STD tests, interviews timed around women’s menstrual cycles, “Frankenbiting” editing. These are just some of the explosive behind-the-scenes secrets of “The Bachelor” that author Amy Kaufman uncovers in her new tell-all, Bachelor Nation.
“All contestants have to take STD tests and the most common reason that contestants are rejected is because they have herpes,” Kaufman tells ET Canada in a sit-down interview in Los Angeles.
Based on interviews with anonymous sources, former contestants, and franchise insiders, Bachelor Nation blows the lid off the show’s sordid secrets and the lengths producers go to to get the juiciest moments of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” on camera.
“Early on in the show, producers would track the menstrual cycles of various contestants, so that when they synced up in the house they would schedule the interviews around that so that they were particularly emotional,” investigative journalist Kaufman says of some of the franchise’s most memorable meltdowns.
Those emotions run high all under the watchful eye of the camera as contestants trade in phones and books and are forbidden from writing in journals. But there’s one thing they do have: constant access to an open bar.
“You’re really cut off from the outside world and then your producer becomes your confidante and so you start to say things that seem ridiculous to us,” she says, explaining the emotional state of the contestants. “Like when we watch people say, ‘I love you’ after four seconds or get proposed to. I don’t think they’re bullied into doing that but I think the environment creates a situation where that isn’t totally insane.”
The author says that some of those emotional outbursts and wacky-sounding claims have been highly edited in post-production to literally put words in contestants’ mouths.
“‘Frankenbiting’ is an editing tactic where you take a soundbite and alter it so that it has a different meaning,” she says. “A contestant might say, ‘I don’t see myself with Arie’ and, in fact, in editing they’ll take out the ‘I don’t’ part so it will just be “I see myself with Arie,’ and they’ll show you footage of a beach instead of seeing the person’s mouth move.”
The editing tactic is all part of the contract contestants sign when they agree to participate in the show, consenting to be “misrepresented” on “The Bachelor”.
“A lot of the producers I spoke to said contestants sign a very extensive contract. It says in it, ‘You are signing up to be embarrassed, to be misrepresented, you will have no privacy, if we film you naked we own the rights to that footage.'”
Kaufman spoke to former contestants of the series who told her they either didn’t fully grasp the ramifications of their contracts or thought curtailing their drinking would give them less opportunity to say anything “too crazy.”
“So many people I spoke to said, ‘I just won’t drink a lot, I won’t get wasted, I won’t say anything too crazy and I’ll come off fine!’ but you really cannot control the way you’re gonna be represented and edited,” she says.