On the evening of January 6, America’s TV-watchers said goodbye to a handful of young women who did not receive a rose from this year’s Bachelor of The Bachelor, Peter Weber.
These women stood outside the mansion they had hoped to call home and wept because their journey to find love, and grow their Instagram following by 10x, had come to an end.
“I thought we were meant to be together,” one of the women cried un-ironically, as others expressed their disappointment at having lost the opportunity to marry the man of their dreams and get a lifetime sponsorship from Flat Tummy Tea.
Among the dejected ladies that night was Jade,
a 26-year-old flight attendant from Mesa, Arizona.
Most viewers probably never learned Jade’s name and will soon forget she was on the show at all. Every girl in the Bachelor mansion is young and beautiful and has well-maintained brows, making them nearly indistinguishable from one another, especially that first night. Investing mental energy in learning names or becoming attached to any one person is foolish so early in the season. I, too, would not have paid any attention to Jade were it not for one line in her Bachelorette Biography:
She grew up in the Mormon culture where she says there was a lot of pressure to get married, and unfortunately for Jade, that’s what she did.
You have my attention now, show.
Jade is the latest Utah-adjacent (read: from Utah, has ties to Utah, Mormon) person to appear as a contestant on The Bachelor/Bachelorette. It's always stressful having these people on the show. Every time Utah shows up on someone's title card or someone says the word “Mormon," my stomach clenches and my heart races. “Oh no oh no oh no oh no,” I usually mutter under my breath while watching, because I feel personally responsible for whatever they say or do on camera. It’s like they are representing me personally. Like I accidentally elected them to some reality tv congress.
I’m not sure these people realize they serve as unofficial ambassadors of my state and my culture, but they should know that they have some responsibility to not make us look like complete morons. Sometimes they do okay. Sometimes they do not do okay. Sometimes they embarrass us so much we find ourselves yelling on the internet in all caps about how WE'RE NOT ALL LIKE THEM. And it’s time someone holds them accountable.
So I have compiled a Comprehensive History of Every Utahn and Utah-adjacent person to appear on The Bachelor/Bachelorette from Jake Pavelka’s season to the present, and ranked these people on how badly they embarrassed our great state on a scale from 1 to Jason Chaffetz, with 1 being they did us proud, and Jason Chaffetz being they embarrassed me as much as Jason Chaffetz did when he claimed people could afford healthcare if they didn’t buy iPhones.
Starting from Jake’s season because that’s the season I began watching (arguably the greatest season of all time, ending in the greatest breakup of all time). I have no idea which Utahns or Mormons, if any, were on the show before then, and as shocking as it may seem, I was unable to find a list of every contestant with details on their home state and or religion. There just is not a lot of documented academic research on this franchise. (Huge thank you to Mormons in Media, and every Bachelor watcher I contacted, for helping me remember everyone who belongs on this list)
Contestants who get a 1 on the Chaffetz scale, only because their time on the show was too short to do anything too embarrassing:
Briana appeared on Nick's season and honestly seemed too sweet for the surly bachelor.
Michelle Davis appeared on Chris Soule's season and was sent home the first night. I probably wouldn't remember her at all if we hadn't attended the same high school.
I do not remember anything about Mike, but his hair seems very un-Chaffetzy.
The Russian mathematician from Salt Lake City appeared on Ben Higgins’ season and only lasted 3 weeks. She appeared on two seasons of Bachelor In Paradise, but I don't remember that.
Contestants who gave us a little more air time and a little more to chew on:
Marikh the restauranteur appeared on Arie’s season, and became the center of a small controversy when, during a hike, she stopped to fix her makeup. Fixing your makeup on a normal hike might be ridiculous, sure, but fixing your makeup on a filmed hike that will be seen by millions of people feels pretty damn reasonable to me. Anyway, another contestant mocked Marikh for the touch up, and during The Women Tell All Marikh said she felt “glam-shamed.” Like, okay. What I wouldn’t give to be glam-shamed just once. But I have to give her props for taking a petty moment and making it her own while creating an iconic catch phrase.
Chaffetz Score: 2. Just because it's a little embarrassing to make yourself look exactly like Kim K every single day.
This one is tough.
Eric, a BYU grad and former Mormon, passed away in a Utah paragliding accident in the time between when he appeared on the show and when the show aired.
It was strange and sobering–in a way the show often is not–to watch a bright young man doing something as inconsequential as reality tv, knowing his life had ended just a few short months later. He had some conversations with Bachelorette Andi that seemed more genuine than most. He told her about his time traveling in the middle east, and explained his decision to leave the LDS church in a way that was nuanced and not accusatory. Things ended between Eric and Andi when he told her he felt the process of dating on reality tv was inauthentic and she took offense.
When Andi and the other men on the show learned of Eric’s passing, they gathered in Chris Harrison’s home and cried. It felt like authentic humanity in a show usually heavy on artifice.
Chaffetz Score: 0. He left a legacy of being a well-liked and interesting person.
Divorcee Maquel appeared on Arie’s season.
We first met Maquel photographing a wedding outside the Provo Temple, the most quintessential Utah thing one can do.
Maquel left the show for a few weeks when her grandfather passed away, returned, and then left for good around mid-season. But she made enough of an impact to amass a decent Instagram following, and at some point in her journey to influencerdom, she posed for a photoshoot outside the Provo house where I lived during my junior year at BYU. This is not a joke. I really lived in a pink house. We called it The Pink House. No wonder I became a writer.
