Contestants on The Bachelor give up a lot to be on the show — their privacy, their time, the money they spend on all those rose ceremony gowns, and sometimes even their jobs. But when they leave their regular lives to move into the Bachelor mansion (and subsequent international locales), they also have to leave behind a few of the essentials. There are a lot of things that are banned in the Bachelor mansion, and it goes way beyond just leaving your iPhone at home.
It makes sense that the producers would enforce strict rules during filming to minimize leaks; although spoilers do get out every single season (thanks, Reality Steve), cutting the contestants off from the outside world helps keep them to a minimum. Keeping the contestants as free from distraction as possible is also part of the process. Think about it: how else can a person be expected to fall in love with a brand new human in a matter of weeks? This means that a surprising number of very normal travel accessories aren’t allowed on set, and as many past contestants have said themselves, that means things can get extremely boring in between group dates and cocktail parties.
Though ABC and Bachelor production teams have, of course, not officially commented on or confirmed their process, here's what past contestants have dished about the BTS rules:
Obviously, No Cell Phones
This one is the most expected, but knowing how attached so many of us are to social media and staying in close contact with our friends and family, giving up one's phone can often be the toughest rule to swallow.
“Phones and computers are taken away the day you get there,” former contestant Ashleigh Hunt, who you might remember from Jake Pavelka’s season, told The Ashley’s Reality Roundup. “We sit in the house or by the pool; it gets pretty boring. One day I ran laps around the outside of the house since there was not a gym.”
And Naturally, No Internet
Since computers and phones are banned, it’s not surprising at all that internet access is, too. In fact, JJ Lane, who was on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season of The Bachelorette, told Market Watch that he had to automate all his bills back home for the time he’d be gone filming the show and asked his parents to handle anything else that might come up.
To Round Out The Lack Of Outside World Info, No News
If contestants don’t have access to TV, internet, or their phones, it’s understandable that they’ve been cut off from what’s going on in the outside world, too. Even when the Pulse shooting happened in Orlando in 2016, former The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise contestant Daniel Maguire said the producers stayed low key about it.
“They didn’t sit us down, but one of the producers or handlers or assistants kind of briefly just mentioned it to some of the people,” Daniel told The Verge. “For the most part they’re not saying anything, they kind of want us to be isolated and not have any distractions.”
But Believe It Or Not, No Magazines Or Books
Although some contestants have said that they have been able to bring books in more recent seasons (Sean Lowe also talks about sneaking in a book on Emily Maynard's season in his tell-all book), that wasn’t always the case. Apparently, the rules are more lax now, but they are a bit... old fashioned, if recent accounts are to be believes. The only books contestants have definitely allowed to bring are religious texts: Leslie Hughes, who was on Sean Lowe’s season of The Bachelor, told The Daily Beast in 2013 that she was only allowed to keep her journal and her bible with her.
“We have nothing. We are completely cut off from the world,” Leslie said. “We have to talk to each other — we have nothing else to do.”
Even Harsher, No Music
According to what Bachelor Season 17's AshLee Frazier told The Verge, music has been forbidden from the set in the past, although some contestants have tried to sneak it in. Playing music out loud would be an issue for production, who'd have to license any music playing during a given stretch of footage they hope to use on television, but another recent contestant points out that music in headphones was allowed, as long as it didn't violate other parameters. Wells Adams, from Jojo's season of The Bachelorette, told the site that they were allowed to use MP3 players like an iPod shuffle as long as it wasn’t connected to the internet. At least it seems like there are loopholes when it comes to this particular rule.
Also, Somehow, No More Than Two Suitcases
Knowing that filming for The Bachelor could keep someone away from home for either days or months, depending on when they get eliminated — and that surprise trips in all kinds of climates are practically a given — it’s hard to pack for the show, and reportedly, there’s a limit on what they can bring.
Bekah Martinez, who competed on Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s season, told Glamour that she was only allowed to bring two suitcases with her, and contestants who broke that rule had to pay baggage fees when they left the Bachelor mansion for the travel portion of the season. Seems like it might be worth it to pack light... or just go ahead and pay the baggage fee.
Oh Yeah, And No Air Conditioning
It’s hard to tell just by watching the show, but it seems like The Bachelor is actually a pretty sweaty experience for everyone involved. As Ashley Spivey told Refinery 29 last year, the mansion gets stuffy as hell.
“There is no AC in the mansion, because of sound quality, and it was super-hot when we were there,” Ashley said. “Couple that with 25 girls using their blow dryers and hair tools and the production lighting, and I was a sweaty, greasy mess all of the time.”
Contestants sacrifice a lot to be on The Bachelor, but for many of them, it seems worth it to leave the show with lasting friendships, a huge social media following, and the chance to find true love. Maybe a couple of months of living like it's 1899 is a fair trade off?