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23 On-Set Secrets From "The Bachelor"

"You do get paid, but you get compensated according to what you make in the real world."

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It’s been seven months since we watched Ben Higgins propose to Lauren Bushnell on the season finale of The Bachelor. And if you’re wondering what they’ve been up to since, you’re in luck, because Ben and Lauren are back with a new show, Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?, which follows the couple as they adjust to the ups and downs of post-Bachelor life.

We recently got the chance to sit down with Ben and Lauren and get the scoop on what it's like to be a star or a contestant on The Bachelor. We asked all your burning questions, and Ben and Lauren did not disappoint!

2. The bachelor or bachelorette lets producers know what kind of contestants they're interested in.

BuzzFeed

Ben Higgins: As you're getting started as the bachelor, they ask you what kind of women you are interested in, what kind of things excite you about a woman, like activities and all that.

4. Contestants have to leave their jobs to be on the show...

BuzzFeed

Lauren Bushnell: [Being a flight attendant] is such a public job, and I was getting stopped everywhere. After we got engaged and we went on our little media tour and stuff, it was really hard to go back to work. I wanted to, but it just wasn’t realistic.

5. ...and they don't get paid.

BuzzFeed

BH: You make a big commitment to go [on the show]. Once fans really realize that, they understand just exactly what you give up to be a part of the show.

6. On the other hand, the bachelor/bachelorette is compensated according to what they made at their actual job.

BuzzFeed

BH: You don’t do The Bachelor to make money, I will say that. There are opportunities post-Bachelor sometimes, but as the bachelor they really just match whatever you’d be making in the real world during the months that it tapes. And then you have the experience that kind of pays for the rest.

7. For the most part, contestants are responsible for planning their own limo exit stunts on the first night.

BuzzFeed

LB: I was left alone for what to do out of the limo...like, I had no idea. Thankfully, I actually had pairs of wings in my bag, because as a flight attendant we always have those with us to give to kids.

BH: I think just like a lot of the show, the Bachelor experience producers will definitely give the insight when it’s needed. So when it comes to limo exits and you're like, “Do I just get out and say hi? Do I do a dance?" — which I would’ve loved to have been able to do — they would give their opinions, like, “Hey, this is a good idea. Hey, you might wanna think about not doing a dance.” That kind of thing. They don’t tell you what to do.

8. And the bachelor/bachelorette has a hand in the kinds of dates they get to go on.

BuzzFeed

BH: When it comes to dates, there’s a meeting with the bachelor like, “Hey, what kind of dates do you like? What activities do you like to do?" and they take my ideas. For example, if I was like, "I would love to go deep-sea fishing," they would’ve said, "OK, great." The Bachelor then takes that and puts us on like a million-dollar yacht that gives us all the nicest stuff.

9. The fantasy suite is actually a crucial date — and not just for the reason everyone assumes.

BuzzFeed

LB: It was so important, ’cause at that point you’re so ready for alone time. Like just together, no cameras, no other women, no one else around.

BH: It’s the first time that you can put your guard down in terms of just turning things off. Lauren and I sat in silence for the first time on our fantasy suite date. Having just even that night with her allowed me to see, like, I would just love to spend every night with her. I think there’s a stigma behind the fantasy suite date that’s sometimes correct, sometimes isn’t, but really that is an important date. It should be a week during The Bachelor that fans look at and say, there’s gonna be a lot that happens that can sway a decision.

10. Contestants do all their hair and makeup themselves.

BuzzFeed

LB: I picked up a lot of tips and tricks.

BH: When you’re on the cast side, you’re pretty much who you are outside of it. You get ready how you know to get ready.

11. And as one might assume, the ladies of The Bachelor take way longer to get ready than the men of The Bachelorette.

BuzzFeed

BH: Talking to the producers, I would be like, “When are we arriving to the house?” and they’re like, “Oh, the women are still getting ready." This is like three hours before the rose ceremony. And with The Bachelorette, as the guys in the house, we’d be getting ready like 20 minutes before. Put your suit on, shower, get going.

LB: Must be nice.

