- 90 Day Fiancé -I Spent Weeks Researching Lana's Dating Profiles & Here's Everything I Learned
It’s easy to feel confused about the state of the world these days. Global pandemic. Protests. Giant murder hornets. And somehow, some way, Lana from 90 Day Fiancé: Before The 90 Days is actually a real person. These are bewildering, complex times.
Svetlana, who goes by “Lana,” and whose last name I can’t find anywhere, is (was?) the 28-year-old Ukrainian girlfriend who David Murphey, a 60-year-old single man from Las Vegas, N.V., met online nearly seven years ago.
Like many 90 Day couples, Lana and David had never met in person before David’s appearance on the show. But unlike many 90 Day couples, David had never even video-chatted with Lana, yet had traveled to Ukraine three separate times to meet her, only to be ghosted by her every time he went.
Needless to say, when David traveled to Ukraine for a fourth time with 90 Day cameras in tow and Lana still didn’t show, fans were pretty convinced that Lana was, at best, simply using David for money and at worst, a digital compilation of stock photos and deceit.
Even though watching David road trip alone through the Ukrainian countryside with nothing but a Google translate app and a deeply misplaced sense of hope was good TV, it was still deeply heartbreaking. It seemed like it was time to give up — no one really says “fifth time’s a charm.” But, no one is like David, either.
Much to everyone’s horror (and likely, 90 Day producers’ glee), David decided to go back to Ukraine to meet Lana for a second time this season, making this his fifth trip from Nevada to Ukraine to attempt to meet Lana.
This time, though, on his fateful trip filmed for Season 4 Episode 11, which was titled “King Of Wishful Thinking,” Lana actually showed up. Even more shocking, she was actually, you know, real.
Now, whether she’s verifiably 28 years old (there’s a lot fan speculation about her seeming much older in real life), attracted to David at all, or capable of expressing human emotion (look no further than this “hug”) is still up for debate, but we do know for sure that she’s — and I can’t stress this enough — real, and that she looks like her online profile photos.
And here’s the thing: There are a lot of photos of Lana online.
In fact, as many a 90 Day Reddit sleuth has pointed out, Lana’s online dating profiles, or profiles that use Lana’s photos for profiles (the two are not the same thing!), are numerous. One could even call them prolific. “Svetlana from Pavlograd” has covered all her bases when it comes to the “meet Russian and Ukrainian women online” dating sites and clearly, something is working about her online presence.
(I reached out to both David and Lana for comment about their relationship, Lana’s current dating site profiles, and I asked for confirmation about her age, but didn’t hear back before publication.)
Let’s face it, David is a mostly normal, successful guy with some cats, a mysterious former professional bowling career, and a shockingly robust head of hair. Sure, he may have truly tragic taste in leather coats, but one still has to wonder why he couldn’t find someone whom he could confirm within the first three meetings was a real person.
What, exactly, was so special about Lana’s online presence that drew David in, why are Lana’s profiles still up on the internet (when she’s supposedly in a relationship with David) and what does it all mean? Let’s find out.
Lana’s Dating Profiles
Veronika Love’s concept is pretty simple — you pay for “credits” that you spend in order to talk to Russian and Ukrainian women online. According to its website, the cheapest option available is for first-time subscribers, and the deal offers 20 credits for $15. The most expensive option is 1,250 credits for $499. To chat with a woman costs two credits per minute, and if you’d like to view a woman’s photo gallery, it will cost you five credits each time you look at it.
While it’s not clear exactly which site in particular David used, it is clear from what we see on the show that he did use these types of Ukrainian dating sites that require users to pay money per message to chat with women.
As an example, let’s say David used this particular site and chatted online with someone like Lana for 30 minutes every day for seven years. Doing so would’ve cost him 153,300 credits, which adds up to — wait for it — $61,197.36.
David has admitted on the show to spending over $100,000 on his relationship with Lana, even before meeting her. When you consider that the absolute cheapest option for flights from Las Vegas to Ukraine is about $800, plus other travel expenses, plus the fact that it costs even more to simply view a photo from a woman, you can see how spending 100 grand or more might not be easy, but it’s feasible.
“David himself claims to have spent $250,000-$300,000 on communication and gifts for Lana over the last seven years,” Kim tells me over email (and David admitted this in the Tell All, Part Two, that aired Monday, June 8.) “People usually downplay this number, so I'm going to guess that David has spent about $500,000 over the course of their relationship.”
