Spoilers for this season of The Bachelor. In case you're waking up from a coma/don't check the news/haven't discussed The Bachelorette on your group chat lately, this season is proving to be very entertaining and very messy. Our Bachelorette was Clare Crawley—for about five episodes, before she quit the show to be with contestant Dale Moss. So now we're talking about our second Bachelorette Tayshia Adams, and trying to figure out who she picks for her happily ever after. We do know that one important contestant is Ben Smith, 29, a fitness guru and veteran. He was part of Crawley's recasting after COVID-19 precautions initially halted production, and Crawley hadn't eliminated him by the time the switch to Adams happened. So memorize his face now, and get ready to hear a lot more about him.
What does Ben Smith do?
Per his ABC bio, after graduating prestigious military academy West Point (he got recruited to play golf), Smith served in the Army and became a Ranger—before leaving active duty after breaking his back. He still had an interest in health and nutrition, and it took him to Venice Beach, CA—where he lives now.
And in fact, Smith does reference his military service online:
There's not much about Smith's private life on his Insta, aside from his love for dogs:
Now, Smith is a coach at Deuce Gym, and also acts as a nutritional coach. He has a profile on the gym's YouTube page in which he talks about his background, his lead-up to becoming a part of the gym, and how it's become such an important part of his life.
Case in point? Per his bio, his favorite indulgence is apparently...an ice bath. Shudder.
In episode seven, Smith bravely shared with Adams that he battled an eating disorder for much of his life. "The life I've lived is different than what you might assume," he told her. "I don't want to lay all this on you, but the reason I'm in fitness and nutrition...I had an eating disorder for 15 years."
This moment was groundbreaking for the franchise, much like when Adams and Ivan Hall spoke openly about Black Lives Matter. Smith talking frankly and candidly about having an eating disorder as a cis man is likely to help de-stigmatize eating disorders in men, according to an expert interviewed by Refinery29.
What happens with Ben Smith on Tayshia's season?
Okay, are you ready for this season to be majorly spoiled? If so, keep reading (and if not, click off this page now!).
Initially a dark horse, Smith became a mid-season favorite. Reality Steve notes this of episode seven, which showed Smith going to Adams' room to spend extra time with her after not pulling her aside on the group date:
"He tells her he wants to “show up” for her, and we immediately start getting Clare flashbacks since that was seemingly her go-to line this season. So I think we know now why Ben is getting all this time being shown. He’s final 2. They wouldn’t go out of their way to have Ben make sure he sneaks to her place and then pull her aside first if he wasn’t important to the season."
But it doesn't seem like Smith comes close to winning the season. Per RS, Adams falls for both Morais and Clark—and then Morais leaves, saying he isn't ready for an engagement. Ultimately, Adams picks Clark, even though Morais has been her frontrunner for some time. (But they don't get engaged, and it's anyone's guess whether they're still together now.)
The big takeaway: As a fan favorite who didn't end up winning, and especially as a man who was vulnerable about his mental and physical health in front of an audience of millions—remember when Ben Higgins opened up about feeling "unloveable" and became the most beloved figure in Bachelor Nation?—this is likely not the last you'll see of Smith. He's a shoo-in for Bachelor In Paradise, and could even be in the running to be The Bachelor in 2022.