Who needs real-life dating when you can find love on reality TV? Groups of single women and eligible bachelors headed to ABC’s studios on the Upper West Side Thursday for the chance to appear on “The Bachelor.”
“I’m going to meet someone the natural way … or on ‘The Bachelor!’ " Danielle Bhachu, 24, who resides on the Lower East Side, said.
Bhachu and nearly 100 other women were spotted entering the annual casting call decked out in standard "Bachelor"-appropriate attire -- 5-inch heels, wedges, false lashes, long curls and low-cut, hip-hugging dresses. You know, your average weekday outfit.
“They’re all dressed as if they’re ready to kill,” said Rose Spiegel, 26, an Upper West Side native who showed up in sneakers and ripped jeans, hoping the casual look would help her stand out in what another hopeful called a "sea of blonde bimbos."
While the 2016 casting call resulted in a three-hour line stretching down 66th Street, Thursday’s event appeared to have a much smaller turnout, as scattered showers brought the ladies to an indoor waiting room instead. Was it the weather, or the fresh sting of scandal still tied to the franchise after last month's "allegations of misconduct" that led to an apparent decline in attendees? ABC declined to comment on exactly how many men and women auditioned.
“Bachelor” hopefuls spent an average of an hour filling out a six-page questionnaire before sitting down in front of producers for a five-minute video interview, which some said gave them first date vibes. The hard-hitting interview questions ranged from "what's your favorite drink?" to "describe your ideal mate in terms of physical attraction." Yep, nothing but the important stuff.
Women -- and a few men -- exited through the building’s turnstile doorway two-by-two every 15-minutes with red wristbands, each one more convinced than the last that their interview had the potential to be seriously life changing.
Louis Milillo, 31, from Rockland County, came with his mother — an avid watcher of the series — to audition for the role of the bachelor in hopes of “having some fun” and going “on great trips.”
The pillars outside of ABC studios became a hangout for the picture-perfect potential contestants who slowly began to show their true selves after the interview. To the ladies who slipped into flip flops and threw up their hair -- we see you.
The “Bachelor” franchise, now in its 21st season, has a loyal fan base ranging from teens to adults nearing 50, according to Nielsen. While novel tell-alls and the Lifetime's scripted series "UnReal" indicate that the reality show is anything but real, women in their 20s and 30s still opt to find love in front of millions. Why?
“It’s horrible dating in New York. It’s horrible dating anywhere, honestly,” said Sherrilee Charlemagne, 30, from Cypress Hills, Queens. “I’ve tried all the dating apps, so I’ll just try this. Why not? It can’t be worse than Tinder.” Charoemange and her friend Kaya Nelson, of Phoenix, Arizona, came to ABC together without realizing their audition opens the door for them to potentially date the same man.
“Oh, I didn’t think of it that way,” Nelson, 21, said. “I think I’d feel some type of way!”
Christine Abramo, 27, a digital advertiser from Gramercy Park who runs her own social media brand, agreed that the New York City dating scene has left her longing for another option. Calling her city dating experiences “interesting,” Abramo, who just ended a six-year relationship with a man she’d been with since her senior year in college, said it’s too hard to get a sense of who people really are on a dating app.
So, if online dating isn't working for you, why not try a reality show?
These women are so hopeful the ABC matchmakers can find their soulmates, they’re willing to put up with the 24-hour cameras and open to the idea of sharing their date with more than 20 other women.
"You might need a bit more of a backbone. I'm not gonna lie, one man to like a patrillion women, the ratio's not really in your favor," Spiegel said.
Marina Lidman, 29, from Coney Island, said sharing her man in front of millions is no different than what most likely goes on in real life.
“When you first start dating someone, he’s probably dating other people until it’s serious,” Lidman said. “At least here, you know who the other women are.”