But enough about how David has spent a ton of money finding “love;” let’s explore instead what made him fall in said “love.”
On the dating site Veronika Love, Lana’s dating profile — which notably still exists today despite the fact that, when this season of Before The 90 Days ended, she and David were engaged, which usually means you are not also on dating sites — includes the following highlights :
- In her bio, Lana says she is looking for a “sincere, sensual, modest, manly” person. She also says that “some wildness would also be welcome.” Please let it sink in that David read this and thought, “Ah, yes. It me.”
- She also says that she doesn’t want to “engage herself in just a quick relation.” No word on whether that means she prefers the slow-moving pace of seven years of only AIM messenger-style chats, but alas.
- Lana describes herself on the site as “dedicated, cheerful, and with a good sense of humor.” She also loves “yachts and sea, cooking, and traveling.” She does not, however, seem to have a preference when it comes to cats.
- She has 36 visible photos on her profile, all which seem to be professionally shot. These photos are visible to everyone, but you can only expand them (which is to say, make them bigger than the size of a quarter) if, of course, you pay money.
Ladies1st-Attractive is, indeed, a website you can visit, but its appearance makes it look more like a site that would give your computer a virus. Like Veronika Love, its concept is pretty straight-forward: Pay money to talk to various Russian (or Ukrainian) women. It’s a little more, shall we say, provocative than Veronika Love, which is reflected in Lana’s bio.
Some highlights from Lana’s profile on this site:
- The site has given her a trust level of “76%,” (along with a literal gold badge) which, despite its intention, doesn’t quite seem like a ringing endorsement.
- It lists her profession as a “financier,” which I guess makes sense when you consider how long she controlled David’s finances, amirite.
- On this site, she says she is looking from a man in the age range of 23-65.
- She also writes that her ideal man would help her with “‘good advice,” and that she wants to “be able to throw myself into his arms. I want him to be sensual and attentive, strong-minded and faithful. He should be ready to share many activities with his woman, to make fun together and explore both souls and bodies of each other with mutual pleasure.” *Shudders*
Hot Matcher is another one of Lana’s online profiles and, for the most part, it’s similar to the others — but a little more basic. There are a couple notable differences in the few bio details it does share. First of all, Svetlana is listed as 32 years old rather than 28 years old.
The only description she has in this profile, though, other than the dozens of photos, is that she’s listed as a “never married lady with gray eyes and fair hair.”
And these online profiles aren’t the only three. Lana has more profiles on sites like AnastasiaDate and LadaDate, too. There are minor differences to all of the above, but the one thing they all have in common is that they are “pay-per-letter” (PPL) or “pay-per-minute” dating sites, as opposed to membership-based dating sites like an eHarmony or a Match.com.
PPL sites aren’t two people paying to have help in finding a match, but rather one person (usually an American man) paying a website minute-by-minute for the privilege of being able to talk to a woman with a profile on the site.
But as Elena Petrova of Elena’s Models, an anti-PPL, membership-based dating site for men to meet Russian and Ukrainian women alleges, the women on these PPL sites don’t have any control of their profiles — even if they’re not using them.
“The agencies control the profile, photo, and the text,” Petrova claims in a blog post. (FYI: A membership to Elena’s Models starts at $19 a month, and includes unlimited instant chat messaging with up to 50 women. If you want to video chat, have direct contact information, or have the profile you’re viewing verified, it will cost more.)
The American Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has several warnings about romance scams, though they do not mention PPL sites specifically. In general, its advice, which David could have used, is:
- Never send money or gifts to a sweetheart you haven’t met in person.
- Take it slowly. Ask questions and look for inconsistent answers.
- Check the person’s photo using your search engine’s “search by image” feature. If the same picture shows up with a different name, that’s a red flag.
- Talk to someone about this new love interest. And pay attention if your friends or family are concerned.
Many PPL dating sites aren’t blind to the fact that some users may think they’re scams and they have language that reassures a potential or current subscriber.
Veronika Love’s FAQ section says that its website and services are “overseen by an anti-scam organization that provides member protection and security.” It goes on to explain that dating “agency managers personally know every lady and we are sure that all of them are real. Before registration we check every lady’s passport and all ladies’ photos represent the facts!”
1st Attractive Ladies says on its site: “Most of the women on our website are represented by local dating agencies, where they contact our representatives in person ... We watch out for suspicious activity ... Unfortunately, due to the large number of profiles, it is impossible to filter out all scammers.”
