Peter Kraus, the runner-up from Rachel Lindsay's season of The Bachelorette, is a reluctant Bachelor celebrity. This also makes him the most interesting, a catch-22 even he seems to be figuring out as he goes along.
One of the key characteristics of Bachelor contestants is that they unabashedly love the spotlight. Kraus, on the other hand, is spotlight-averse, or at least spotlight-wary. Though he's parried his Bachelorette fame into a rock star-style health and fitness career — he tells me he will coach over 1,000 people at a fitness event this summer — Kraus doesn't fall in line with the traditional Bachelor alum. He doesn't have a podcast. He doesn't live in Los Angeles. And, he still posts photos on his Instagram of people outside of Bachelor Nation*. He's not against the various business opportunities that emerge from The Bachelorette, as evidenced by his current partnership with Capital One, but he does want to practice moderation.
Speaking on the phone to Refinery29 Thursday, Kraus says his own personal business, Peter Kraus Fitness, is the priority.
"My focus on life is definitely my health and fitness career. It's focussing on my business, [and] enjoying the perks that life already has," he tells me. One such perk — the reason we're chatting on the phone — is this weekend. Kraus will attend the 2018 Men’s Final Four in San Antonio this weekend with Capital One. There, he'll meet fans, scoop ice cream, and, as he tells me excitedly, attend a Maroon 5 concert. Perks!
His reclusiveness makes him fascinating, though, which is why Bachelor Nation seems so anxious to get his attention. The contestant Bekah Martinez shared on Instagram that, in an effort to get on the show, she took photos of herself painting the words "Bekah + Peter" on a wall. Alas, Kraus was not the Bachelor, and he doesn't think he ever will be. During our conversation — which, yes, included some very helpful marathon training tips! — Kraus is insistent that he's not made for Bachelor Nation. Ahead, his thoughts on The Bachelor and Bekah M.'s infamous Bachelor audition photos.
Do you consider yourself a part of Bachelor Nation? Or are you grabbing your passport and heading for the border?
"I think I'll always be a part of it, just by association. I was on the show. I'm still friends with guys on the show. I still watch the show, I guess, from time to time. I check in on people that I know are still in the franchise. I think it'll always be a part of my life in some facet. And just not the focus of my life by any means. The summer after the show was crazy. There was always something going on. And it always pertained to the show in some way. So, it's kind of nice to set right myself a little bit, kinda go back to the life that I was living before, with just a little bit of a difference."
Did you watch The Bachelor this year?
"I watched two episodes. That was it. Not my cup of tea."
Had you watched the Bachelor before?
"I had not. I'd watched [Nick's] season, a couple episodes of that. Just to see who the girls were, knowing that I was probably going to be going on [The Bachelorette]. And then, I watched the first two episodes of The Bachelor this year just to see what it's like. See who those girls were, see what Arie was like. And then life came back up, and I didn't really have time on Mondays."
But why wasn't it your cup of tea?
"There's a lot of drama on that show. Being a part of it was one thing, but watching it back is not something that I enjoy, I guess. I'm a pretty drama-free guy. So, my life is all about health and fitness. It's about building your happiness and your own life, and if there's drama in my life, I try my best to remove it. Watching something like that was making me distressed, because I knew what those girls were going through. I knew what the situation was like. A lot of times, things are blown out of proportion. I was like, "I don't need to watch this. It's not something that's going to bring me happiness."
Do you still follow Bachelor news on Twitter?
"Follow? No. But I definitely still get updates because of the algorithm that is on Instagram and Twitter and all that.
So, I'm assuming you saw Bekah M.'s Bachelor application photos?
"I did see that because she tagged me in it."
And what are your thoughts on it?
"Ah, interesting to say the least. Bekah seems like a sweet girl. A very interesting character. I don't think she is — publicly, she is taking a shot at meeting me or getting to know me or making sure that I know who she is. But she's never reached out to me personally. I assume it's all just in good fun. It's like posting a 'Woman Crush Wednesday' type of thing. That person probably is never going to see it, and if they do, it's probably not to be taken too seriously."
