Grab your popcorn and wine, it’s time to toast the return of The Bachelorette. The pop culture phenomenon is back at it on July 11 with not one, but two leading ladies. Season 19 will follow Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia, both alums of Clayton Echard’s turn on The Bachelor, as they set out to find love.
The franchise is known for its plot twists, but this actually isn’t the first time a Bachelorette season started with two women at the helm. Back in season 11, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson jockeyed to be The Bachelorette. Ultimately it was up to the contestants to decide which one would stay on, and they chose to keep Bristowe.
This go-round, Windey and Recchia are both here for the long haul. They have 32 fellas to choose from, and let’s just hope they don’t have their sights set on the same guy.
To get ready for this new journey, let’s get acquainted with some of The Bachelorette’s more surprising facts.
1. The Paycheck
Depending on the popularity of the show, reality TV players typically receive at least a modest stipend for offering up their lives to the cameras. In this case, only the bachelorette gets a paycheck to the tune of $100,000. Sorry, dudes. You’re only in it for love, social media fame, or, if you’re really lucky, an all-expenses paid vacation to appear on Bachelor in Paradise.
2. Seeing Double
The Bachelor has welcomed two sets of twins to compete on the show, but this will be the first time The Bachelorette sees a matching set of siblings. Twins Joey and Justin Young of Connecticut will try their best to sweep Windey and/or Recchia off their respective feet.
3. Put a Ring On It
Watching the menfolk go ring shopping, typically with celebrity jeweler Neil Lane guiding the way, is one of the most dazzling moments in any season. It’s well known that the guys don’t have to pay for the sparkler. However, if the engagement ends within two years of the finale episode, the ring must be returned. Sounds fair, right? Interesting to note that it’s estimated Bristowe’s engagement ring, chosen by then-fiance Shawn Booth, is the priciest in Bachelor history. That ring is believed to cost around $150,000.
4. Home Again
The Bachelorette’s 19th season brings production back home to the California mansion viewers know and love. It’s located just north of Los Angeles in the city of Agoura Hills. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some seasons had to switch it up. For example, Katie Thurston’s season was filmed at a luxury resort in New Mexico. Production did make an exception for former Bachelorette Emily Maynard long before COVID was a thing. Her season was filmed near her home in Charlotte, North Carolina so that she could be close to her young daughter.
5. Former Flames
Before Windey vied for Echard’s affections on The Bachelor, she already had ties to the franchise. The ICU nurse dated former Bachelorette contestant Dean Unglert in college. He appeared on Rachel Lindsey’s season, as well as Bachelor in Paradise.
6. Food For Thought
When a contestant is lucky enough to score a one-on-one date with the Bachelorette or Bachelor, it’s often accompanied by a romantic dinner. Sadly, though, that food rarely gets eaten. At least not by the cast. In his book For the Right Reasons: America's Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Love, Marriage, and Why Nice Guys Finish First, Sean Lowe reveals that production sent food to their rooms before any date so they could eat ahead of time. The reason? “No one looks good eating,” he says.
7. Hell’s Kitchen
On the topic of meals, the contestants essentially have to fend for themselves while living in the house. The kitchen is stocked with food and the contestants are allowed to request specific groceries. However, if they want a real meal, they have to make it themselves. We’re guessing that’s the point you hope to have a trained chef among the contestants.
8. Dress Code
The cast has to show up with their own clothes. In fact, it’s been said that the guys tend to swap suits for rose ceremonies on The Bachelorette because they are only allowed a maximum of three pieces of luggage for the two months of filming (same goes for The Bachelor).
9. Standing Room Only
Rose ceremonies take for-ev-er to film. We’re talking hours. This is because the cameras have to be moved around between each rose in order to get the necessary shots of recipients. This probably isn’t so bad for the dudes on The Bachelorette. But for The Bachelor contestants standing in heels for that long? Ouch.
10. Wedding Bells
If Recchia and/or Windey do make it to the altar with the guys who receive their final roses, ABC owns the exclusive rights to their wedding. So much for keeping it intimate! It’s believed that the couples receive $10,000 for every hour of televised wedding coverage.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.