"Do I think Rachel will go back to being a lawyer after the show? Probably not," former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky told Refinery29 in a phone interview last week. "But do I blame her? I don't blame her at all. I think anybody in her situation would probably not go back either."
Fedotowsky speaks from experience. She famously left Jake Pavelka's 2010 season of The Bachelor to return to her job as an account manager at Facebook, a role she ultimately quit when the offer to be the sixth Bachelorette arose. The Massachusetts native emerged from the show with not just a fiancé — she and Roberto Martinez split about a year after getting engaged on the finale — but a slew of exciting new career opportunities as well.
Since the show, Fedotowsky has worked as an entertainment host and correspondent in addition to running Ali Luvs, her fashion and lifestyle blog, and raising her daughter, Molly, who turns 1 in July; the reality star wed husband Kevin Manno this March. Returning to Facebook or pursuing similar account management work was impractical, she told us.
"It is hard [to go back to your old job] for multiple reasons," she explained. "One reason being that you went from being a normal, everyday, average girl or guy, and then all of a sudden you're splashed on the cover of every news magazine. When you are the Bachelorette... you become this instant celebrity. So when that happens, your relationships change a little bit. People want things from you that maybe aren't super-genuine, and you kind of have to put a wall up. You realize that your life is no longer what it used to be."
Though Fedotowsky says her life has returned to normal in the years since her season aired, the immediate crush of paparazzi and attention was overwhelming. For Lindsay, who is an associate at the Dallas law firm Cooper & Scully, that could prove distracting.
"People might just schedule that meeting because they just want to talk to her," Fedotowsky suggested. "And therefore she's wasting hours every single day meeting with clients who don't even necessarily want to hire her as a lawyer, they just want to meet the celebrity, Rachel."
"When a company comes to you and offers you so much money that you would have to work six months for at your old job, why would you go back to your old job?"
Lindsay's not the first Bachelorette to have a legal career; season 10's Andi Dorfman was an assistant district attorney in Georgia prior to finding fame on ABC. She resigned from her position in 2014, but reportedly expressed an interest to one day return to law. In 2016, she released the New York Times-bestselling book It's Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Never After, and is in the midst of writing a follow-up.
Pivoting from ADA to best-selling author is hardly a career fail, and it's indicative of the tempting opportunities awaiting stars of the show. While contestants on The Bachelor and Bachelorette are famously initially defined by their job titles (pediatric nurse, teacher, aspiring dolphin trainer, etc.), those career paths become increasingly complex with each rose ceremony.
"If you're a contestant in the first couple of episodes, you're definitely going to go back to your normal job," Fedotowsky said. "The longer you're on the show, the more of a celebrity you become, and that's just the way the show has turned out. So if you're on the show 'til the very end, you're going to get more followers, and therefore more people are going to recognize you...
"So the girls or guys who are eliminated earlier, they might go back to their normal jobs. And even if they make it [close] to the end, they might take advantage of the opportunities that come with the show at first, then realize that this doesn't last forever. Maybe they'll take a hiatus for a year and go take advantage of all the fun opportunities that you get from being a contestant on the show, but then they realize, I can't do this long-term, I have to go back to a normal job. And a lot of them do. I've noticed that a lot of them have become real estate agents, because they've realized that their celebrity helps them in that job."
Those that go on to become the Bachelor or Bachelorette reach what she calls "another level of celebrity and popularity." Their social media stats skyrocket, brands start to reach out, and suddenly a life of influencing and #sponcon opens up.
"People are offering you what would have taken a half a year at your job to make, and they're offering it for you to do one thing," Fedotowsky shared. "When a company comes to you and offers you so much money that you would have to work six months for at your old job, why would you go back to your old job? A crazy person would do that! People always get mad at all the past contestants saying, 'Ugh, go back to your job, this is so ridiculous, all the contestants quit their jobs to become Instagram stars.' And I get that that's not fair to the rest of the world, because it's not, but anybody given that opportunity would take it."
Some Bachelorettes have managed to establish careers that build on their past training and interests. Season 9's Desiree Hartsock Siegfried, for instance, parlayed her pre-show career of being a bridal stylist into designing gowns and blogging about weddings. Interior designer Jillian Harris (season 5) showcases her skills as an HGTV personality. And Season 7's Ashley Hebert Rosenbaum is still a pediatric dentist in Miami.
Lindsay will undoubtedly be flooded with offers once her season ends, but the decision of whether or not to still practice law remains hers alone. Pardon the pun, but the ball is most definitely in her court.
Read These Stories Next: