Like any American woman of young-adult age, I LOVE The Bachelor/Bachelorette reality show. Watching it, I am constantly thinking: "Wow, these girls are doing it all wrong! They aren't worthy of such a great man." I've been single for about six months now — the longest ever in my life — and figured I'd dabble with finding my soulmate on the most popular American reality television show, because . . . Why not? Due to the confidentiality agreement I signed through ABC, I'm not able to reveal any juicy details or spoilers for the current season (unless someone would like to pay for a lawyer and legal fees, then feel free to contact me).
1. My friends nominate me online
To apply for "The Bachelor," the only requirements are that you are single, at least 21 years old, have not been convicted of a felony, and not running for a political/government office. Since I fall into that category, some of my sorority sisters thought it would be fun to nominate me without me knowing. Little did they know that the application was very rigorous and had a lot of personal questions, so they needed my insight to answer the questions correctly.
2. The producers send me an email
Sadly, I did not receive an email from the legendary Chris Harrison (but that would've been SO cool!). About a week after my friends nominated me, I received an email from "The Bachelor Team" with an invitation to an open casting call in Chicago. They stated that I would either need to fill out a paper application beforehand or would be given one to me upon arrival. So, naturally, I printed out an application that night and had my family help me fill it out. It included the basics — your name, height, weight, age, hometown, hobbies. But, one question I found interesting was: "Do you have a bucket list? If so, what's on it?" I figured that must be where they get their inspiration for all those fun date ideas (like naked bungee jumping . . . Woah, that was wild!).
3. I travel to Chicago for the open casting call
To get to Chicago from the western suburb my family resides in, I had to take the Metra train to Oak Park, get on the CTA Green Line Train. For those of you not from Chicago, the CTA trains, or "L," is Chicago's elevated train service that can take you basically anywhere in the city and surrounding suburbs. I took a shuttle between the stations on the Green Line that are getting repaired, transferred to the Brown Line at the Loop, and then walked about 15 minutes until I reached the Westin on Michigan Avenue, situated next to the Sears (Willis) Tower and Water Tower Place. They were holding the casting call on the mezzanine level of the hotel and had blocked out a ballroom and six conference rooms from 1 PM to 5 PM.
4. The wait in line begins
There were about 200 women auditioning for the next season of "The Bachelor" and a handful of men there auditioning for "The Bachelorette." So, of course, there was a lot of waiting between stations. I made friends with the girl standing in front of me, who would be basically partnered with me for the rest of the afternoon. She had flown in all the way from Ohio because Chicago was the closest audition. I'm thankful it was only about an hour commute for me, including traffic, so I still had a lot of phone battery.
5. My applications get checked
Fortunately, since I already had an application filled out, they just quickly checked and made sure I had every inch filled out to the full capacity. Then, they handed me a paperclip to pin my photos to the application — applicants had to bring five to 15, I chose the happy median of 10. They also gave me a photo release form that I needed to sign, stating they could potentially use my pictures for the show if I were to make it and show it to the producers in California. They also gave me a confidentiality agreement since they asked us our opinions on the man who will be the next "Bachelor"! After completing those steps, you were given a number (I was number 146) and you waited in a room with everyone else for your number to be called to move on to the next step of the process.
6. My headshot is taken
No, it wasn't a cool photoshoot. Actually, I was sitting in the corner charging my phone when one of the women in charge of moving us through the process approached me and told me to follow her. She told me that she liked me and let me skip the line to move my process along smoother (she rocks!). They had me write my first and last name as well as my phone number on a whiteboard that I held to my chest for my headshot. Then, they had me place the whiteboard down to take another picture from the waist up. I was wearing a two-piece green set with a tube top and a long skirt, so I was happy they did more than a headshot because I definitely looked naked. The last shot was full body, including shoes, and you pose with your hands on your hips. All the photos were taken from straight on, which I believe was in my favor because I don't know how they would feel about the fairly large tattoo I have on my side.
7. I go in for my interview
The final and definitely most nerve-wracking portion of this process was the interview. After getting photos taken, you were escorted to the hallway of conference rooms where you sat and waited for one of the rooms to free up. They had about 12 interviews going at once — each one lasted about five minutes. The interview consisted of an interviewer and a camera. The woman who interviewed me was Mandee, who was so funny! I had to write my name and phone number on a whiteboard again and hold it to my chest for a second to start the video. Mandee then asked me questions off the application like where I'm from, what do I do, and things like that. She asked for a brief description of my dating history post-high school as well as my hobbies. The final question was "Why do you want to be on the show and what would you contribute to the franchise?" I will keep my answers to myself since they were very personal, but believe me when I say I was very overdramatic and trying to make a lasting impression on the interviewer.
They said they would reach out to me either way within the next couple of weeks since filming for "The Bachelor" goes from September to January. All in all, the entire process probably took two hours from when I entered the front doors of the Westin to when I exited. These people have everything down to a science — and I really applaud them for making my experience so smooth and painless. It wasn't as nerve-wracking as I had imagined and actually had a wonderfully fun time. If season 24 of "The Bachelor" isn't my time to shine, I will definitely be trying out again because I'll probably still be single.