A man steps out of a long, black limousine. He fixes his hair. He finds himself outside of a rented mansion in the Hollywood hills, with a cement driveway recently hosed down with water to give it a sleek, textural feel. He is tall, dashing, and often Ivy League-educated, and he’s about to date thirty women as he attempts to find the one. He is The Bachelor.
While not everyone finds love on The Bachelor, more than a few contestants have turned their fifteen minutes of fame into full-fledged careers.
Alumni of the long-running ABC dating competition show have had more post-show luck than some of their colleagues on similar shows such as CBS’s mega-hit Survivor.
The Dating Show That Started Them All
Early pioneers like MTV’s The Real World introduced viewers to the potential for all that reality TV could offer. In 2000, CBS changed the face of reality TV forever when it debuted Survivor, and forty-two seasons later, that competition series is still running.
In 2002, ABC introduced their own reality tv show: The Bachelor, in which a man would date multiple women on a journey to find love. Twenty years later, the show has aired twenty-six seasons, while its spinoff, The Bachelorette, will air its nineteenth season this summer.
The dating show formula has been replicated on every major network, and to account for the success of beach-based dating shows, ABC created a second spinoff called Bachelor in Paradise, which will air its eighth season later this year.
While The Bachelor never had immunity challenges or hidden idols, it did offer first impression roses, awkward group dates, and Fantasy Suites, where contestants would have the chance to spend 1-on-1 time with the lead without the pervasive eye of the camera.
What separates the two reality shows is not their longevity but the success of their contestants after their appearances on TV.
Bachelor contestants are more likely to land brand deals thanks to their massive influx of social media followers. Fan favorites like Kaitlyn Bristowe, Tayshia Adams, and Nick Viall have 2 million, 1.7 million, and 1.1 million followers on Instagram.
However, when compared to Survivor all-stars like Parvati Shallow, Boston Rob Mariano, and two-time winner Sandra Diaz-Twine, the difference in followers is staggering: Shallow has 176,000, Mariano 212,000, and Diaz-Twine has 70,000. Even the show’s longtime host Jeff Probst only has 230,000 followers on Instagram.
Here for the Right Reasons
Wealth of Geeks sat down with contestant LaNease Adams to hear about her stint on the groundbreaking first season of The Bachelor.
“A casting director who was also a good friend of mine knew about the show and thought I would be a good fit,” says Adams. She was twenty-three at the time, a working actor in Los Angeles who was finding early successes in film, TV, and music videos. She was also dating comedian Bill Maher.
“But Bill was not interested in settling down at the time,” she says, “so I decided to do the show in the hopes of maybe finding love, or at least getting more exposure.”
The media attention was much more than she had ever anticipated. She says, “The show was bigger than any of us knew it would be.” In this pre-social media world, Adams was still recognized everywhere she went. The overnight fame was palpable.
“I ended up not leaving my house for a few weeks,” she recollects, “because of the anxiety of being recognized everywhere.”
She was notable on the series for being the first contestant to kiss the lead, an impressive move her jealous peers were quick to judge. Today she is still working hard in Hollywood.
She recently produced, directed, and starred in a film called Heaven’s Revenge, which is available for digital consumption on Tubi and Amazon Prime.
Although she may not have received the final rose, Adams and her successors did find solid career footing after their time on the dating show.
Fame Today – What Does That Look Like?
Outside of the entertainment industry, the show’s alumni can expect brand endorsements, book deals, and podcast gigs.
Kaitlyn Bristowe has done it all. After appearing on season 19 of The Bachelor, she was announced as The Bachelorette. Her time on the series came full circle when she and Tayshia Adams co-hosted two seasons of The Bachelorette.
Since appearing on The Bachelor, Bristowe has started a successful wine label called Spade and Sparrows, as well as Dew, a brand that sells luxury scrunchies and accessories for bachelorette parties.
In addition, Bristowe hosts the Off the Vine podcast, where she discusses relationships, pop culture, and, of course, The Bachelor.
Tayshia Adams has been equally as busy since her time on The Bachelor, Bachelor in Paradise, and her own season of The Bachelorette. She regularly partners with brands like Lancome, Fabletics, No. 7, Asics, Marshalls, and Amaryllis, among others.
Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s first black lead, recently released her first book: Miss Me With That. The Extra correspondent has ongoing brand deals with Glossier, Dove, and Revolve.
Once considered a villain on The Bachelorette, Nick Viall has made a name for himself as the host of the podcast The Viall Files, in which Nick offers callers dating advice. He also founded Natural Habits, his very own line of essential oils.
On Instagram, he is an active influencer, representing brands like Brooklinen, Charmin, and Ruggable.
The Bachelor franchise offers a launchpad for aspiring entrepreneurs, but those who apply for the show should be doing it for love and not brand deals.
Advice From an Expert
“The Bachelor is a great experience. If you have the opportunity, give it a shot,” encourages LaNease Adams. For those worried about the potential for negative media attention, she has this to say: “If you are a good person, people will see that and will want to support your endeavors.”
Twenty years later, we’re still talking about The Bachelor. If LaNease and her fellow alumni teach us anything, it’s that great financial opportunity can await you after the series, but signing up for the show must be, first and foremost, about falling in love.
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This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Featured Image Credit: ABC Network.
Justin McDevitt is a playwright and essayist from New York City. His latest play HAUNT ME had its first public reading at Theater for the New City in September. He is a contributor for RUE MORGUE where he lends a queer eye to horror cinema in his column STAB ME GENTLY.