Behind-The-Scene Secrets From BIP & Bachelor Nation
When the very first season of The Bachelor premiered in 2002, there was no telling just how big of a pop cultural phenomena it was going to become. In the more than a decade since, Bachelor Nation has expanded to include The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, as well as smaller spinoffs, and with so many contestants, and a few lasting romances, more than a couple of secrets have been revealed. Go behind the scenes of the massive reality franchise with these behind the scenes secrets:
45. BIP – Constant Filming
Contestants on Bachelor in Paradise are constantly being filmed and there is little to no reprieve from the cameras. One producer explained that the contestants eventually start forgetting that they are being filmed or they stop caring. This means that the camera picks up hookups that fans don’t see on television. “There are cameras everywhere and there’s nowhere to hide, so when cast members behave outrageously, they allow themselves to forget there are cameras — and just get caught up in the moment,” the producer told PEOPLE.
44. Bachelor/Bachelorette – The Dates
The contestants always get so excited when they are chosen to go on a one-on-one date because it means more time without the pressure of competing with the others. They are almost always blown away at the thought put into each romantic date. In reality, the bachelor/bachelorette has nothing to do with planning the date. In fact, they usually have no idea what activities they will be doing until the day of. The only choice they have is who to pick for each date, but even for that, the producers will suggest certain people.
43. Bachelor/Bachelorette – Location, Location, Location
The Bachelor Mansion is owned by Marshall Haraden, who built the residence as his family home in 2004. Before the mansion was even complete, ABC approached Haraden to ask if they could film the reality series there. According to the Today show, Haraden packs up his wife and four kids twice a year so The Bachelor/ette can film, and the whole fam is gone for 42 days at a time. Also, when it comes to hometown dates the homes used for filming aren’t necessarily the contestants actual family homes — often times the producers will use the home of a wealthier relative.
42. Bachelor/Bachelorette – The Mansion
ABC throws a new coat of paint inside the mansion every time they film, choosing the color based on whether they have a Bachelor or Bachelorette on their hands. “They’ll paint it to the colors they want, whether it’s a man or it’s a woman—Bachelor/Bachelorette, they’ll change the motif,” the owner, Haraden explained. “They paint it back and forward a lot, so [in total the show has given it] about 44 coats of paint.” The mansion also almost burned down during the California wildfires in 2018, but luckily escaped with minimal damage especially compared to the properties around it.
41. Bachelor/Bachelorette – Dress Code
Former Bachelor lead, Sean Lowe said the dress code was strict because the producers want people to look good on camera. He was not allowed to bring certain clothes, specifically stripes, small checkered patterns, big patterns or solid white.
40. Bachelor Nation – Reality Steve’s Sources
In recent years, Reality Steve has become notorious for dropping spoilers about every Bachelor Nation season and the winner before it comes out. Many are curious about who and where his sources come from, and according to Amy Kaufman, author of a Bachelor tell-all, they’re actually closer to the contestants than you’d think! Kaufman dished, “If someone says they’re a friend or a cousin of the contestant in question Carbone [Reality Steve]’s ears perk up — people on the show often spill to those around them, even though they’re not supposed to.”
39. Bachelor/Bachelorette – Side Interviews
Some of the one-on-one interviews with the bachelors or bachelorettes are filmed after the fact and not at that exact moment, but in the final editing process, they are sandwiched together between rose ceremonies or dates. Producers will keep track of outfits for particular scenes and moments so that if they need to go back and fill in moments they could film interviews after the fact. This means when a lead sometimes says in an interview or voice-over, “I’m having a blast with so-and-so” or “I’m falling for so-and-so” they might already know the outcome of the show.
38. Bachelor Nation – Contestant Incentives
Although many of the conversations between contestants come across natural on-screen, fans will be shocked to know that the majority of them are staged for plot purposes. The women are asked to participate in staged conversations which the producers label “girl chats” in which the women gather in the same room to talk about the lead, the other girl’s dates and who they think is going home. According to Kaufman, these chats are rewarded with movies, trips to nail salon or other perks that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to while living in the Bachelor Bubble.
