Bachelorette contestant Ben Smith seems to become more of a fan favorite with each passing week. First, he won over a number of viewers when he was understanding and mature about Clare Crawley’s decision to exit the show early. (The bar is low enough that, unfortunately, this was actually very endearing.) Then, Bachelor Nation hearts broke when he got extremely sad about not receiving a group date rose. And on a more serious note, fans lauded him last week for opening up about overcoming a 15-year battle with bulimia and drawing attention to the oft-ignored issue of men struggling with eating disorders.
Personally, one of my favorite things about Ben is his presence on Instagram, which is as earnest and sensitive as his presence on the show. As a personal trainer, many of his posts are, naturally, shots at the gym. But his goofy, smiley selfies and captions full of hearts and comforting sentiments make up just as many of his posts, and they predate his time on The Bachelorette. “I’m thankful for you,” he wrote on Thanksgiving, with a photo of himself smiling. In an older post — shared during the first month of quarantine in March — he told his followers, “I’m fine. We’re fine. This is fine. Keep going bb.”
He also reshares many wholesome memes on his Instagram Story. But most notably, since this season of The Bachelorette picked up, he’s taken to providing followers with short videos that are half-pep talk, half-ASMR for the many people who would also like to be dating Ben. “It’s Saturday. Good morning. I love you a lot,” he says in one. In another: “If you could do something for me, I’d appreciate it a great deal. Be nicer to people today.”
Many Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants run Instagram accounts that are — or quickly become — pseudo-modeling portfolios and troves of spon-con, and just as his kind, gentle demeanor on the show is refreshing to watch, his wholesome digital footprint is a nice change of pace.
As we’ve seen this season, though, openness hasn’t always come naturally to Ben. After discussing his struggle to let his walls down with Tayshia, it’s only been all the more powerful to watch him embrace vulnerability. After legions of viewers thanked him for sharing his story last week, he responded with a thoughtful note. “I’m slowly realizing that being vulnerable is cool. I’m proud of you, immensely thankful for your support, and grateful to have you by my side,” he wrote. “Wherever you are, I see you, I’m with you, and I love you a lot… Keep going bb, we’re in this together.” In another note posted before episode 9, he also seemed to reference his own struggles and the importance of empathy towards others: "The world is better with you in it," he shared. "keep going bb."
According to his ABC bio, Ben hails from the Midwest but currently lives in Venice Beach, CA. A former Army Ranger, he left the military after sustaining a back injury, which led him to pursue his career as a trainer. Fans have become so attached that many are already campaigning in his comments section for him to become the next Bachelor if he doesn’t end up with Tayshia. Of course, this is a long shot, since it would have to happen in 2022, but no matter where he lands after The Bachelorette, I’m willing to bet his stream of soothing, pure-hearted content won’t slow down anytime soon.