Chaffetz Score: 8. Maquel did nothing of note on the actual show, but while the show aired, some Instagram posts surfaced of Maquel in brown face makeup with offensive hashtags. While she did apologize, it was too little too late.
Our Bachelor(ette) Icons:
Bachelorette Desiree was ready to choose the very handsome Salt Lake City native Brooks, when Brooks decided to end things with her right before the finale, in one of the most dramatic scenes in the show's history.
Prior to crumpling Des's heart and throwing it in the trash like a bad poem written by Chris Siegfried, Brooks showed Des the highlights of SLC, including Liberty Park, specifically the bridge where I nearly stepped on a sleeping man after feeding the ducks (frozen corn, not bread. I know the rules).
Brooks is still around town. The most common thing I hear about him is, “He goes to my gym.”
His Instagram feed is A LOT. He seems to fancy himself a model,
and world traveler, who describes entire countries as cities,
Chaffetz Score: 5. He was fine on the show, but his current wilding out on social media is a pretty tough look and he's still one of us and we have to live with the consequences of his misspelled captions.
Jef with one F Holm
Jef with one F Holm ended up winning Emily Maynard’s season, making the Utah skater boy and the Southern debutante one of the most mismatched couples to come out of the show.
When Emily picked Jef over Arie, Bachelor Nation was confused and upset. Arie and Emily had enough chemistry to blow up a high school lab. Jef and Emily had the chemistry of a rock dating a potato.
So no one was surprised when their relationship fell apart soon after the camera crew packed up, and reports broke that Emily had been sexting someone else while convincing Jef to stay in the relationship to look good in the media.
But, before the fall out, it was a thrill to see a hometown date to Saint George, even if Saint George was made to look like farm country in the middle of Hicksville where people shoot guns and drive pickup trucks all day. Jef explained his parents' absence by saying they were doing charity work. In reality they were serving an LDS mission. Everyone in Utah heard the coded language and rolled their eyes in unison.
After the show wrapped and before the roses hit the fan, Jef with one F and Emily were spotted at an LDS stake Center.
It was a big moment for my people.
Chaffetz Score: 2. Aside from using the term “bridle your passions” before the Fantasy Suite, he didn’t do anything too terrible.
Prior to appearing on Brad Womack’s second season of The Bachelor, Michelle Money had worked as a hairstylist, done some acting in church-ish films, and had an affair with a Jazz star forward. She was well-known in certain Utah circles, and her time on the show took her fame to a national level.
I'm not sure the term villain is completely fair when used to describe Michelle on Brad Womack's second season. She was more of the kooky comic relief in what would have otherwise been a very boring run. Everything she did and said was just a little weird, and some of the girls did not like her for it. More than anything it seemed like she was misunderstood. I think it’s because she’s so beautiful, and people have a hard time believing beautiful people can be weird.
One morning Michelle woke up with a black eye.
She claimed she punched herself in her sleep? Other women in the house speculated she punched herself for attention. We’re still not sure what actually happened. It was a lot of stuff like that with Michelle. She was messy, sure, but not outright villainous.
Michelle did not win her season, but she did make it far enough to become a Bachelor-watching household name, and later appeared on a couple seasons of Bachelor In Paradise. On her final BIP season she hooked up with Cody from Andi's season and told us too many details about their time in the Fantasy Suite.
Their relationship did not last but she's now with pro golfer Mike Weir.
Chaffetz Score: 3. I don’t think she embarrassed us all that much. If anything she made us laugh.
Bentley, Bentley, Bentley.
Bentley was the true villain of Ashley Herbert’s season of The Bachelorette. It wasn’t a bad edit. He was a bad person.
At the time the show aired, rumor had it that Michelle Money had warned Ashley about Bentley, based on information Bentley’s ex-wife had shared with her. Ashley really should have listened, because, well:
“I would literally rather be, like, swimming in pee than trying to plan my wedding with her. Because I'm not thinking like, omigosh, this is like the girl of my dreams. I'm thinking, like, she's not my type,” is something Bentley said. ON CAMERA. And so is, "I came in thinking that Ashley was not attractive at all. I'm not feeling it. ... I'm gonna make Ashley cry. I hope my hair looks OK." He also made reference to his "pickle" more than once.
While the nation reacted to Bentley with shock and horror, the feeling among Utah female viewers was one of familiarity. We all knew a Bentley. A guy who has beautiful women at his disposal. A guy who makes those women feel like trash. A guy who is willing to say terrible things about those women, and if called out will respond with “It was just a joke.” We were were embarrassed to have Bentleys in our lives.
Chaffetz Score: Full Chaffetz. No, Chaffetz plus. I will never forgive him for what he did to sully our good name. I’d rather watch a season of Jason Chaffetz as The Bachelor or Jason Chaffetz as all the contestants and the host and roses than relive Bentley’s time on the show.
Even with Bentley's horrific showing, we're looking at an average state Chaffetz score of 2.8.
There have to be states who have fared worse on my completely made up scale. I'm sure Florida is still grappling with Vienna's showing (as if they don't have enough problems), and the entire country of Venezuela has likely disowned Juan Pablo. Wherever Chad is from did the opposite of give him the keys to the city when he returned home from JoJo's season. It could be worse.
Of course, any of our Utah people could show up on BIP at any time and go full Chaffetz, or worse, full Bentley. Let's just pray they don't.
(Design: Josh Fowlke) (Editor: Rachel Swan)