You could be one of the most composed, cool-headed people on the planet, with zero grudges or grievances about the demise of your last relationship, and you'd still probably want to look amazing the first time you bump into your ex in public. You can't always plan for it, which is why sometimes you end up face-to-face at a coffee shop instead, with no deodorant on, fifth-day hair, and the smell of last night's booze seeping through your pores.
But when you're a past contestant on a Bachelor franchise, your ex is something of a reality show personality, and you're rearing up to appear in front of millions of viewers on live TV for what we've all come to know as the Women Tell All or After the Final Rose episodes, chances are you'll make damn sure to show up ready to impress.
"For WTA, we hire a couple of makeup artists and hairstylists for touch-ups, but for the most part, the girls come camera-ready," explains the show's makeup artist, Gina Modica. (The contestants are also expected to do their own hair and makeup during the actual filming of the series.) While the only person with a set dressing room is Chris Harrison, she says there are a few rooms backstage for the women to hang out in. That's where the glam team will drop in and out of should someone need a hair or makeup refresh.
This usually involves applying falsies — although "a lot of the girls have lash extensions, so they don't need any." As for the one thing they look out for? Well, it's the same product Modica once told us she steers clear of when shooting The Bachelor and Bachelorette: bronzer. "In my opinion, the women always bronze themselves too much before the show, so I'll ask someone on my team to tone it down. Not that it always works."
The biggest difference between the live TV taping and regular filming — besides the producer's inability to edit after the fact, of course — is the setting. As you could probably imagine, keeping up appearances is a lot easier when you're sitting in an air-conditioned studio in L.A. than it is hiking Machu Picchu in 86% humidity.
"I don't have to worry about them being in rain or sweating off their makeup, unless of course they are really nervous," Modica says. "And I definitely don't have to worry about the makeup staying on for 12 hours at a time because they're only going to be on for an hour."
And like the fairy beauty godmother you wish you could bring with you for every serendipitous run-in, should anything go awry, Modica is always watching from afar, just waiting for the go-ahead to lend you a helping hand.
"There’s usually about two to three minutes in between each commercial, which gives the [makeup team] a lot of time to do what we need to do," she says. "I'm always there for Chris and the bachelor or bachelorette, but there's not a lot of moving during the live shows, so I only do a few touch-ups throughout on an as-needed basis. If someone is crying, obviously we can't go in during the show, but we will just fix them up at the commercial break."
Considering this season's explosive finale ended with one woman running into her ex a little sooner than she probably expected (because, you know, he was on one knee a few months earlier), the only thing we can hope there was backstage this time around is a lot more waterproof mascara.