Are we surprised that Bachelor contestants want to be on TV?

If you are on The Bachelor, it’s safe to assume you want to be on TV, right? Right. I don’t understand why the entire Internet is so shocked after learning that Cassie Randolph, one of Colton Underwood’s blonde suitors in Season 23 of The Bachelor, has been on another reality show. It was only a matter of time before that happened with a contestant, and I’m more shocked that it took 23 seasons.

Take a closer look at the details of Cassie’s other reality show, Young Once, and you’ll see exactly why she would jump at the opportunity to be on The Bachelor. Not that I’m not judging – we all know I would too. Young Once is a digital-only docuseries following young Christians balancing their faith and life decisions in love, school, and their careers. Pretty niche. It aired in 2016 and I’m assuming it was a buzzy topic at her Christian college, Biola University, but nobody else on earth has ever recognized her from it. Season 2 was filmed in the summer of 2018, presumably after Cassie had applied for The Bachelor but before she knew she was chosen, so of course she was on it. Kudos to the Young Once producers for deviously holding the episodes and releasing them each week during this Bachelor season. Nobody would have ever heard of their show, and now it’s being discussed all over the web. As I write these words, I’m seeing the irony in it.

Side note: the morality judgements and fetishising of virginity this season have walked the line between tone-deaf and straight up harmful, so at least Cassie’s Christian background explains her guilt in telling Colton she’s not a virgin.

So, Cassie was on a small show and then got an opportunity on a big show. She wants fans, she wants followers, she wants likes. Maybe she wants Colton too, but we might never know. Bachelor Nation is taken aback by this because we want to believe the in premise of the show. These ladies are here for the right reasons, or reason: love. But we already know they’re not, don’t we? Multiple contestants this season were already Instagram influencers before joining the show, and it’s clear that virtually all past cast members have gained followers, most turning their social platforms into a business or using them to promote their business.

The show puts some effort into upholding their fairytale, so it isn’t completely our fault that we fall for it. Elyse Dehlbom, one of my early favorites, left this season abruptly because she struggled watching Colton date other women. So I guess she might have been there to find love, even though I stand by the fact that she is way too good for Colton. Alternatively, she could have realized she wasn’t in love with Colton and strategized that a big, emotional exit was the best way to up her follower count and get a ticket to Bachelor in Paradise this summer.

That’s the cynic in me speaking, but it can’t be far off from the motivations of most of the women. They applied to be on the show before knowing Colton would be the bachelor, and then are all magically expected to fall in love with him. I haven’t heard of many viewers who love Colton even with editing that is meant to endear the viewer to him, so I’d be shocked if all 30 women who spend this unedited time with him have fallen in love.

They want to be famous, and I’m ok with that. The show is still addicting, and maybe even more fun when I’m trying to suss out each woman’s strategy and endgame.

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