Ever thought about signing up to be a contestant on The Bachelor? I mean, who could blame you? You get to
take lavish trips around the world hole up in a fancy resort, hang out with a certified hunk (forget the fact that he’s also dating dozens of other women, it’s fine), and then live the life of an influencer for approximately three years. Oh, and if you’re lucky, you eventually become the Bachelorette! Like, is there even a downside?
Yes, there sure is. Going on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette comes with a lot of very specific and completely ridiculous rules. For example, do you enjoy things like checking your Instagram, texting your group chat, watching TV, understanding what’s going on in the world, using a shower, having privacy, and not re-mortgaging your house to pay for 14 fancy dresses? Cool, then perhaps this show isn’t for you! I promise, you are simply not emotionally ready to learn The Bachelor and The Bachelorette’s most intense rules. Quick, grab the nearest available half-dead rose and deep-breathe into it.
Like. Not a soul. Former Bachelor contestant Chelsea Roy told Vox, “We sign a big NDA where we’re not allowed to tell anyone that we’ve been cast and we’re going to start filming the show. I was able to reach out to a couple of people, local people, and say, ‘I would like to support your store in exchange for some exposure in the next few months. Just trust me.’”
So, what happens when you can’t borrow clothing? You gotta buy it—and ABC certainly isn’t footing the bill. Bachelorette Jillian Harris said she legit took out a second mortgage on her house to buy $8,000 worth of cute outfits for The Bachelor, while former cast member Bekah Martinez told Glamour she spent around $800 on heels and makeup.
Notice how The Bachelor cast members are almost always in solid colors? It’s because producers make them dress according to a pretty specific style guide. In his tell-all book, For the Right Reasons, Bachelor Sean Lowe revealed that contestants can’t wear “stripes, small checkered patterns, big patterns, and solid white.”
Hah, clearly Kelley Flanagan didn’t get the memo about that last one judging from this pic.
Former contestant Jaclyn Swartz gave Fashionista some intel about how limo arrival dresses work. She explained, “You’re by yourself in a hotel room and you come with a dress and probably a backup dress. The stylist Cary Fetman and a producer will come around to [your] room and they’ll approve the dress for the first night. That’s usually to make sure no two girls are wearing the same dress.”
Sean Lowe dropped this fact in his book For the Right Reasons, while fan-favorite Ashley Iaconetti told Fashionista that “The mentality you really have to go with is [that] you wear your favorites first. I know you want to save the best for last, but you have to be realistic and think, I’m probably not going to be here last.”
Sounds invasive, but it kinda makes sense? I mean, the Bachelor/ette often ends up having sex with multiple people on the show during the fantasy suites, so ya gotta stay safe! That said, former contestant Leslie Hughes told the Daily Beast the tests were “crazy.”
On top of STD tests, every contestant competing on The Bachelorette and The Bachelor in 2020 has to have frequent coronavirus tests (every third day, to be exact). Which makes complete sense considering we're, you know, in the middle of a pandemic.
On top of the STD and COVID-19 tests, contestants are given a full-blown psychological evaluation to make sure they’re a good fit for reality television. Um, if that’s the case, I HAVE SOME QUESTIONS.
“It can be a somewhat emotionally taxing—people don’t realize how fast emotions get involved,” Catherine Selden, PsyD (who conducted psych evals for the show back in 2010), told ABC. “We want to make sure that people are going to be okay with coping with the stress involved and make sure that they are going to be offered the help that they need if it’s the case.”
On top of being tested for coronavirus upon arriving on-set, contestants and crew have to agree to quarantine for a full week before filming begins.
Chris Harrison reportedly broke quarantine right in the middle of Tayshia Adams's season and on top of having to re-quarantine, our dude was fully replaced as host by JoJo Fletcher. (Don't panic, it was temporary.)
Imagine going weeks without your cell phone. Truly, the horror, but that’s exactly what goes down on The Bachelor. Leslie Hughes confirmed as much, telling the Daily Beast, “We have nothing. We are completely cut off from the world. We have to talk to each other—we have nothing else to do.”
Because on top of not being able to text your friends, The Bachelor producers don’t even want contestants to be able to listen to Demi Lovato's breakup song over and over again. Good thing they can always go watch their ex-boyfriends in concert!
In her interview with the Daily Beast, Leslie Hughes dropped this bombshell: “They are on you all the time. As soon as you wake up in the morning, your mic is put on you…When you go to bed, it’s taken off.”
Scared! Also fun fact, Bachelor in Paradise cast members are mic’d with these weird necklaces.
Another juicy BTS fact from Sean Lowe’s book? No one is allowed to actually eat the food on those fancy dates they go on. “Before we went on the date, the producers sent food to our hotel rooms,” Sean said. “We ate in our rooms and then went out for dinner, where we would be given beautiful food arranged nicely on the plate. This was just for show. No one looks good eating, and microphones pick up all kinds of chomping.”
...And said personality test is completely bonkers. In an excerpt from her book, Kaufman writes, “A 150-question personality test is filled with multiple-choice and true-or-false questions: Do you have out-of-body experiences? Do you think you can control things with your mind? Have you ever wanted to kill someone? Some of these questions would be asked several times, with different wording.” Um, help.
In the same excerpt, Kaufman says, “Contestants sign contracts in which they must agree to be filmed up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” And get this: Even if they’ve taken off their mic, their contract stipulates that they can be filmed “by means of hidden cameras and microphones.” Truly, WHAT?
Ya know, just to make sure this show didn’t break them! It’s fine! Apparently, the psychologist is also available 24/7 to talk with contestants should they be in need of a chat, which is actually kinda nice.
To quote Kaufman’s book: “This person would be trained to dig up any skeletons in the closet—partly to use for their storyline but also to get ahead of any tabloid stories that could come to the surface if they were on the show. Had they ever been arrested? Had they ever sent nude photos to anyone? Had they ever made a sex tape? Had they gotten a DUI?”
Wow, literally never applying to be on this show EVER.
For starters, you don’t own it. The show does. Sure, you get to wear it, but if you break up in less than two years you 100 percent are not allowed to sell it.
While most Bachelor couples break up, those who do make it have to deal with ABC owning the exclusive rights to their wedding. The good news? They get paid $10,000 per hour of TV programming.
Kay, this is less of a rule and more of a request. Multiple people told Kaufman as much during her book research, with former contestant Erica Rose saying, “They did encourage everyone to get in their best shape. They’d say, ‘Maybe you want to lose some weight, maybe work out.’” Woof.
Ya know? Girl chat? When two women come together under a contractual obligation and make forced convo with each other on camera? It’s totally a thing!
At least, you can’t read magazines. Bibles have always been allowed in the mansion, and in recent years, books were apparently permitted. But still, the rules are strict. As Bachelor ~villain~ Tierra LiCausi told The Verge, “Bible studies were held during my season, the girls would have weekly gatherings to study the Bible or discuss their beliefs [and their] religion (which was very interesting and unique to see). I definitely supported that and thought it brought a good vibe into the house. No magazines though.” [Editor’s note: Rude.]
A couple contestants from Sean Lowe’s season told The Verge there were “blackout days,” when the cast was allowed to rest and watch a movie picked by the production team. Meanwhile, Wells Adams says contestants on his season of The Bachelorette were allowed to watch Interstellar. Poor things.
Got it. Cool-cool-cool.
Feeling sick? Simply not in the mood? TOO BAD! Contestants are expected to show up no matter what. Unless, you're Clare Crawley and not only do you skip dates, you skip the whole entire show.