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Why it pays to be on 'The Bachelor'

Rachel Tesler

After the broken hearts, drunken tirades, steamy fantasy suite makeouts, and of course, synonymous roses, ABC’s 'The Bachelor' and 'The Bachelorette' contestants compete for love, for nothing. Participants have historically complained about the major expenses associated with participating on the show (hint: the number in well in the thousands), but now, thanks to social media, favorite "Bachelor" alumni also financially benefit.

In the hopes of finding love, these starry-eyed romantics, leave their jobs and lives behind to date a stranger on national television, while that person also dates no less than 24 other people.

Anyone familiar with the show, revels in the glamor and its well-quaffed participants, but that comes at a price. Many participants have spoken out about how they have gone into debt trying to keep up with the beauty demands of the show and suggested packing list, while subsequently being unemployed.

Many of "Bachelor’s" female participants conservatively estimate that they spent $1,800 on beauty-related expenses before filming even starts. Many more report they spent closer to $5,000 and as much as $8,000 for the personal trainer sessions and salon visits to get their hair just right. According to an E! Online survey, the men of the franchise spend about one-fourth of that to be on the show.

“I invested in lash extensions, a personal trainer five days a week for the eight weeks leading up to the show, dermaplaning — which I swear by — and a fresh head of blonde,” Jaclyn Swartz of Ben Flajnik’s season told Refinery 29. "I also waxed, brought way more makeup, and embraced makeup trends like contouring.”

Jillian Harris, who was rejected on Jason Mesnick’s season of The Bachelor before becoming season 5's Bachelorette, reportedly remortgaged her home so she would have enough money for the show. Others have emptied their 401(k).

The show does provide however contestants with sponsored swag bags to promote products on the show.

“It was full of bathing suits, OPI nail polishes, makeup, Kai products, Rich & Skinny jeans, Wildfox tees, and the Sultra Bombshell wand, which I still use to this day and am obsessed with,” said Swartz. “It creates the most perfect waves.”

If chosen as the Bachelor or the Bachelorette, the lucky lover can make on average around $100,000 and according to Insider, some leads can negotiate more; Season 8’s Emily Maynard was paid $250,000 for her season and her estimated net worth is now around $5 million from her various deals.

‘Bachelor’ and ‘Bachelorette’ rejects who appear on ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ are paid anywhere from $7,000-$15,000 per season.

There has been a growing trend that has both controversially motivated many recent contestants and angered franchise loyalists. Many leads and contestants cash in on post-show fame with popular talk show appearances, lucrative Instagram ads and sponsorships, and paid casting on other reality shows like "Dancing With the Stars."

Sarah Boyd, who represents several Bachelor influencers, to Refinery29 that posting an ad to more than a million followers can typically net someone $10,000. She says their relatability translates to sales.

Bachelor alumni have scored sponsorships from companies like FabFitFun, Olive Garden, and Dunkin Donuts. Notorious Bachelor Nick Viall was even in a Halo Top commercial.

Several Bachelor and Bachelorette alums have also created podcasts, profiting from ad spending. The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast with Ben Higgins and Ashley Iaconetti and Ashley’s singular podcast both focus on love and relationships, while Season 11's Bachelorette, Kaitlyn Bristowe features other celebrities and reality star interviews. Podcast revenue is dependent on the number of viewers, but Quora estimates "This American Life" makes at minimum $50,000 per episode, for example.

One of the show’s most famous alumna is Andi Dorfman, a former assistant district attorney, who went on to be a successful author with “If It’s Not Okay” and “Single State of Mind” has an estimated net worth of $300,000.

Active alum Ali Fedotowsky has even made a career from her failed "Bachelor" experiences, blossoming into a popular celebrity E! New journalist.

Perhaps the biggest earner of "The Bachelor" franchise is the series’ icon, Chris Harrison. Harrison has made a name for himself through his wry assessments of the larger-than-life characters and engages audiences by letting them know he too is along for the ride with us. Parent-company ABC has never disclosed his salary, but a TV Guide article from 2011, which was later taken down, reported Harrison made $60,000 per episode. Considering he has hosted 23 seasons of "The Bachelor", 14 seasons of "The Bachelorette", three seasons of "Bachelor Pad", and five seasons of "Bachelor in Paradise", with about 10 episodes each season, is roughly $27 million – without salary increases over the past decade.

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