Whether you’ve debated about who Arie should or shouldn’t choose, been to viewing parties or seen the updates all over the web, The Bachelor has influenced us all. There’s something about dozens of women competing for one man’s attention on national TV and aggressively fighting for flowers that make us want to do nothing else but watch on Monday nights. You might have admitted to watching it, but would you admit that you considered auditioning? What exactly entails taking a shot at being one of America’s perfectly manicured hopefuls?
LA Times staff writer Amy Kaufman answered the question for all of us with her book, Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure. So how does the process work? First, you have to be a minimum of 21 years old, though younger contestants have generally received some criticism in the past, especially if there was an age gap between them and the bachelor.
On the application page, typical info is asked from your height, address, to a personal statement on why you want to apply. Further, in the process, Kaufman states that women must submit up to 15 images of themselves as well as create an introductory video of them giving a house tour and showing off their personality.
According to the New York Post, Producers then narrow down the pool and invite potential candidates to LA for final auditions. A 150 question test is given, and it sounds like an upgraded Myers-Briggs test. Women must answer, “Do you have out-of-body experiences? Do you think you can control things with your mind? Have you ever wanted to kill someone?”
Following the test comes a one-on-one session with a producer and then a group interview which sounds like one of Vogue‘s “73 Questions With…” In the final stages of the process comes an interview with a psychologist who assesses the ladies’ mental and emotional well-being. And no doubt, you just know that they’re looking for the Krystal and Corinne of each season. Lastly is a medical exam to weed out the remaining applicants. The New York Post has reported that herpes is one of the main reasons women are eliminated, and for good reason. Sometimes the applicants were unaware that they even had the STD.
Once you’re approved and you’re set to film the show, it’s not all ball gowns and roses. On the Bachelor’s eligibility requirements page, contestants can’t be running for political office and must understand that they “may be audio and/or videotaped twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week while participating…whether or not he or she is then aware that he or she is being videotaped or recorded…” They also must agree that a producer can disclose any personal information, including medical history and confidences among others, to any third party. Anything unfavorable you do on camera is also owned by the company forever.
While we may only see the rose ceremonies and the elaborate dates, it’s clear that contestants agree to a multitude of risks behind closed doors. But part of the reason we watch, despite the satirical moments, is that we’re hoping a couple can end up being part of the successfully married minority of the franchise.