Members of the Bloomington's Bachelor Nation united Friday to get the scoop from Blake Horstmann, a former “Bachelor” franchise contestant, at Alumni Hall.
Horstmann was runner-up of 28 contestants in the 2018 season of “The Bachelorette” and was invited again to shoot the sixth season of “Bachelor in Paradise," which aired in 2019. His visit drew an audience of 120.
“It’s so weird, making out in front of so many people,” Horstmann said. “But you kinda get used to it.”
During “The Bachelorette” Horstmann knew he was going to fall in love quickly with Becca Kufrin. Even though she chose Garrett Yrigoyen over Horstmann, after watching the season, Horstmann realized Kufrin and Yrigoyen were truly happy together.
While producers of the show do not give the contestants scripts or cues, Horstmann said they put rival contestants in a single shot to push them toward a confrontation.
“The producers are evil, but they’re very good at their jobs,” Horstmann said.
Audience members oohed and whispered to each other when Horstmann addressed tense and awkward moments on the show.
Horstmann said life during “Bachelor in Paradise” was miserable. It was constantly hot, the days felt repetitive and spiders and monkeys often scurried through their rooms, which were open-air. In the first week he slept a total of 12 hours.
“Paradise is another level of torture,” Horstmann said. “I literally wanted to walk into the ocean and keep walking.”
Unlike “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette,” contestants on “Bachelor in Paradise” are paid.
Piper Zola, an IU freshman studying biology, came to the event with two friends, hoping to hear behind-the-scenes secrets from a contestant who has struck a lot of controversy on the show.
“I thought he was a liar and a player, to put things nicely,” Zola said with a laugh. “I was not a fan.”
After seeing Horstmann interact with Union Board hosts and swing dance with an audience member, her opinion changed.
“I take back what I said earlier,” Zola said. “He’s really nice and funny.”
On the other hand, roommates Kelsie Jackson and Molly Roberts said Horstmann deserves more sympathy from viewers.
“See, he got a really bad rep, but I don’t think he’s a bad guy,” Jackson said.
“I think that people judge too quickly, and they need to get to know him personally before they can make an opinion,” Roberts said.
Now Horstmann is an Instagram influencer and uses his salary to travel across the country. He’s single and said he does not need world-class travel to connect with women.
“I don’t need to go to the Maldives and paddleboard,” Horstmann said. “I’m super lowkey.”