Way to reject the modern Bachelor duties, Arie. Ever since Instagram took over as prime advertising space, members of Bachelor Nation can make a living promoting products on social media. Sponsorships include, but are not limited to, Hello Fresh, Fab Fit Fun, Sugar Bear Hair, Lull Beds, Third Love bras, Nutrisystem Turbo For Men, Photo Grid, TrendSavvy.com, MVMT Watches, and Seat Geek, to name a few. (Fit Tea is a popular butt of Instagram advertisement jokes, but it doesn't appear in Bachelor feeds that often.)
Sponsored content is a common source of infighting within Bachelor Nation. Most people who've appeared on Bachelor-related shows share sponsored content. Most people who've appeared on Bachelor-related shows also make fun of sponsored content. Elan Gale, the executive co-producer for the show, once shared a series of photos from Bachelor supernova Ashley Iaconetti selling Hello Fresh. He commented, "Hello Fresh. Goodbye Soul." (Gale, who is a producer and author, does not appear to benefit from sponsored content.) Derek Peth, a former Bachelorette contestant who got engaged on Bachelor in Paradise during the summer of 2017, also likes to mock the Instagram industry.
"If you have a cute kid and don't try to make IG money off them for their college fund & buy yourself an LV purse, are you even a good parent?" he tweeted in October. This might be a reference to Amanda Stanton, a BIP contestant who regularly shares photos of her two children on Instagram. One recent photo of the kids hawked the app Peanut, which sells itself as a "Tinder for moms."
Based on most of Bachelor Nation, Instagram advertising is a viable way to make a living. On her podcast That's So Random, former Bachelor villain Corinne Olympios noted how wonderful it was to live a life buffered by sponsorship.
"I was sitting in my apartment, and I'm like, this is mine. Like, this is not my parents' money. This is not me living off my parents. This is mine. This is me, I did this, I got here, and I don't have to wake up and go to work everyday," she told her guest Dean Unglert. In addition to sponsored posts, Olympios is the face of Riot Society's line Riot Girls. Unglert appeared on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise. He also admitted on the podcast that he no longer works a 9-to-5 job.
"This is the first time in my life I haven't had to work or be in school full-time," he said. Unglert partnered with MVMT watches earlier this year. He's also hawked Lull Beds on Instagram, and he has a podcast of his own called Help! I Suck at Dating.
Most Bachelor contestants foray into the sponsored world in some capacity, even if they keep their pre-Bachelor fame job. Rachel Lindsay, former Bachelorette, went back to work at her Dallas law firm after The Bachelorette finale, but she dabbles in Instagram partnerships. (Most recently, Lindsay partnered with Barkbox and Pawworks.)
For now, Luyendyk appears to be positioning himself as the anti-sponcon Bachelor. He's supposed to be the non-famous Bachelor, the guy who hasn't been on television in five years. He has a "real" job, and he's got grey hair. He makes fun of himself on Twitter. He's self-effacing and aware that maybe America would have preferred Peter. (This particular writer met Peter and is perfectly okay with Peter not being the Bachelor.) And he doesn't do sponsored content.
This whole persona is its own jab to Bachelor Nation — by being the non-Bachelor Nation Bachelor, Luyendyk is shaming all those who came before him and sold fit tea. But Bachelor Nation has jabs of its own. Tanner Tolbert, in a since-deleted post, joked on Monday that Luyendyk's season should have been called To Catch a Predator, seeing as Luyendyk is 36 and one of his frontrunning contestants is 22. Tolbert quickly backtracked on the joke, tweeting, "Just kidding with all the age jokes... @ariejr - I hope you find your wife this season... regardless of how old she is."
Tolbert, who is married to Bachelor alum Jade Roper, is a MVMT partner as well. He also sells Snuggle Me Organic, Care/Of, Rembrandt whitening toothbrushes, and Diff Eyewear.
Luyendyk's post — I sold a house! No more selling Fit Tea! — might be a response to Tolbert. Luyendyk may be 36, but at least he's not selling toothbrushes. (He's selling houses. It's very different.)
These little jokes point to a bigger issue in Bachelor Nation: It's a little confused right now. Bachelor Nation is sprawling, confusing, vicious, and — I can attest — very entertaining. But after the very public scandal that occurred during season four of Bachelor in Paradise, the Bachelor franchise needs to restructure. Instagram fame is increasingly profitable, which means the stakes of the show are even higher. Just ask The Rosé Girls. It's a media group formed by seven of the contestants kicked off of Luyendyk's season Monday night. According to its site, the Rosé Girls will be discussing "trending topics of resilience, love, empowerment, sex, and much more." I wonder if there will be whitening toothbrushes involved.
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