12. Conversations about serious things like faith and finances do happen, the viewers just don't see them.

BuzzFeed

BH: I would never have proposed to Lauren if our faith wasn’t talked about before our engagement. But I think I get it when I watch the show back. Yeah, it’d be great to have that shown, but as far as the overall storyline, the overall storyline is that we fell in love, and that’s a beautiful thing. And that’s what was shown. But yeah, those conversations are definitely had, but a lot later. Not had with every woman there. They usually take place a couple weeks down the road.

13. For the contestants, there's a lot of downtime during filming — especially in the beginning weeks.

BuzzFeed

LB: In the beginning when we were all in the mansion, there was...I felt like there was a lot of downtime. There’s so many women that not everyone’s on camera at all times. And also not everyone goes on a date. There’s so many girls there, and I remember the first week I didn’t get a date at all, so I was kind of hanging in the house, eating whatever I could get my hands on, and drinking.

14. And for the most part, the cast is confined to the mansion or hotel.

BuzzFeed

BH: I know when we were in New York, when I was on The Bachelorette, we went out. I don’t think anybody knew who we were yet, but as it got farther along, we had to stay in our rooms. But as the bachelor I saw a lot because I was out on a date every day doing some of the coolest things in any city. But I think there are moments, if you look back, you still get to travel.

15. They aren't allowed any technology to pass the time, either.

BuzzFeed

LB: I think a lot of the women get so close because there’s really not a whole lot else to do other than hang out, talk, and play games. It forces you to unplug, if you will.

16. The bachelor or bachelorette, on the other hand, doesn't have much downtime at all.

BuzzFeed

BH: As the bachelor, you don’t have any downtime. Ever. It’s a complete change. I remember the day after The Bachelor was done filming, Lauren and I were in Jamaica and I fell asleep with my head on her lap for four hours because I was so tired.

17. Contestants are provided with a packing list, since they're responsible for bringing their own clothes.

BuzzFeed

LB: I didn’t pack that well. I didn’t bring enough. Thankfully, I met some great people on the show who let me borrow their clothes.

BH: I invited some of my buddies’ wives and their friends over one night, and they just tore through my closet and picked out everything they thought would look good.

19. But the bachelor/bachelorette is spoiled with a stylist.

BuzzFeed

BH: Cary Fetman is the stylist for The Bachelor, and he really helped me out. He took my style that he saw from The Bachelorette and formed it into the bachelor. I would say that was a big benefit to being the bachelor.

20. Some contestants spend a lot of money preparing for their stay in the bachelor mansion, while others not so much.

BuzzFeed

LB: I just couldn’t justify it. Plus, I was living on a, like, very modest salary. I maybe spent $500 on dresses. I borrowed a few things from friends and then totally under-packed and had to borrow from people on the show.

BH: I know guys on my Bachelorette season who spent a lot on suits, ties, etc. And then there’s guys like me who own two suits and that’s what I brought, blue and black. Also, on a couple episodes I mixed the blue pants with the black top and vice versa.

21. Contestants do all their own cooking in the mansion and are provided with a stocked kitchen.

BuzzFeed

LB: In terms of actual meals, we had to cook for ourselves. There were a couple people who would cook for the whole house, like Shushanna cooked a lot. There’s actually a producer [Adam] on The Bachelor who’s a really good cook, and he enjoyed it so much that he’d just be hanging out in the house and he’d be cooking. He cooked a lot of bacon.

22. Which is why, apparently, many of them gain some weight.

BuzzFeed

BH: It happens to most people, and it happened to me. You start at the beginning and you’re in the best shape of your life because you found out you’re gonna be on The Bachelor/Bachelorette. And then towards the end you can look at the contestants and you’re like, “You’ve changed a bit.”

23. The contestants don't really see Chris Harrison too often, but when they do, he's in a robe drinking mimosas.

BuzzFeed

LB: I usually just saw Chris during the rose ceremonies.

BH: Chris is that confidant. He really is the role that you see on television. As the bachelor, it was nice — even at night sometimes — when it was getting really tough, for him to come over for a drink and sit down. We would talk about life, and who’s still there, and what I’m thinking.

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