37. Bachelor/Bachelorette – The Ring
The engagement rings that are given to the bachelor for his proposal at the end of the show can cost up to $75,000, and have been known to cost more. There’s a gimmick with those rings though! The couple who gets engaged at the end has to stay together for two years in order to keep the Neil Lane sponsored ring. If the couple wishes to sell the ring after the two year period is up they must provide ABC with advanced written notice.
36. Bachelor Nation – Producers Are Ruthless
Although to fans The Bachelor may feel like a mindless reality show, there is actually heavy strategy involved in filling each episode with drama, which means the show requires dramatic contestants to fuel it. The producers are quite meticulous in their selection of women and Kaufman uncovered that the producers tend to label contestants in stereotypical boxes to plot a storyline for them on the show. Kaufman states, “The remarks… don’t paint the kindest picture of the producers. Instead, they come across calculating and formulaic — and certainly not sympathetic.” Kaufman then proceeds to provide various examples of the producer’s casting notes, one in which describes the contestant as follows: “Jamie, 21. Seems very young and immature (UCSB sorority chick-ish!). Wants to find love on TV and have a $4 million wedding. Get her in the house because she’ll drive the other girls crazy — or the other girls will definitely annoy her. Very produceable — another one who comes with strings. Could be a star on The OC or Dawson’s Creek. She, like, wants to, like, get married like — can we stand it??”
35. BIP – No Air Conditioning
That’s right – the resort where Bachelor in Paradise is filmed does not have air conditioning! “It was a little intense: the bug bites, the heat – we still love Mexico though! I think half of the reason we didn’t have A/C was for the acting; it was on purpose,” former Bachelor in Paradise contestant Tenley Molzahn said. “They want you hot and bothered. Emotional,” former contestant Jared Haibon added.
34. Bachelor/Bachelorette – Getting Ready
The contestants have to bring all of their own clothes, and when they come to the mansion they must pack enough clothes for the entire seven weeks of filming. They are allowed two suitcases and should be well prepared for all weather climates, fancy occasions, and athletic activities. They have to pack for 14 rose ceremonies in case they make it to the end, which means lots of fancy dresses! Some contestants have gone into severe debt from buying designer clothes for their time on the show, spending thousands of dollars. The show provides dresses for the two finalists to wear during the finale and when contestants move into the mansion they are gifted with a gift bag full of bikinis, clothing, jewelry and beauty products.
33. Bachelor Nation – Makeup Lessons
As previously mentioned, the contestants on the show typically spend thousands of dollars on their wardrobe and beauty routine in order to prepare for national television. In an interview with Allure, Olivia Caridi revealed she actually forked out money for professional makeup lessons! “I’ve never been that great at doing makeup, so I had a professional makeup artist come to my house to teach me how to do everything and make me a list of everything I need to buy…Then, a couple days before filming, I went to Sephora and bought foundation, eye shadow palettes, brow fillers, like every single thing you could ever imagine. That was fun and expensive, but it was worth it,” she said.
32. BIP – Producers Try to Protect Contestants
Producers try and protect contestants when things get out of hand. A producer explained that many of the producers are women and are particularly sensitive to issues surrounding consent, which is why the producer who saw the footage of Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson reported the incident and then an investigation was launched. “Let me start by saying the safety and care of the cast and crew of our show is of the utmost importance to us,” a producer told PEOPLE. “It is with this thought in mind that we made the decision to suspend filming. An investigation into the situation was started immediately. Warner Bros. is handling the details of that investigation. They’re moving quickly to gather all the facts, and once that’s done, a clear, concise decision can be made about where we go from here.”
31. Bachelor/Bachelorette – Leaving
When a contestant decides to leave the show or if they are sent home after a rose ceremony, it can take a while to actually get them on their way home. When a contestant chooses to leave they are required to tell the bachelor or bachelorette on camera so their reaction can be filmed, as well as the entire leaving process.