A number of the women from Arie's season said they thought the Bachelor would be you. Or, they hoped it was you.
"I did hear that as well, yeah. It was never something that I wanted to do. While there was a lot of people out there saying that I should be the Bachelor, or that only I should be the Bachelor, it was not something that I saw for myself. If they went on the show to meet me, they seemed to get a good guy instead. I don't know."
Clearly, they took the wrong tactic, if they really wanted to date you.
[Laughs] "Probably not."
What do you think it takes to make a good Bachelor?
"Hm. Good question. I know Ben was an amazing Bachelor. I never saw his season, but listening to what people say, and then meeting Ben and talking to Ben on a friend level a fair amount, [I think] it must take a truly good guy, like down to your core, what you want to do is find love. At the end of the day, it has to be, you want to find love. It's not about, 'Hey, I need fame or attention.' Because that's not going to work for any relationship. Be ready for commitment. And whatever form that commitment may come in. I mean, for me, I was ready for commitment, but it didn't necessarily result in engagement for me. That person has to ready for that long-term relationship, and they have to be good with people, able to talk, able to express themselves, able to express their feelings. Not be afraid to hold back, but be very open and honest."
Are you worried you wouldn't make a good Bachelor or do you just not want to be the Bachelor?
"I just did not want to be the Bachelor. There's a lot of pressure. A lot of attention that I didn't necessarily want in my life. I already get plenty attention as it is, and that can be, at times, stressful to deal with. A lot of it is for the good! Definitely for the good. Right now, I'm able to travel the country and do these boot camps so people want to meet me and want to come do classes. And mostly, because of the show. There's a lot strings attached [and] the Bachelor was not something I wanted to do, personally."
Did you feel bad for Arie?
"Oh, yeah. Especially when the whole thing came out where people were calling him 'Not Peter.' I feel like the guy was kind of given an unfair chance. He didn't know he was going to be the Bachelor until just a few days beforehand. And all of a sudden, he's thrust into this world of instant celebrity. It had to have been difficult. And then, trying to decide who the girls were on the show, and if they're there for the right reasons. Making up your mind in 10 weeks, [asking] 'Is this the person I want to spend the rest of my life wife?' is not easy. It's extremely taxing, emotionally. And going through that had to have been very difficult for him. I mean, he flip-flopped with his decision there at the end there, so he was obviously struggling."
What did you think of that ending? I'm sure you heard about it.
"I felt kind of bad for him in what happened. I don't necessarily think he handled himself the best in the way that he went about it. But I do understand that, under those circumstances, your mind can probably change. Or you're uncertain. So I say to him, 'Do what you gotta do to be happy in the long run.' Just be careful that you're not a jerk while doing that."
Yes, that's always a good policy.
"Agreed. At the end of the day, you only have yourself, and hopefully one other person. So, if the whole nation hates you for your decision, it is what it is. I just wish [Arie and Lauren] happiness from here on out. I hope they work out."
I still think people would like to see you as the Bachelor! Would you ever do it? Be honest.
"My focus on life is definitely my health and fitness career. I think that's more of the thing I'm into right now. It's focussing on my business, enjoying the perks that life already has. And I think the Bachelor is a world I'm not ready to get back into."
What’s your phone background, if you don’t mind me asking?
"It's actually a stock photo of waves. It's nothing exciting. You know you get your stock photos that come with the phone? Yeah. If I have my phone on me, it's probably turned on because I'm usually going through emails or phone calls, or [I'm] working on setting something up. So I guess I never pay much attention to the picture that's on it. It should probably be Daisy."
Yes, it should be Daisy!
"Daisy is an acquired taste at times. I have a lot of love for my puppy, but at the same time she's a royal pain in the ass. Maybe I'm not ready to see her on my phone just yet."
Editor's Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.