Hot Matcher didn’t have any anti-scam information listed, but it could be visible if you’re a registered member.
What It All Means For David And Lana
Back to David and Lana, specifically: 90 Day expert Kim tells me, “David and Lana [seem to have] never had any real deep conversations, or at least we see no evidence of that… Lana never mentions David's family and friends, and he never mentions hers,” she says. “They don't appear to know anything about each other.”
Could this be because David has been talking to bots for the better part of a decade, sending a million “mmmms” into the digital void?
“On our latest podcast,” Kim says, her co-host “Kyle and I speculated that it's a pool of women that respond to these guys on these types of sites.” Which would make sense, since, like she said, David and Lana seem to be total strangers.
And if these user reviews on Veronika Love are to be believed, maybe that theory holds water:
“The sheer volume of letters you receive on a daily basis is clearly bot driven,” one user alleged in their review. Another man claimed he did a two-week trial on the site and received 848 messages from interested women.
Another user, Claude F., claims to have tried a very problematic experiment on the site in order to get answers about the legitimacy of the hundreds of messages he received. Forgive the English spelling and grammar errors; here’s his review in his own words:
“I put my real picture and I receive hundreds of answers from beautiful women who are 30 years younger than me...I change my picture, find on the net the picture of the fattest man on the planet, and guess what? Nothing changed... hundred of answers for this fatty,” Claude F. claimed, clearly still bitter about his discovery.
There are, however, positive reviews of Veronika Love, too. Thirty users gave it five stars; 19 gave it one star. One user titled their post “Best site ever!” and wrote: “I was skeptical after reading some bad reviews but this is one of the best Russian brides sites on the web! They are always in touch and they care about their customers and we are setting up a few meetings right now.”
Others tout the realness of the women, how beautiful they are, and how easy the site is to use.
David was quite open about his history with these types of dating sites in a recent Instagram Q&A, saying, “I stopped dating in the U.S.A. 15 years ago. Every time I did I would start thinking about Ukraine, so I stopped trying so my heart was free just in case I went to Ukraine," he said.
"I have dated well over 100 women in Ukraine. Turned down many marriage proposals and have been turned down twice myself.”
Should David just get his own 90 Day spinoff at this point? Would watch.
Where David, Lana, and You and Me Stand Today
When Season 4 of Before the 90 Days ended, David had just pulled an engagement ring out of his leather duster and presented it to Lana just before he boarded a plane back to the U.S. And much to everyone’s surprise, Lana said yes.
On the Sunday, June 7 Tell All, Part One, we hardly got any information about David and Lana, but we did find out that David is in quarantine with a shit ton of juice, that he hasn’t spoken to Lana in six days, and that he knows that her dating profiles are still active on the web.
When Big Ed shouted out over the Zoom call that Lana is on the dating sites because, “It’s a job for her! She gets paid!” David responded: “Get him out of here!”
According to Kim, most people are on Big Ed’s side. “I think viewers universally think that Lana is 100% getting paid for interacting with and keeping David on the site … I think she's getting a cut of the payments being generated by email translations and other charges incurred by men interacting with her on the site,” she says.
“The only person that doesn't believe this,” Kim continues, “is David.”
In the Tell All, Part Two, David said he knows that Lana is still on the dating sites, because, he said, that's how she talks to her friends. She just moved to Kiev, with her sister, and when she gets depressed, she needs to go online and chat with her friends that she's made on the site over the past seven or eight years. Host Shaun Robinson asked for clarification: "These men are actually paying her to be in a friendship with her, correct?"
David replied: "They're not paying her, they're paying the site, by the minute, to talk to her, yes."
Robinson pressed: "You still, to this day, don't think she's scamming you?" David replied: "I know she's not scamming me."
Then he went on to say that he's been to Ukraine over 20 times since the '90s (!), that he's chatted with over 1,000 women online (!), that he was inspired to find love in Ukraine after receiving a catalog (!) in the mail (!) 30 or so years ago that enticed him to visit the country to attend a "social" (!) where he might meet an eligible Ukrainian woman (!).
Will we ever know if David knew what he was getting into when he started using PPL sites? Did he read all the negative reviews? Did he ever Google Lana? Did he see the theory on Reddit that Lana may already have a family — and that her nephew might actually be her son?
None of it matters. When Robinson asked David if he and Lana are still together, he said: "Today, I would say, we're not together."
But, wait, is he still engaged to Lana? "Yes."
Images: TLC; website screenshots; Instagram