30. Bachelor Nation – Pressure to Propose
Nearly every season of The Bachelor has ended with a proposal, and despite the show’s short run of only three months, this has become an expected obligation on the Bachelor’s part for the finale episode. In 2018, it’s difficult to imagine being ready to propose after such a short time period, and although the Bachelor is not technically “required” to propose, the social pressure to do so essentially gives them no choice. Bachelor Sean Lowe recalled his experience on the show and the pressure to propose by explaining, “I started throwing up. I was puking on the sidewalk walking down to get the ring and coming back. It was like ‘Whoa. This is forever.’ My parents have been married for forty-three years. That was a big freaking deal to me.” He continued to explain, “There is no ‘What if I don’t propose’ option. It’s just ‘Here’s the ring. Go give it to her.’ That’s how they make it.”
29. Bachelor Nation – Wardrobe Check
It would definitely be a little weird if two women showed up wearing the same dress, so in order to avoid a mishap such a this, the producers and Cary Fetman will go around to each of the women’s hotel rooms to check out what they are wearing. “On the first night, I’ll go in to talk to them. They still haven’t seen each other and they don’t know what the other girls are wearing. I make sure that no one is embarrassing themselves or two people are coming out in the same dress. My theory is [that first night] says so much about who they are so I try to give them as little input as possible. That’s the fun part of the show. What the girls wear says so much about their personalities…The only thing I ever am doing is standing outside to make sure that you can’t see up their dresses,” he joked.
28. BIP – Friendships
According to a producer, contestants on Bachelor in Paradise at least are encouraged to form friendships. This leads them to use drinking for social lubrication. “The whole point of the show is that to succeed you need to make friends, and people feel it’s advantageous to drink and hook up and find a boyfriend or girlfriend,” the producer said.
27. Bachelor – Styling
The women only get professional styling on the first night and if they are lucky enough to make it as far as the finale episode. The rest of the nights they must do their own hair and make-up. They also have to cook their own meals!
26. Bachelor/Bachelorette – Setting the Mood
If the proposal settings on the show seem too good to be true, that’s because they are! The producers of the show spend a lot of time customizing the dramatic setting, including every little bridge and waterfall. In fact, all the settings for dates and within the mansion are meticulously decorated.
25. Bachelor Nation – Stylist for the Lead
While the contestants don’t have access to a stylist, the Bachelor or Bachelorette will have a professional stylist who dresses them throughout the series from beginning to end. Cary Fetman has been the Bachelor’s stylist since 2006. Styling outfits for an entire season is a lot of work, so most of it is done ahead of time. Fetman will meet with the star of the show ahead of taping to learn about their particular style is and pull wardrobe choices based on that. He also works with each Bachelor/Bachelorette to find what’s most comfortable for them, so they are heavily involved in what choices are made. Some stars will know exactly what they want and be more involved in the decisions while others are more laidback and leave it entirely up to him.
24. Bachelor/Bachelorette – Clothing Mishaps
Even though clothing choices are very collaborative, since the Bachelor/Bachelorette won’t know where the show will be traveling ahead of time, Fetman definitely has to guide some of their outfit choices. There have been times when they must travel for filming and the clothing doesn’t arrive. “[A]ll of a sudden we’re trying to find a clothing store that has what we need. And all sizes are different. That’s why I’m there,” said Fetman to Entertainment Weekly. According to Fetman, he has to prepare for any kind of situation that might arise, like lost luggage, unexpected weather, wardrobe malfunctions, etc.
23. BIP – Little To Do
There isn’t a lot to do in Paradise if contestants aren’t going on dates, so they mostly spend their days drinking. “In Paradise, it’s always five o’clock. I woke up in the morning and I had a glass of vodka soda – actually two – before I went down to the house. I didn’t eat anything. There’s not much to do,” former Bachelor in Paradise contestant Chris Bukowski said.
