“Bachelorette” Star Says Current Contestants Are Bankrolled by Parents

  • Desiree Hartsock was “The Bachelorette” in 2013, but told Insider she wouldn’t do the show today. 
  • Hartsock believes she’d be “singled out for not having the right clothes, the right makeup, the right look.”
  • Recent “Bachelor” contestants have revealed spending up to $8,000 to appear on the franchise. 

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Desiree Hartsock remains one of the few lasting success stories from “The Bachelorette,” finding love with her winner, Chris Siegfried, on the show in 2013. 

But Hartsock told Insider that she wouldn’t go on “The Bachelor” today because of the pressure to look and dress a certain way to fit in with the other contestants. 

“If I was 24, 25 now and I was watching the show, I don’t think I would have gone at all,” she said. “Because you know that you would then be singled out for not having the right clothes, the right makeup, the right look — and that’s pretty unfortunate, to be honest.” 

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Hartsock with her winner Chris Siegfried in 2013.

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When Hartsock signed up for Sean Lowe’s season of “The Bachelor,” which aired in 2013, she was deep in credit card debt and couldn’t afford to buy a new dress for the very first night, an experience she describes in her memoir “The Road to Roses.” 

“Poverty had been the backdrop of my life for so long that it was like the air I breathed,” she writes in the book. 

Hartsock, who now works as a wedding-dress designer, describes packing all the clothes she owned — some sundresses and “work slacks from the sale section of Ross Dress For Less and Marshalls” — in one large duffel bag for the show. 

She also worked tirelessly to make her own evening dress for the first night, writing that she felt “like Cinderella getting ready to go to the ball — only without any seamstress mice and bird friends to help.” 

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Hartsock on Sean Lowe’s season of “The Bachelor” in 2013.

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Hartsock, who notes that nothing is provided to the show’s contestants, also describes buying $20 worth of drugstore makeup before making her way to the famous “Bachelor” mansion. 

The future “Bachelorette” star told Insider that she felt confident when she stepped out of the limo in her handmade dress to meet Lowe, even if it looked a little different from everyone else’s gowns. 

“I’ve always wanted to design dresses, and to have that opportunity to design my own was once in a lifetime,” she said. “It didn’t bother me when I stepped out and my dress was a little different, not as glam or sparkly. I still felt like me, and that was all that mattered.” 

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The contestants on Lowe’s season of “The Bachelor.”

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But Hartsock believes there’s been a shift in the authenticity of the show with the rise of social media and many Bachelor Nation alums now working as Instagram influencers — which is one of the reasons why she doesn’t think she could appear on the franchise today. 

“When you go on the show as a contestant, you don’t get paid,” she said. “And so a lot of times, that’s why you’re also seeing these girls who have money or they’re bankrolled by parents because they can take that amount of time off work — if they work at all. So you’re going to see people who can afford to be on the show.” 

Past contestants have been candid about how much they spent to appear on the series, with figures ranging everywhere from $1,800 to $8,000 in recent years. 

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Current “Bachelor” star Clayton Echard with his contestants.

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Daria Rose, who appeared on the most recent season of “The Bachelor,” revealed to Insider that she spent about $4,400 on dresses, shoes, makeup, and hair to meet Clayton Echard. She was eliminated on the first night of the show.

Hartsock believes one of the main reasons there are so few successful couples from the “Bachelor” franchise is that it can now bring so much “notoriety and fame.” 

“A relationship can’t last if one or both of them are seeking out that fame, because then it’s all about them,” she told Insider. “People aren’t there for the right reasons, to put it frankly. It’s too obvious that you can then become an influencer if that’s what you want to do, which is sad.”