To was an all-around standout in high school, earning the adoration and respect of his classmates and was on track to receive a full football scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. He was well-liked in his hometown in Hawaii, where he was known for being both devout and easy to get along with.
Then, a terrible accident occurred. His grandmother had passed away, and then his lover. Both happening on the same day.
Except that his fiancée didn’t actually pass away. The media uncovered the fact that his girlfriend did not even exist.
It was a catfish the whole time, and Ronaiah ‘Naya’ Tuiasosopo, the woman behind the scam, got caught in the thick of everything.
“Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist,” a new two-part documentary made by Ryan Duffy and Tony Vainuku and released on Netflix on Tuesday, focuses on To, Tuiasosopo, and the intricate deception that took place in 2013.
“Untold” is a documentary about a girlfriend who didn’t exist.
The story of To and his fictional girlfriend is a well-known one, but the story of Tuiasosopo, who created the fictional girlfriend as a way to come to terms with her own gender dysphoria, is less well-known.
Tuiasosopo created the fictional girlfriend as a way to come to terms with her own gender dysphoria. Since then, Tuiasosopo has revealed that she identifies as a woman who has transitioned.
The documentary starts off with Tuiasosopo, even though the audience may be more familiar with the name To.
She plays a pivotal role in both episodes, taking the viewer with her on her journey of self-discovery and coming to terms with her gender identity, which was influenced in part by the experiences she had catfished To.
Maclain Way, who co-created the “Untold” series with his brother Chapman, spoke with CNN on the team’s strategy to depict the journeys of Tuiasosopo and To as being both synchronous and different.
This chat has been condensed and/or modified for clarity and/or brevity.
Why did you choose to concentrate exclusively on the narrative of Manti To and Naya?
When we found out that we would be able to make more “Untolds” and that we will have a volume two, this was a narrative that was on both the literal and the proverbial whiteboard of sports concepts that we had created.
It’s just always been a white whale in the sports documentary realm; it’s something that my brother and I remember very vividly, just kind of reading the news media on it and all of the hubbub.
We reached out to Naya, and just now, we had a really interesting discussion with her.
It was probably a conversation that was only going to last fifteen or twenty minutes, but we ended up chatting to her for a total of two hours.
And she took us through an amazing journey that she’s gone on, a path of self-discovery and self-identity, and how she identifies herself as a trans woman.
And then in terms of going out to Manti and talking to him, I absolutely think that a lot of people had approached him over the years about talking about this subject.
I was hoping to speak with him about it. Throughout the years, I believe that there was a collection of documentary pitch materials waiting for him in his mailbox.
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I believe that we were able to interview Manti during a pretty interesting period in his life. It is unlikely that he would have spoken on this subject or given a truly lengthy and in-depth interview on it while he was still actively playing in the NFL because his career in the NFL was coming to a close at the time.
However, at the time, he had recently gotten married and given birth to a child, and I believe that neither Naya nor Manti was really pleased with how the mainstream media reported on this scandal in 2013.
I don’t believe one of them intended that piece of media coverage to be the full stop after this extremely drawn-out sentence that was a narrative about these two different people.
And so, I believe that for both of them, the opportunity to truly interview at length, at depth, about this topic was interesting and attractive to them both.
That was the moment when, as filmmakers, we realized how much we already knew “Now listen up, because this place has a unique quality. I believe that we will be able to go through with making this documentary film.”
As seen in “Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist,” starring Naya Tuiasosopo.