22. Bachelor/Bachelorette – Final Two Get a Stylist
One of the many perks of making it to the final two on The Bachelor/Bachelorette is having access to a professional stylist and free gown after an entire season of having to provide your own outfit and beauty routine. “I bring a whole fitting to the country [we’re filming in] — I’ve got all the gowns, all the accessories, and all the shoes in two bags — and each person gets her own bag. I always pray that both finalists are the same size, but that rarely ever happens,” said Fetman to Entertainment Weekly. In order to make sure the women are wearing totally different dresses, Fetman tries to go off their personalities which are usually very different. Once the first finalist is styled, he’ll remove everything from the racks that looks even remotely similar. While Fetman is there to help the ladies (and men) narrow down their choices, similar to the stars, the decision of what they wear is ultimately theirs.
21. Bachelor Nation – What to Wear
It can be tricky to keep an element of surprise, but also make sure the contestants are dressed properly. As any viewer of The Bachelor knows, the dates can sometimes be quite elaborate and outside the box, and may require a specific wardrobe. In order to avoid any setbacks in filming or embarrassing moments, producers will dish out hints on what to wear prior to filming a date. “Before dates, a producer will tell you more or less what you need to wear,” said a Bachelor contestant from season 18. “Nothing that will give away the activity, but vague things like, ‘Something comfortable you can walk in,” she wrote on her blog.
20. Bachelor/Bachelorette – Casting
In order to get on the show, casting agents hold auditions, but they have been known to recruit attractive men off the street to be a part of the show. The process of choosing the cast is a rigorous screening process that includes multiple rounds of interviews, STD tests, a psychological evaluation and counsel from a psychologist. The average Bachelor contestant chosen is around 25-years-old and a size 6.
19. Bachelor Nation – Helping Hands
Stylist Cary Fetman describes the Bachelor mansion like high school, and sometimes it does seem that way! Each season there are definitely cliques that form. One of the nice things about having friends on the show is that they tend to help each other out with styling their outfits. “Once they’re shooting, you’ve got all those girls [helping each other out]. I’m not saying all of them try to help, but you can always see how cliques form. It’s like they’re back in high school — they find the girls they want to be friendly with and they help each other. They kinda become [a] mirror [for each other],” said Fetman to Entertainment Weekly.
18. Bachelor/Bachelorette – Rose Ceremonies
Rose ceremonies seem quick on the show, but they can actually take up to 12 hours and sometimes don’t finish until about 5 or 6 in the morning. This is because it has to be filmed perfectly, and sometimes bloopers happen! Producers have to create flashcards with photos to help the bachelor or bachelorette to remember names. This also explains why sometimes when the women are sent home it almost seems they are in a daze and their emotions are worn.
17. Bachelor Nation – Sharing Clothes
While two contestants are never allowed to wear the same outfit or article of clothing at the same time, they have been known to share clothing. Viewers usually aren’t paying close enough attention to notice, but there have been instances in the past when a dress has made its rounds through the group. “If you saw Amanda Stanton, Leah Block and Lauren Bushnell all wore the same dress three different weeks in a row,” said Caila Quinn, a former contestant from season 20 of The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise. It was one of Amanda’s dresses, a black and gold sequined bodycon dress by Dress the Population.
16. Bachelor Nation – Getting Very Personal
It’s no surprise that the producers want drama, but one shocking tidbit of information Amy Kaufman shared in her tell-all book is that they actually track the women’s menstrual cycles to align interviews during their most emotional time of the month. Kaufman refers to these interviews as “ITM’s” or in-the-moment interviews which is essentially the private interviews which provide a personal commentary on each scene. Producer Ben Hatta opened up to Kaufman about this tactic explaining, “When women cycled together in the house, it created a completely different vibe. The most dominant woman would basically set it off… So a girl’s now crying mid-interview about nothing or being reactionary to things that are super small… If a girl’s feeling the butterflies for a guy already when she gets into that state, her feelings just become more powerful, so she’s probably more willing to tell that guy she loves him.”
