The 23rd season of The Bachelor has already been crazy—culminating, of course, in Fence Jump 2k19, which we saw unfold on our screens one week before the finale (which is Monday, March 11, FYI). Even before that, much attention (so much!) had been paid to Colton Underwood's virginity and how, you know, he's on a show with 20 love-hungry ladies. But I was always fascinated by one of the contestants in particular: Caelynn Miller-Keyes. She wowed the former football star right away—more on that later—and got the second rose of the first night, ultimately placing fourth.
Caelynn received a ton of screen time early on thanks to her feud with fellow pageant star Hannah B, but she received national attention in the aftermath of her one-on-one with Colton, during which Caelynn bravely opened up about her sexual assault in college. Described as a "turning point" in the season by our Bachelor recapper Amanda Mitchell, Caelynn sharing her story with both Colton and the viewers cemented her as one of the season's most beloved, and admired, contestants.
Caelynn ultimately made it to hometowns, where she introduced Colton to her family and her stepdad (did anyone else cry when they were talking about how he's her real father? I know that wasn't just me?!). She told Colton she loved him, and explained to producers that she "saw it," meaning the future of their relationship—but Caelynn ultimately didn't make it to Fantasy Suite week. She placed fourth, telling Colton she felt blindsided, and the two didn't see each other again until The Women Tell All.
Ahead, more of Caelynn's backstory.
She's from the South.
According to her Bachelor profile, Miller-Keyes grew up in Fredericksburg, Virginia, got her degree in broadcast journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University, and now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, as a social media consultant.
She is close with her family, according to Hollywood Life, and actually overcame a childhood illness when she was very young. Apparently Miller-Keyes comes from a line of driven women, because her grandmother (who's also her mentor) was the first woman to be head of the FBI in Los Angeles, California.
She was first runner-up in the Miss USA Pageant.
In May 2018, she competed in Miss USA and just lost out to Sarah Rose Summers, Miss Nebraska. Miller-Keyes was super gracious about the loss to Summers on social media, saying that the two were buddies in real life and telling Summers to "go kill it as Miss USA, and win Miss Universe so we can be roomies."
She's friends with her fellow Miss USA contestants.
Or at least, based on what we can see from Instagram, which never lies to us. In addition to being friends with Summers, she's also pals with Miss New Jersey, Alexa Noone, and Miss Nevada, Carolina Urrea.
And then, of course, there's Miss Alabama Hannah Brown, whose friendship with Caelynn...soured, to say the least.
She loves to travel.
In her one-on-one with Underwood, Miller-Keyes said she loved to travel and feels like she's lived a lot of life for someone so young (she's 23). Per her intro video, as Miss North Carolina it's been her job to travel. According to her Bachelor profile, she's also traveled for love—all the way to Japan for a first date!
But, as she told Underwood, she got dumped in one of her favorite places, Thailand, so it holds some bad memories for her. A source told Life and Style that this unnamed ex broke things off with her a few months before Miss USA, and that she's looking for "a dedicated and loyal guy."
She nabbed the first kiss from Colton.
It was an intense premiere of The Bachelor. There was a sloth, a scary bachelorette with the same name as me (ugh) who kept stealing time away from the other ladies, and not one but three kisses. And Miller-Keyes was the first! She impressed Underwood right away, introducing herself with her Miss North Carolina sash that she turned around to read "Miss Underwood" (clever!). She was clearly smitten, saying he had a "calming energy."
She advocates for survivors.
According to the Miss Universe website, because of her personal history Miller-Keyes is "a dedicated advocate for sexual assault prevention by speaking to high school and college students about the importance of consent."
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