Ethiopian Biniyam and New Jersey writer Ariela elicit comparism to Babygirl Lisa Hamme and Usman Umar from 90 Day Fiancé

Laura Dorwart | Showbiz CheatSheet

The second season of TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way, in which Americans follow their international love stories across the globe and move to foreign countries, premieres on TLC at 8 p.m. EST on Jun. 8. The early premiere was released on TLC GO on May 31, and 90 Day Fiancé fans are already comparing new cast member Ariela—a 28-year-old freelance writer and mom-to-be from Princeton, NJ—and her Ethiopian fiancé, 29-year-old dancer-choreographer Biniyam, to Babygirl Lisa Hamme and Usman Umar from 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days.

Preview clips and trailers from 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way season 2 reveal that Ariela and Biniyam navigate culture clashes and different expectations about living conditions and medical care as they prepare to welcome their baby boy into the world. Fans couldn’t help but notice a similarity or two between Ariela and the infamous Babygirl Lisa, although others said the couple was facing completely different challenges.

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Ariela met Biniyam in Ethiopia not long after her divorce

Biniyam and Ariela met in his home country when Ariela took an impromptu trip to Ethiopia shortly after a long separation and eventual divorce from her first husband. Although the 90 Day Fiancé star said she wanted to “find herself” and travel the world independently in the wake of her messy breakup, she found a lot more than herself with Biniyam, whom she met outside of a local hotel while waiting for a taxi.

Ariela from '90 Day Fiance'
Ariela from ’90 Day Fiance’ | Ariela Danielle via Instagram

“I definitely was not looking for love after my divorce,” Ariela said bluntly. “I did my best to avoid him.”

But the couple apparently just couldn’t stay away from each other. “After dating for three months, I got some unexpected news,” Ariela said. She was pregnant, and decided to move to Ethiopia so she and Biniyam could raise their son together.

In preview clips and on the early premiere, the 90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way star was concerned about giving birth in Ethiopia and the quality of the available healthcare in Biniyam’s area. She was especially concerned about whether she would be able to get an epidural during labor or not.

Ariela also complained about Biniyam’s living conditions—especially the sparse kitchen and lack of refrigeration, as well as the plumbing situation. In one clip, she declared that she wasn’t going to live somewhere “with no kitchen and no shower,” while Biniyam told her he was “done.”

Some ’90 Day Fiancé’ fans wondered if Biniyam wanted to use the show to further his career

Although Biniyam and Ariela were different from Usman, or Sojaboy, and Babygirl Lisa in many ways, his artistic career led some 90 Day Fiancé fans to draw comparisons between the couples.

Of her fiancé’s career, Ariela explained, “He is a dancer, choreographer, martial artist, gymnast, and every other ‘ist’ that exists.” As they did with respect to Sojaboy’s burgeoning rap career in Nigeria, many 90 Day Fiancé viewers suspected that Biniyam might be pursuing the relationship to promote his work as an artist.


“What… I guess somebody needs a green card,” one Instagram user wrote under a recent promo, referring to Biniyam. “Another man looking to further his career in the U.S.,” another critic agreed.

But other viewers quickly pointed out that Usman had plans to move to the U.S. for Babygirl Lisa, while Ariela was moving to Ethiopia for Biniyam—making accusations about “wanting a green card” seem suspect at best. “What are you even talking about? She is moving over there,” a fan commented. “He never said he wanted to move to the U.S.”

Still, some fans still thought Biniyam might be trying to self-promote at least somewhat by appearing on the show. “Sojaboy the dancer,” one Instagram user quipped.

Other ’90 Day Fiancé’ viewers argued that Ariela didn’t respect Biniyam’s culture

As for Ariela, some fans compared her to Babygirl Lisa because of what they perceived as her negative comments about Ethiopian culture and living conditions. Babygirl Lisa was widely criticized during her season of 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days for condescending comments about Nigeria and the way of life there.

“Another Baby Girl Visa,” one critic joked. Another wrote, “The white privilege this woman spewed in the first episode was disgusting.” Still others wondered why she didn’t “do more research” about what to expect from her new life before moving to Ethiopia. “So she, like, didn’t even bother Googling Ethiopia, did she?” one fan wrote sarcastically.

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