15. BIP – Producers Push Storylines
Producers are reportedly actively involved in shaping storylines on the show. According to former Bachelor in Paradise contestant Leah Block, she felt pressured by producers to say and do things she wasn’t comfortable with. “Some people have really great experiences and it’s going to be different for everyone,” Block says. “But in my situation, I definitely felt like I was being pushed to do things and pushed to say things. It definitely didn’t get out of hand, but more so my edit was not what actually happened and that was totally out of my control. So they definitely set things up to make sure things the way they want it to.” This is consistent with what another insider said about Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson. Producers had approached them about a storyline that would involve the two of them hooking up.
14. Bachelor Nation – Producers Incentive
Apparently there is a major reason why producers push certain storylines and it is for personal gain! One of the most disturbing notes in the tell-all from Amy Kaufman is that the producers are given the incentive to create the most dramatic scenes, and often are rewarded with pay bonuses for doing so. Kaufman dished that former Bachelor executive producer Scott Jeffries told her that he “kept a wad of crisp $100 bills in his pocket” to give to producers who caught the best drama on film. The means of these scenarios are blurry, but interrogation and manipulation were just a few of the instigators explained by Kaufman in her tell-all.
13. Bachelor/Bachelorette – Fantasy Suite Secrets
We know it’s hard to believe, but sometimes when the contestants go to the fantasy suites, they just talk! It’s the only time on the show they get to have a conversation that’s off-camera. Emily Maynard, a former bachelorette, didn’t offer “fantasy suites” to the men because she wanted to respect being a mother. However, Sean Lowe later revealed that he was asked off camera to come back and stay in her fantasy suite, but they used the time to stay up all night talking.
12. Bachelor Nation – Staying Safe
It is no secret that contestants on all the shows end up hooking up and in a lot of seasons some contestants hook up with multiple people, and one of the main priorities on the show is the sexual health and safety. Chris Harrison recently revealed that “easily” the biggest expense on the show is the condoms and STD testing. “That [condoms] and the STD test—easily the biggest expense,” Harrison said after season 15 of The Bachelorette.
11. Bachelor Nation – Contestant Screening
In the tell-all Bachelor Nation Kaufman provides a detailed synopsis of the application and casting process of how each contestant is selected. Potential candidates are required to complete a variety of tests before being accepted, one of which is a screening for sexually transmitted diseases. Once the pool of candidates is narrowed down to 50, the screening is required and according to Kaufman, herpes was the primary cause of contestants being eliminated from the roster. She even dished that sometimes the producers are the first ones to break the news to the contestant that they should probably call a doctor and get themselves tested!
10. BIP – The Funding
The Mexican Tourism Board covers the majority of costs for the show. “They pick up the tab for practically everything in exchange for all the free publicity the show gives them – but is not a good look and is not likely to be something Mexico Tourism wants to welcome back,” a source told PEOPLE.
9. Bachelor/Bachelorette – Getting Paid
Contestants don’t get paid at all to be on the show, but the lucky individuals who are chose to be the star on either The Bachelor or Bachelorette do and the amount is rumored to be well over $100,000.
8. Bachelor Nation – Getting Ready
While the Bachelor mansion is definitely huge, when there are twenty-something girls in the house, there’s not a lot of space to get ready — especially when it comes to the bathrooms! In an interview with Allure, former Bachelor contestant Ashley Iaconetti said she used to do her makeup on the balcony. “The lighting in the mansion was really bad for makeup, so I did mine on the balcony every day. There were maybe four mirrors in the house of 23 girls because mirrors make it hard for the camera guys.”
7. Bachelor/Bachelorette – Eating Restrictions
No one actually eats on the one-on-one dates. The contestants will have food brought to their hotel (or the mansion) before going out for dinner on their dates. Food would be arranged perfectly on their plates but they aren’t allowed to eat it. They are instructed not to eat during these times in order to keep contestants from talking with their mouths full on the show and because the mics would pick up on all the chomping! There’s also at least one picnic date per season because it gives the couples a picturesque moment to chat with a scenic view that pulls out those sentimental deep conversations.
