Behold: The Bachelor Unicorns — The Perfect Contestants Who Came & Went

The Bachelor is a pretty mundane land. Maybe even a little muggle-ish. Or like Pleasantville, except no one’s bothering to stage a revolution. The women have matching blowouts, and the bodies — taut, nervous, and muscular — are largely the same. Profession-wise, the women are models, Pilates instructors, real estate agents, and executive assistants. The men are personal trainers, real estate agents, former professional athletes. They all fit into a tidy Bachelor mould, which makes sense: ostensibly, they’re all different shades of one person’s preference.


Sometimes, there are unicorns. This year, John Graham appeared on The Bachelorette, wowing the audience with his ability to be both eligible and awkward. He was the fifth active hire at Venmo — these days he works at Fin, an AI-focused app — and he spends his free time teaching tech to the elderly. Fans adored him. Becca Kufrin, the Bachelorette, did not, sending him home in the fifth episode. Similarly, fans loved Joe the grocer (also known as Joe Amabile), a sincere-seeming Chicago native who left after the first episode. Both John and Joe — and Wills, who is still on the show — personify a kind of fleeting Bachelorette hero. They are the Bachelor unicorns. These people arrive on the show like aliens, looking somewhat bewildered by the format. You get the feeling some producer really lucked out getting them on the show. They visit for a time, casting glittery shadows about Bachelor-land. They rarely win; that would require keeping a wave upon the sand. After they leave, they are gone but not forgotten. Grasping at wine at the end of an episode, Bachelor viewers whisper, "Who was that guy? From episode 1? The one with the kind eyes?"

The wind whispers back:

"Emily, the epidemiologist."

Ahead, the Bachelor unicorns. Don't stare for too long.

Blake K., Season 13 of The Bachelorette

Blake K. flitted across our screens so quickly that he still has only 1,000 followers on Twitter. A Marine veteran, Blake Killpack left after only one episode, prompting Buzzfeed to write a post titled "So The Hottest Bachelorette Contestant Went Home Last Night And It's A Damned Shame." Killpack later revealed on Instagram that he had to leave the show early to visit his 90-year-old grandfather in the ICU. He never returned to the franchise, although his tweets from last summer suggest he had an interest in it. Now, that's a unicorn.
Emily O'Brien, Season 16 of The Bachelor

Perhaps the eldest of the Bachelor unicorns in terms of show history — previous iterations of the show were pre-Twitter and therefore pre-standom — O'Brien outlasted other contestants from her season thanks in part to Reality Steve, who adored her. In an interview for his podcast with Bachelor Ben Flajnik, the blogger admits that, essentially, she is his unicorn. O'Brien was an epidemiology PhD candidate when she went on the show. During her limo exit, she squirted hand sanitizer into Ben Flajnik's outstretched hand, explaining that this — all the kissing and hugging — was how humans spread disease. At the Women Tell All, she told the Los Angeles Times that she specialised in heart disease and strokes. Per WetPaint, O'Brien got engaged in 2013. Sadly, her Instagram has been deleted, but a 2016 post on the Duke University School of Medicine website indicates that she's now an assistant professor of medicine at Duke.
Lesley Murphy, Season 17 of The Bachelor

Murphy, who recently appeared on Bachelor Winter Games, first appeared on the franchise in 2013. At the time, she was a "political consultant." This alone is weird for The Bachelor, a ruthlessly apolitical show. (Imagine your mother yelling at you to "stop talking about politics" at the dinner table. That's how subtle The Bachelor is with is political preferences.) In her intro video, she proudly told the camera, "I'm a huge advocate for the environment."

Our environmentally friendly unicorn disappeared for five years, resurfacing briefly when she got a preventative double mastectomy. She then appeared on Bachelor Winter Games in 2018, a unicorn returned. Following the show, she briefly dated Dean Unglert.
Photo: MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock.
Sharleen Joynt, Season 19 of The Bachelor

Joynt, an opera singer, left her season of The Bachelor of her own volition. The brave new world — which included Juan Pablo Galavis — did not interest her. Her departure inspired think-y pieces about how she was a great contestant. Jezebel deemed her "The Bachelor contestant no one could hate-watch."

Joynt remained involved in Bachelor Nation, though. She appears on Bachelor-related podcasts and maintains a blog about the show.
Photo: Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock.
Wells Adams, Season 12 of The Bachelorette

Adams, a radio DJ from Nashville, was a world away from other Bachelor contestants. On one date, Adams had to don a firefighting suit and climb a building. Slight and slightly hipster-looking (reminder: he's a radio DJ), Adams nearly fainted. Jojo Fletcher kicked him off the show, but he returned for Bachelor in Paradise two times over. The second time, he was just a bartender. Adams is intriguing as a sort of Bachelor filter. He likes the show, much like a fan, but he seems to understand its limitations. He's also currently dating Modern Family star Sarah Hyland.
Jacqueline Trumbull, Season 22 of The Bachelor

Trumbull, also a PhD candidate, took the Sharleen Joynt route. She left The Bachelor, claiming that she just wasn't as into Arie Luyendyk, Jr. as he was into her. Trumbull seemed exceedingly concerned about real life things, like the fact that she had to finish her PhD. She had another six years of school, she explained. She is currently a psychiatry clinical research coordinator at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. And, like Joynt, she stays active in Bachelor Nation: She regularly tweets about the show, and she has appeared on various Bachelor-adjacent podcasts.
Peter Kraus, Season 13 of The Bachelorette

The ultimate unicorn, Peter Kraus was special because he was so close to the Platonic ideal of Bachelorette contestants. He loved dogs. He was sincere. He was a fitness trainer. On paper, he seemed like a run-of-the-mill contestant. He wasn't, though. He was surprisingly communicative and, most importantly, deeply in love with Rachel Lindsay. Their breakup was heart-wrenching, and, to this day, fans want Peter to be the next Bachelor. He's the ultimate unicorn because he doesn't want to be on the show, ever. Speaking to Refinery29 in March, Kraus explained that he would likely never be the Bachelor.

"There's a lot strings attached [and] the Bachelor was not something I wanted to do, personally," he said. Still. Sometimes, unicorns stick around.
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