TV & Movies
These Bachelor Nation Experts Want To Save The Franchise
How To Win The Bachelor authors Chad Kultgen and Lizzy Pace are coaching contestants to get the show back on track.
If you’re one for Bachelor spoilers, you might have seen a particular doozy from Zach Shallcross’ season: that contestant Gabi Elnicki was reportedly spotted reading a book called How to Win The Bachelor at the Mansion. While it hasn’t been confirmed or denied — and, if true, it appears it won’t be discussed on the show now that the women have left the Mansion for international destinations — the idea that a contestant might be reading a manual on how to “win” a show that’s supposed to be about true love is still pretty salacious.
Chad Kultgen and Lizzy Pace, the book’s co-authors, are both flattered and amazed that their book has landed at the center of a rumor on longtime Bachelor spoilers blog Reality Steve. “A top-level player, potentially the winner of the season, was reading that manual as they were shooting?” Kultgen says. “That’s insane. And I think it’s just going to become commonplace now.” Since accusations of not being “here for the right reasons” still run rampant on any given season — and can easily spell doom for a contestant on the show — Pace jokes that contestants should be discreet when they consume their chosen reading material. “While we recommend reading it, we don’t recommend bringing it to set.”
Kultgen and Pace have created their own cottage industry in gamifying The Bachelor that began in 2019 — three years before they put their Bachelor Nation wisdom in book form. Their podcast, Game of Roses, treats the show like a professional sport, recapping each week's events and calling out the best plays (and biggest flops).
Their institutional knowledge of the franchise has even led to them coaching contestants on how to succeed on the show. While they won’t reveal the identities of any “players” they’ve worked with, their approach to coaching depends on the individual’s needs — whether they’re helping a contestant pick a compelling backstory to sway casting producers or offering some last-minute advice on making a memorable limo exit when filming the show’s premiere.
Below, Kultgen and Pace dive into the possibility of a second book, the difference between coaching men and women, and their tips for anyone who’s ever thought of going on their own journey to Bachelor Mansion.
Obviously, people can read How to Win The Bachelor for fun — but it also has a lot of practical advice for how to succeed on the show. Do you do outreach with the book to get it in potential players’ hands?
Chad Kultgen: Our publisher sent it to a handful of people we had contacts for. Any of the players I’m coaching, I give it to them. But at this point, the players that are coming to me to be coached are already studied in the game. It’s like any other professional sport — if you’re coaching somebody to be a pro baseball player, that starts somewhere in high school, where you start thinking seriously and try to get into a D1 college. But by that time, you obviously know the rules of the game. Whereas I’ve tried to coach guys a couple of times, and it’s like starting at ground zero. You have to explain to them that it’s a game: here’s the rules, and here’s the people you’re playing against, the producers are not going to be your friends. And the guys I’ve coached are more like, well, I’ll just go in and see what happens.
Would you ever do How to Win The Bachelorette?
Lizzy Pace: That’s definitely something we’ve talked about. We’d have to then binge-watch almost 20 seasons of The Bachelorette to get that data because it’s definitely a different game. But it does bother us that we have this knowledge gap, where we haven’t done as intense of a study into The Bachelorette.
What does the day-to-day process of coaching a Bachelor contestant look like?
Kultgen: I live in LA, so it depends on where they are. But generally speaking, it’s all over Zoom. Some players have come to me late in the casting process. In that case, it’s really comprehensive — twice a week, in some cases. So I’m putting in two to three hours per week, just going over routines, running scenarios, as well as building a very specific strategy — from limo exits to what you’re gonna say at the final rose ceremony. If you don’t want to be the winner, you’ll want to make it to the finals.
[Usually], it starts as the casting process is going on, to check in and say, which producers did you talk to? What did they talk to you about? How should you best position your PTC [personal tragedy card] in the form of an interview? As it gets closer to the season, it ramps up a little more, so there’s no stone left unturned.
Pace: The coaching doesn’t stop once they go in. Although you can’t technically be coaching them day-to-day on Zoom while they’re in the house, during the watch-back period, we’re trying to figure out what parasocial plays the trained players could do as well. So, it’s a 360-degree experience.
That would be social media, right?
Pace: Yeah, TikTok ideas, collaboration ideas, etc. You can theoretically make whatever you want. No matter how much screen time you get, there’s gonna be eyes on you for this short period of time, so it’s your time to debut your pristine, best content.
Is this a paid consulting situation?
Kultgen: I thought about doing contracts in the beginning, to get a piece of the player’s social media or something, but it seems to gum up the process. So I’m just doing it to ultimately have some piece of control in how the show is presented. For lack of a better phrase, it’s like I want to be a producer on the show, and this is the only way I can do that. They’re not going to hire me to come work on the show. I’m trying to steer some of this back on track, to make it as good as I think it can be.
After the chaotic year Bachelor Nation has had, is there an addendum or any new advice you’d like to give potential contestants?
Kultgen: A lot of players think they’re not playing the game until they walk out of the limo. This is not true. You are playing the game as soon as you think to yourself, I might want to apply to the show. Because now you have to get your Instagram correct. The producers are going to look at your Instagram and immediately say, this is our villain, this is our fool, this is our free spirit — whatever.
If you go into a season wanting one outcome, and it becomes clear the producers have different things in mind, you can bargain with them and say, “Look, I don’t want to be the villain. I know you’re clearly doing that. But I’ll do it in exchange for, say, first-round placement in Paradise.” And get this in writing. Contemporary players are very afraid of getting a villain edit, and you don’t have to be as long as you have fun with it. I think that can take you a long way. We haven’t seen that in a while. I’m hopeful that we’ll return to it.
Pace: We’re still not seeing the presence on TikTok that I would expect to be seeing out of the Gen Z players. That’s a place where you really can stand out because the field is still pretty sparse. We just had our first player, @victoria, who had almost a million TikTok followers coming into the game. She didn’t have much of an arc on the show, but she’s making extraordinary content parasocially. So she’s still staying in the conversation, and that’s really important.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.