I'm a relatively new Bachelor franchise viewer, but every time I watch the first episode of the season, when the contestants are unveiled and their backstories revealed, I always wonder the same thing: How did they get here? Who puts their life on pause for weeks of potential humiliation? Who wants the world watching them as they most likely face rejection? And how, out of all the women in the world, did these ones make it through?
Last night, 29 women arrived at Bachelor Mansion to vie for Arie Luyendyk's heart, but that's likely just a fraction of the women who auditioned to be a part of the show. We never get to see just how producers narrow down what feels like an entire nation of women to just a couple dozen contestants, but 25-year-old Margo Boland went through it herself — and lived to tell the tale.
Boland, a Chicago-based merchandise planner, never actually applied to be a contestant on The Bachelor. It was her friends who put her name forward for the gig. While she ultimately wasn't picked to be on the show, she did go through the whole audition process, and still regrets that she never got her chance to shine.
Ahead, we spoke to Boland about what the audition process is actually like, and if all of it is really worth it if it means finding "the one."
How long ago was the audition, and what season was it for?
"It ended up being for Nick [Viall]'s season...so two years ago?? Dodged a bullet there."
Did you know who the Bachelor was when you auditioned?
"Nope, it was a secret!"
You mentioned that your friends signed you up, what did that entail?
"First, I got an email saying someone signed me up and to please fill out an application form/send photos. I thought it was a joke or a scam, so I did absolutely nothing. Then like two days later (they gave me 48 hours or something to respond) I got a voicemail from a girl named Carli Jo saying they really wanted to speak with me and for me to send in a formal application. She sent a follow-up e-mail too with all the info to apply myself. I talked to a couple people on the phone to confirm this was real, and then I actually applied/sent pictures. They followed up a week or so later and told me when they were going to be in Chicago and to please come in for an in-person formal interview so they could meet me."
Do you know who signed you up?
"I FINALLY found out who signed me up, and it was high school friends from Philly."
Why do you think ABC wanted you to audition?
"My friend told me what she sent them about me to sign me up, and it made me sound like an absolute alcoholic/party girl/single forever/desperado. Not totally false."
Why did you ultimately decide to go?
"I decided to go after all my friends were like OMG YOU HAVE TO. They actually believed I had a shot. I just figured what’s the worst that can happen? I don’t get picked? So I just went for it!"
What did you have to do for the audition?
"They said to dress like you were going on a date. My biggest regret is that I did not drink before because for some reason I was beyond nervous when I got to the hotel where the auditions were. Like hands shaking when I signed in. They have you write your name on a whiteboard and take a photo. Then you wait for your in-person interview. I made one of my best friends come with me, and the people there actually tried to get her to audition, too, and she said no way.
"They asked the most basic questions. Where are you from/where did you grow up/what do you do/what is dating life like is Chicago? They did not dig for ANY dirt or ask about drinking. Which surprised me because my friend basically led with that when she signed me up. They had me mic'ed, and I was filmed. God, I was probably shaking then too. No wonder I wasn't picked. The whole thing lasted about 10 minutes."
Was that shorter than you thought?
"Interviews all seemed to be about 10-15 min. I was surprised at how short it was! They said to prepare for an hour but then I realized that was probably including the wait time."
What was your "date look"?
"I ended up wearing a romper and wedges. Which was perfect! I didn’t feel too under or over dressed!"
What was the vibe like during the audition?
"There were SO MANY FREAKS there. I was like, 'Oh wow, I def have a chance.' Then again...if you watch The Bachelor they look for freaks."
How many other women were there?
"At the time I went I saw like 20 other girls waiting. There is a time window when you can go so I’m sure people were just filtering in and out the entire day."
Why do you think they were interested in you?
"I think they were interested at first from my friend saying I was a crazy party girl that was finally ready to settle down. That just isn't how I carry myself now (although I am still single and love to go out/drink with friends). I am just not going to lead with 'Holy shit I drink wine every night and will fight bitches for a guy.' I am sure that is what they were looking for. I did send the best pictures of myself I could dig up, so maybe that was good, too, to get me in there."
When did you find out that you weren't picked?
"I never got a call/email anything. So bizarre after they stalked me to apply at first. It was a pretty big ego bruise to not even get a call back after all that. Am I over it after a couple years? I don't know."
Why do you think you weren't chosen?
"I honestly think I was too boring. I got dressed up for sure, but I think I just was too plain or not what they were looking for. My friend was waiting in the hallway and said she just saw weirdo after weirdo walk into the waiting room."
Do you wish you had been picked? How different would your life be?
"I think my parents are OVERJOYED I wasn't picked. They told me if I got to the 'meet the family' part (wishful thinking TBF), they would have made my aunt and uncle pretend to be my parents. I am for sure bummed I wasn't picked just because I have watched the show for forever and that it would be super fun to be on. Plus, I honestly think you can meet/make legit friends and possibly fall in love. I was open to whatever. The experience is just unlike any other. Worst case I would be opening Fabfitfun boxes on Instagram for the rest of my life."
Do you think people really can fall in love on reality TV?
"I do think people can fall in love on reality TV. It’s very unlikely, but there are some success stories! I still follow Kaitlyn Bristowe and am obsessed with her and Shawn’s relationship. I think the time period where you are supposed to fall in love is unrealistic, but I think you can for sure build a connection with someone on the show. Totally believe that."
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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