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I’ve been dreading writing this. Partially because reliving it stresses me out, and partially because I want to pretend it never happened. But let’s go back to August 2017.
“I cant believe I just rapped parts of ‘Hamilton’ in front of those producers,” I thought to myself as a nurse was taking my blood. “It’s okay, it just shows you have a fun and outgoing personality – they like that,” I tried to reassure myself. I had just completed four out of five final steps of The Bachelor’s “final casting weekend” — I filled out a psych test, talked to a criminal investigator, spoke with a psychologist, and interviewed with 30+ producers who somehow got me to rap “Guns and Ships” from Hamilton on camera. Now I was with the medic talking about prescriptions, and getting drug and STD tested. I was exhausted.
My handler (yes, they give you your own “handler”) walked me back to my hotel room and told me to wait there until I had clearance to leave. So I sat. I couldn’t help but think about how I got there. Honestly, at this point it’s all so blurry I hardly remember. It began with a coworker nominating me, and spiraled into a crazy whirlwind of video interviews, phone calls, photo shoots, and — I guess now — blood tests.
“Okay, Katie! You’re good to go! I’ll walk you downstairs, and you should be hearing a final decision from casting in about two weeks,” my handler told me after I had been held captive for hours on end. At least they gave me a tote bag as a souvenir.
I didn’t ever have a crazy desire to be on the show. It kind of fell into my lap, and I was rolling with the punches to see what would happen. I should note that at this point, nobody had any clue who the actual Bachelor was going to be (at the time, everyone thought it would be Peter Kraus or Wells Adams)… I was incredibly anxious and unsure of what was going to happen next.
About ten days passed after the finals weekend, and my cell phone rang. Although I hadn’t saved the number into my contacts list, I knew who was calling. It was casting for the show.
“Hi, Katie! We have great news for you! ABC loves you and we really want you to be on this next season of The Bachelor! Your results look great from finals weekend, and we’ll be mailing you your contract this week. Keep an eye out for it and let us know if you have questions.”
There you have it.
It was after that call that I started wondering, “What the hell am I doing?” This all started as a bit of an experiment to see how far I could get, and suddenly I have a big decision to make. Do I put my life on hold to date a stranger who I may not even be interested in? I talked to family and close friends about my decision, and most of them advised to go for it since it was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.
“If you don’t like the guy, at least you’ll get to travel for free,” one friend advised. She wasn’t wrong. The thing is, they tell you NOTHING about where you’ll be traveling, so you have to pack for crazy weather and climate scenarios. I was told to pack some clothes for exotic locations and bring some pretty cocktail dresses, as well as to make sure I have enough clothes and toiletries to last me eight weeks… you know… in case I made it that far. The shopping and packing process for this show is absurd, but my favorite part was picking out the dress I was going to wear on the first night. If anyone’s curious, it was white. And beautiful.
I was in the middle of packing a heavy winter coat next to a bikini when my phone rang. It was my assigned producer.
“Katie! So, I was wondering if you’ve noticed on previous seasons how some of the girls get introduction videos in the first episode? Welllllll, we want to film one with you!”
At this point, my anxiety really kicked into gear. The girls chosen for those introduction videos are either a) the wacky ones, or b) the ones that usually make it far in the show. I was pegged for one of those two categories, and it kind of scared the crap out of me. Thankfully, after filming the intro video, I knew I was chosen for the latter category. The interview questions they asked me had to do with serious topics, a sad personal story of mine, and they mostly captured me playing with my dog at the dog park. I was in the clear.
I should mention here that none of the girls knew who The Bachelor was going to be until after we had signed our contracts. For whatever reason, it took longer than normal to announce who it was going to be, and it ended up being Arie. It was definitely a surprise, but I felt neither here nor there about the choice. At the end of the day, you never know if you’ll be compatible with someone until you’re talking with them on a regular basis, so who was I to write him off immediately just because he wasn’t who I was expecting?
A week or two went by, and it was time for me to put my dog into boarding to start this crazy process. I had two huge suitcases, a head cold from being stressed out, a leave of absence from work, and a town car on the way to pick me up. It all felt really, really surreal, but it was finally happening after months of a preparation process. Once the car arrived, I sat in the back seat and made nervous chit-chat with the driver about the weather and what I had for breakfast that day (it was a waffle). As we pulled up to the hotel where I’d stay a few days before “limo night,” I called my parents one last time to tell them I love them.
As soon as I arrived at the hotel, my “handler” came once again to take me to my room. I was immediately asked to give them my phone, my prescriptions (even over the counter stuff like Advil), and my passport. In exchange, they gave me a packet with a welcome letter, schedule, and $500 cash. This was a Sunday, and we wouldn’t be meeting Arie or moving into the mansion until Thursday, so the cash was to be used on room service. I was instructed to not leave my room, and that the producers would stop by and hang out and/or call the hotel room phone if they needed anything from me. I unpacked a little bit and found an incredibly sweet and reassuring note from one of my best friends that she snuck into my suitcase.
I don’t know if you’ve ever spent days in a hotel room nearly in solitude, but you start to feel a little loopy. I probably watched over 10 hours of Impractical Jokers on the hotel TV which can’t be healthy. I was able to leave my hotel room twice: once for my ABC contestant photo shoot, and once for another on-camera interview. That was it. Granted, producers would come by to chit chat and hang out with me to keep me company… But for the most part I felt stir-crazy from being cooped up for so long. Finally, it was the eve before “limo night.” I was instructed to sleep in the next day since I’d be up really late the following night, and that I’d get a call in the afternoon with my hair and makeup time. So, I ordered some wine up to my room to elevate my nerves, and went to bed.
The next day, I tried to sleep in but my nerves kept me in and out of a slumber. I finally woke up to steam my gown, and my hotel phone rang around 1 o’clock. I remember thinking it was going to be the hair and makeup people with my scheduled time. It wasn’t.
“Hi, Katie. Um, this is casting. We have some bad news. We’ve decided last minute that you aren’t a good fit for our Bachelor and we have a car here for you to go home.”
My stomach sank.
I remember thinking it was some kind of joke, but it absolutely wasn’t. To this day, I still don’t know what happened. Maybe I was “too” normal. Maybe I wasn’t giving them the answers in my interviews that they wanted. Maybe I was an alternate all along (not likely since they used production money for an introduction video). Whatever the case, I have no idea where they changed their mind literally hours before I’d meet The Bachelor.
After all of the time, money, and energy I invested in this process, it’s hard for me to say that I wasn’t disappointed. I was pretty embarrassed having to tell my friends and family that I was sent home before even getting a chance to put on my dress. But, you know what? In hindsight, thank God I wasn’t on that season of the show. I think I missed out on making friendships with the other girls, but I definitely didn’t miss out on meeting a potential partner. He’s TBD out there.
It’s taken me over a year to even put these thoughts on paper. It may seem so silly, but that experience took a toll on me, and I wasn’t even on the difficult parts of the show. I can’t imagine how other contestants feel after weeks of filming and then being sent home.
Suffice it to say, I’m so happy my Bachelor experience ended the way it did. Was I bummed about it at the time? Yep. But I’m confident in knowing that there’s a good reason it didn’t happen.
But a tip to any future boyfriend of mine: Maybe don’t get me roses. I prefer lilies anyway. .