6. Bachelor Nation – Real Life Impact
Although The Bachelor creates a fantasy for many of the contestants with the luxury travel and fairytale dates, after the season is over nearly every contestant must return to their regular life at home. Many contestants stints on The Bachelor ended up having quite negative repercussions for their home life, especially for those who were framed as a villain. Contestant Rosalyn Papa divulged in the novel that one of the teacher’s at her son’s school posted rude comments about her in an online forum. “She called me a slut. She said that I wasn’t a good mom… I went to all of my son’s events and was very involved, so reading that was one of the most hurtful of all.” Contestant Chris Bukowski had his own fair share of drama following his Bachelor appearance. He confessed his family was deeply affected and became obsessed with reading online drama and hurtful comments about their son. “I kept telling him, ‘Dad, don’t read that stuff. If there’s a person that saves someone’s life, commenters will still talk crap about that guy on the Internet.’ He started to believe what they were saying.”
5. BIP – No Technology
Technology can be distracting so it isn’t surprising that there is a big no technology rule for contestants. While in Paradise, contestants have limited access to media. “When you’re in Paradise, there are no phones, no television, there’s very little air-conditioning or fans. If you’re just concentrating on one thing and doing that every day 24/7, you’ll become great at it, no matter what it is. Whether it’s working out, religion, whatever it is, my theory is that you’ll become great at that job. If you’re pouring all that attention into love and finding out if you and I work, you’ll figure it out,” Chris Harrison told Glamour.
4. Bachelor Nation – Life After The Bachelor
Plenty of Bachelor contestants never return to their day job following their Bachelor debut, and for good reason! While appearing on television, many contestants build a slew of fans rooting for them, which in turn creates a social media following. While many resort to another reality show such as Dancing with the Stars or Marriage Bootcamp, others opt for the alternative route of becoming an Instagram influencer and earning an income through social media campaigns. The value of a single social media post varies depending on how large the following is, but for those upwards of 1 million followers, such as Amanda Stanton, are making at least $10,000 per post according to Kaufman in her tell-all.
3. Bachelor Nation – The Psychological Test
Although many of the contestants may initially seem quite stable and in respectable career paths, there seems to be much more happening behind-the-scenes than is initially displayed on-screen. The producers are obviously quite cut-throat with their casting methods, but many will be shocked to hear that they actually favor the unstable applicants and those who “barely pass the psychological test.” As written by Kaufman, a former producer also admitted that the casting directors prefer those that seem “kind of unhinged” to maximize the potential of drama. Rozlyn Papa attested to this notion in the novel and commented that she confessed to the producers to being diagnosed with depression and believes she shouldn’t have been cast. “If they really were trying to protect you, you’d think that would be sort of a red flag and they would say, ‘Well, maybe this is someone who can’t handle this kind of pressure,” Papa revealed.
2. Bachelor Nation – Down Time
Even though the show is about falling in love, the contestants don’t actually spend a lot of time with either the Bachelor or Bachelorette. Since there are only so many dates and not everyone can go on them, there’s a ton of downtime that gets unaired. Since there aren’t any distractions like a television or cell phones, the ladies typically spend this time pampering themselves and each other. “We were always doing beauty routines. There were so many days where we did a lot of mud masks and self-tanning sessions. We were painting our nails all the time because we were constantly changing outfits, and we wanted to match the nails to the outfit. There was a lot of beauty and pampering for each other that never really gets aired,” said former Bachelor contestant Olivia Caridi to Allure.
1. Bachelor/Bachelorette – Time Spent
The women (and men) spend a lot of time together, and probably only about 5% of their time is spent with the Bachelor/ette (Ali Fedotowsky said, in the end, the final couple ends up only having spent a total of 72 hours together), so a lot of the contestants form really close friendships on the show. The amount of downtime is outrageous, 99% of the time the contestants aren’t doing much besides laying around the pool all day. The contestants aren’t allowed to bring phones, music, magazines, computers and there’s no television, but there’s lots of booze! It adds to the atmosphere which is why people seem to fall in love so quickly — they have to spend all of their time with their thoughts and talking about their feelings all the while confined to what feels like a bubble.