Villain to Villain: Olivia Caridi Comes Clean on Her Bachelor Experience
Villain to Villain: Olivia Caridi Comes Clean on Her Bachelor Experience
It’s no surprise to anyone, but I know what it feels like to perhaps be the biggest villain in The Bachelor’s history.
In a word: brutal. If you read my book, you got a peek at what the aftermath looked like for me, and it wasn’t pretty. To be honest, there were some parts that were even darker than what I shined a light on, and I had to leave them out for a variety of reasons. Maybe someday I’ll share them, but for now, let’s talk about another villain: Olivia Caridi.
It happens every season, like clockwork: a brand new shiny villain is made, one that everyone loves to hate. Last season, it was Olivia who made Ben Higgins’ brood of babes go crazy.
It might be crazy to some of you, but I still enjoy watching The Bachelor. Despite how I was treated, and even though I know how it all works, I still find myself getting caught up in the hype.
And every season, I get a ton of tweets from people comparing me to the latest villain. Oh, and to those of you who hate-tweet me? I see those too. All I can say is: thank god we weren’t allowed to have Twitter accounts during my season! I don’t know what I would’ve done.
One girl who’s all too familiar with the hate-tweets and the villain treatment in the age of Twitter is Olivia, the news anchor who won Ben Higgins’ first impression rose and whose treatment really struck a chord with me.
Never in my life have I felt more compelled to reach out to a perfect stranger to offer my support. (Oh, and to those of you who sent me sweet messages of support when I needed them most? Thank you. You know who you are and I will never forget your kindness.)
Looking at Olivia, I see this beautiful girl who I thought was going to go all the way from night 1. Next thing I knew, there she was, sitting in the “hot seat” at the Women Tell All, getting ripped apart. It’s not a fun feeling at all — cringe-inducing, really.
I know people watching think, “this is what you signed up for!” And honestly? It is and it isn’t. This is not everyone’s experience on the show, so it’s not what everyone signed up for. Instead, it’s reserved for the “lucky” few who are cast, unbeknownst to them, as villains.
This might be a shock to you, but I personally did not know that I would be the villain of my season until well after filming had ended. Then, I had to face the immediate and harsh reality that thousands of perfect strangers — from teenagers in California to grandmothers in Nebraska — felt free to say the most hateful things about me that you could say about another human being.
So yes, even though contestants open ourselves up to public scrutiny by going on the show, we are still normal people, people with mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, and friends. And it’s these people who love us that are shattered when they see their girl go from the person they know to a newly minted villain, ready to be raked over the coals. Nothing can prepare you, or your family, for this type of experience.
Both during and after my season aired, ABC barred contestants from talking to the media AT ALL. Well, with one exception: while the season aired, girls who were sent home got on a conference call with ABC-approved media, and were allowed to take shots at me.
All I wanted to do was shout my side of the story all the way to The Matterhorn. But I bided my time, and was even inspired by the negativity to start writing my side of the story. I knew that when the time came I would get my shot at redemption, you know what they say, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
So let’s turn it over to another woman who was scorned: the brave and lovely Olivia Caridi, who was kind enough to speak with me to get her story told.
I’m going to start with the question I always get asked the most: Knowing what you know now, would you do the show again?
No, I wouldn’t do the show again. I grew up watching The Bachelor and I think I secretly always wondered what it would be like to be on the other side. Now that I know, I am confident in saying I would never involve myself in reality television again.
With that said, I don’t regret the experience. I can look at it with a journalistic eye and say that I’m now better educated about our culture and how reality television has changed society. I have a platform to talk about things that are important to me and I know I can use this experience for good things.
When did you first realize that you were going to be your season’s villain? Did you have any idea during filming?
I obviously knew during filming that I was struggling and that I might have a funky edit, but I wasn’t prepared to see things play out differently than they actually happened in order to make me more villainous.
It’s not like I walked into the experience thinking there was a possibility I could be a villain. I was a bit naïve in that sense, thinking that everything would play out the way it happened.
Q: What has been the hardest part of the aftermath of the show and how have you coped with it?
The hardest part was just dealing with depression in general. During and after the show, I felt like I was being wrongly judged by just about everyone, and that put me in a really dark place. But you could say the whole experience did break my heart, and I felt like I was at the lowest point in my life. I lost myself for a while there. The good thing is that I feel that people are starting to see the real me, and I’m optimistic that people will look past reality television and get to know Olivia in real life.
How did your family handle watching you be publically vilified?
The whole experience was really tough on my family. My sister is the strongest person I know and she would call me and cry all the time. It was the hardest on my mom. I’m her baby and my feelings are her feelings, and she cried all the time watching me cry. It was hard for her to watch her first born go through the worst time of her life.
You recently moved to New York — how are you liking the change? Are you blending in okay or do people stop you on the street?
I moved to New York City on my birthday (March 29th) and I love it so far! I was born here, some of my family lives here, and I’ve always wanted to move here. I was at a crossroads in my life after the show and decided to take a risk and move out here and it’s been incredible.
I get lost all the time, but I’m having a great time exploring new foods and meeting new people. I get stopped on the street often and I love meeting fans! Everyone has been so welcoming to me.
Have you started dating again? How has being on The Bachelor impacted your dating life?
When I first moved to New York, I joined some dating apps and immediately started getting messages saying, “I recognize you! I want to see your toes! You’re crazy!” I immediately deleted everything. But I recently met someone really special to me who didn’t watch the show and wants to get to know the real me, so I feel very lucky and I’m enjoying dating him in the real world.
Do you keep in touch with any of the girls?
Caila also lives in New York City, so we hang out and talk, along with Sharleen Joynt! I still talk to Leah and Rachel and Jami occasionally. I’ve really just tried to distance myself from the whole situation, though.
Did being on the show interfere with your broadcasting career?
I left my broadcasting career to do the show, so yeah, I stepped away from my former job to be on The Bachelor. But I don’t regret that, and it’s possible that there was a reason I stepped away.
Right now I’m exploring writing and modeling and I’m really enjoying it. I believe that everything happens for a reason, so maybe I was meant to be pulled away from broadcast television to find my true passion.
Have any former Bachelor guys tried to hit on you?
I’ve heard from a few former contestants, but nothing has panned out! It’s interesting to be a part of Bachelor Nation and it’s interesting to converse with people I grew up watching! But I really just want to meet someone the authentic way, who isn’t associated with the show.
What would you say if your sister or best friend or cousin wanted to go on the show? Would you tell them not to?
That’s tough. I’m a supportive sister and friend, so if someone I’m close to felt inclined to go on the show, I’d hesitantly support. I just want people to be prepared when they go into the experience and I’d love to educate people so they are emotionally prepared for reality television.
What is next for Olivia? I assume you were asked to be on Bachelor in Paradise?
I definitely won’t be making an appearance on Bachelor in Paradise. I’ll have a great time watching from the sidelines instead! Right now, I’m just looking to get comfortable in my new city, find a full time job, and give modeling a chance! I’m finally living in my dream city and I’m just so happy with where my life is at right now.
Is there anything you would like to say?
I just want to end this by begging viewers and America to think before being mean behind a screen.
I was severely cyber-bullied during this experience, and many of my castmates were as well. We are real people with real feelings and we see your comments. You are judging hours and hours of footage that’s been heavily edited to create a story line. I understand it’s entertaining to watch the show and live tweet funny jokes, and it’s okay to be playful. But death threats and crude names are not. Remember that.
Wise words from the beautiful Ms. Olivia Caridi. Be sure to follow her journey in her new life on social media: