she was in getting leaked. The tape was filmed by a former partner and shared without her consent.
In October, she revealed she and her TV husband, Jordan Dare, were no longer together, and she was receiving treatment after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression and experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Saxton said she would be donating some of the proceeds from Sticks and Stones to the Mental Health Foundation.
“I reached out to them when I was going through everything and they were so amazing to me. This is just the way I want to show how thankful I am for what they did for me.”
She was working on an EP she hoped would be finished in the next couple of months, featuring songs covering everything from her mental health to her break-up.
“It’s going to be a good mix of emotions and experiences,” she said.
“It’s going to be like my diary.”