Men have The Super Bowl and women have “The Bachelor” – ABC’s hit reality TV romance that follows 25 female contestants as they compete to find true love with one lucky man. Season 16 is the story of Ben Flajnik, Season 7 “Bachelorette” runner-up, who has been given a second chance at romance in the mansion. “The Bachelor” premiered on Jan. 2 and airs Monday nights on ABC.
No one knows the excitement of the first rose ceremony quite like Tenley Molzahn, an ABC alumni who was the runner-up in “The Bachelor” 14 with Jake Pavelka and “Bachelor Pad” 1. Molzahn is now an official San Diego resident along with longtime boyfriend Kiptyn Locke, also of ABC fame. From first reactions to season predictions and behind-the-scenes secrets, get the scoop on this season's high-drama reality obsession.
What was your first reaction to the new Bachelor season premiere with Ben Flajnik?
Being completely honest, the producers have taken this a little too far. Yes, it's television, and we all do love the drama, but they're choosing girls that will do ANYTHING it seems! It takes away from the idea that this could actually be a love story. I did spend the evening laughing and gasping- so it was good TV!
What little details did you notice during the premiere, that other viewers may not have caught?
Hmmm... I'm always keeping an eye out for a producer or two that I know to slip into frame, and if you watch closely you can catch a few of them! The other thing that stood out to me is that they haven't changed their "storyboard" for the evening. For example, they always go have the "First Impression" rose girl sitting in the same room and The Bachelor always gives her the rose in the same spot! Because I had received the first impression rose on my season, I may pay attention to this more than anybody else.
What’s with all the gimmicks?
On my season, I was surprised with the gimmicks. I don't know if they've always been there and they just haven't aired them until the last couple of seasons, or if producers started telling specific contestants to come with something clever for the first impression- stepping out of the limo and meeting The Bachelor or Bachelorette. I remember they had encouraged me to think of what I would say in that first moment that I would meet my Bachelor, but I would never have thought of bringing some of the clever things the girls on my season brought! I was impressed, but this season has blown me away! Bringing your Grandma, riding a horse, or using mouth spray and kissing the Bachelor in that first intro- all of these introductions were clever and memorable. But I do think it shows more of the production side, rather than the organic first moments where love could possibly be at the end of the road.
What do you remember most about the first night at the mansion?
From the very first moment of being in the limo with the other women I remember feeling intimidated, but super excited! As soon as I stepped out of the limo some moments became a blur. One of my favorite memories was jumping on the couches and starting a push up competition! Anything to keep myself awake and excited! I just wanted to take in every moment I had at the mansion, I thought that I would be going home that evening, so I wanted to make the most of it. The moment I received the first impression rose was an honor and almost unfathomable for me as I really thought I would be going home that night. The memories I have of that first rose ceremony were surprise of who stayed and went home, and how cold and tired I was! It was 5am or later as we were still wrapping up that first ceremony, you could even hear roosters and coyotes waking up with the sun. Crazy memories!
Who are your favorite women in the house so far?
As a viewer at home I feel overwhelmed with the gimmicks and all of the drama taking place the first night. I really pick out one girl that I like and want to root for- unless she gives me reason not to. This season, from the first night, my pick is Lindzi, a fellow First Impression rose holder. I like her because she has a sense of confidence, not in the ugly way. She seems to be excited to be there and have this experience. She's also from the NorthWest, which I am too, so I feel a tad connected to her.
Your advice on how to avoid the drama and focus on the man?
Such a great question. It takes willpower to not speak up when you really want to if someone is driving you nuts, but the best thing I did to avoid the drama was walk out of the room when it was entering. I love being a peacemaker or mediator, but the best thing for me while on The Bachelor was to just try to avoid the drama as much as possible. It is really hard to think of dating someone and see your new friends going off and dating him, so you just have to let it go. I really learned how to surrender any need for control or things going "my way" while I was on the show, because I had no control. I decided to enjoy every moment that was given to me, especially when I was with The Bachelor. If I wanted a chance at the real thing, I wanted him to know me so I didn't want to get caught up in all the drama and lose sight.
You may have not received the final rose, but it sure seems like you found true love. What’s the latest with you and Kiptyn?
Things always work out the way they are supposed to, don't they? :) I am so happy and yes, in love. I moved down to the San Diego area in August to be closer to Kiptyn, who I have been dating for a year and a half. We're having so much fun sharing our lives and just being "us".
What are your favorite romantic date ideas in San Diego?
A picnic on the beach with sun going down. Lots of blankets to stay warm, and maybe some champagne and gummy bears (my drink)! Kiptyn has pretty much done this one for me. I'd also love a day date in Balboa Park, then maybe head over to Vin de Syrah for some wine and apps- that sounds perfect!
In retrospect, do you think it’s possible to find true love on a reality TV show?
I think it can happen, as I believe love can happen ANYWHERE. But I think it happens when there are no expectations! Being The Bachelor or Bachelorette puts pressures and expectations on an engagement to be married. Building real friendships first always work best, in my opinion.
Do the women style their own outfits for every rose ceremony?
The women do their own, that means tons and tons of packing for anything! There is a stylist, Cary Fetman, he works with The Bachelor or Bachelorette, and I did get to work with him once during my season as he helps provide the last two girls or last two guys with their formal wear.
What dresses did you like the most from the season premiere?
Honestly, there weren't a whole lot of dresses that "wowed" me, but there were a few that I remembered and liked. I liked Kacey B.'s sequin cocktail dress because it was trendy, classy, and not too over the top. I think the dress she wore represented her well. I actually really loved Rachel's red sweetheart dress with the jewels around the waist (I think she was the first out of the limo). It was stunning, form flattering and again, not too over the top for the first night.
What new projects are you working on in 2012?
Currently I am the Editor-in-Chief of San Diego's Fashion 5.0 magazine, it's a ton of fun and I can't wait to see what is in store for the magazine this year. I am also working on a brand new website focusing on Gluten-Free Awareness and Lifestyle. It's something I've been dreaming up for a while so I cannot wait to set a launch date! I will also be traveling a bit this year as I get to use my dance background and be a guest judge at a few dance competitions. Kiptyn and I will also continue to be involved in some projects that are close to our hearts, I can't wait to get everything on the calendar, it's going to be a great year!
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Pictured: Tenley Molzahn photos courtesy of Boudoir Divas