If you’ve been a member of Bachelor Nation for years, you may curious to know how much The Bachelor and The Bachelorette contestants make and get paid per episode or season. Let us explain.
The Bachelor premiered 2002, while The Bachelorette has been on TV 2003, which means that there have been hundreds of Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants over the years. As fans know, many contestants go on to have careers as Instagram influencers, podcast hosts and authors after their time in the Bachelor franchise—even if they don’t win or become the Bachelor or the Bachelorette. So even if a contestant doesn’t end up finding love, they don’t walk away with nothing.
Along with millions of Instagram followers waiting for them, the Bachelor and Bachelor contestants also have the opportunity to transform their careers into something different than what they were before. While some contestants return to their old jobs, many start new careers as reality TV personalities, which we’re sure pay more anyways. (Of course, this also depends on when a contestant was eliminated and if they were a fan favorite for their season, but still, even villains have been known to make a career out of Bachelor Nation.) But back to our original question: How much do Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants make on the show? Well, we did the research to find out.
How much do Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants get paid?
This may come as a surprise to fans, but Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants aren’t paid. Yup. The Bachelor and The Bachelorette contestants make nothing for their time on the ABC reality TV shows. Not only that, but contestants have to pay for their styling themselves (those rose ceremony suits and dresses aren’t cheap!), which is why many contestants walk away from their time on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette with serious debt. “I know that there are women in the past who cashed out their 401(k)s for the show,” Tv blogger Dana Weiss told Mic in 2016. “Some have gone into serious credit card debt.” This isn’t to mention Bachelor or Bachelorette contestants quit their job to appear on the reality TV series.
The leads of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, on the other hand, are paid. According to Reality Steve, recent leads make a minimum of $100,000, though there is a chance for that number to go up. (For example, season 8 Bachelorette Emily Maynard earned a reported $250,000 after negotiations with ABC.) However, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette weren’t always the cash cows they are now. In Amy Kaufman’s 2018 book, Bachelor Nation, reporter Amy Kauffman revealed that season 2 Bachelorette Meredith Phillips made only $10,000 for her time on reality TV. Welp.
How much do Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants spend?
So how much of an investment is The Bachelor or The Bachelorette? According to several reports, women on The Bachelor spend four times as much as men on The Bachelorette, which makes sense, given that many Bachelorette contestants wear the same suits (or share) and don’t spend as much on hair and makeup. (Step it up, dudes.) Women on The Bachelor, on the other hand, have been known for spend thousands.
“The girls do have to bring all of their own clothing and of course, they want to be wearing the best clothes EVER to be seen on TV in,” season 13 Bachelor contestant Jillian Harris wrote in a blog in 2016. “I had re-mortgaged my house and I spent something like $8,000 on clothing.”
On The Bachelor season 20, contestant Amanda Stanton claimed that competitor Olivia Caridi spent $40,000 on clothes for the show, though that number wasn’t confirmed. “[She] said she spent, like, $40,000 on clothes,” Amanda said.
In an essay for Glamour in 2018, Bekah Martinez, a contestant on The Bachelor season 22, said that she spent hundreds of dollars and ended up returning most of it after she was eliminated. “Spending money was a little scary because I basically quit my nanny job to go on the show,” she said. “I didn’t realize how difficult it would be coming back. I had six weeks of not working, and then on top of that I didn’t get paid at all for being on the show. Plus, I took out expenses in preparation and then had to pay rent and bills while I was gone. I was definitely pretty broke when I got home.”
Though many Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants’ expenses net out after their fame from the show and their careers as reality TV personalities, there still many contestants who are eliminated in night one or night two, who have maybe quit their jobs or spent thousands of dollars only to receive less than a couple minutes of air time. Long story short, the Bachelor franchise is an investment.
To get more of an inside scoop, check out Los Angeles Times writer Amy Kaufman’s book, Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure, for a deep dive into the Bachelor franchise. The book uncovers the secrets of Bachelor Nation, from how much the Bachelor and the Bachelorette are paid to the rules contestants have to follow, that producers don’t want fans to know. It’s a must-read for any Bachelor Nation member.
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