Over the years, the Bachelor has given rise to many an on-screen villain. By now, it’s pretty formulaic: it’s typically someone who refuses to play by the rules, doesn’t care what anyone thinks, and isn’t afraid to stir the pot. But for perhaps the first time in Bachelor history, last season’s villain managed to upend her outsider status and walk away a fan favorite. That’s right, I’m talking about Corinne Olympios, a living example for why snap judgments (and reality TV) can so often be misguided. I think we all have to admit by now that there are plenty of reasons why everyone was so wrong about Corinne.
From the moment she stepped out of the limo, she was painted as an antagonist. She kissed Nick on the first night, took off her top on a group date, and had no qualms about stealing Nick away from other contestants for some coveted one-on-one time. But what at first came off as callousness was actually just confidence. Corinne never intentionally tore anyone else down. She simply put herself — and her relationship with Nick — first. And you have to respect a woman who knows who she is and what she wants, judgment be damned.
1. She Truly Cared About Nick
In early episodes, Corinne's audacious attitude seemed to peg her as someone more interested in chasing screen time than stealing Nick's heart. Her flagrant behavior was so fit for television that some questioned if, perhaps, it was manufactured that way. But, as the season wore on, it became clear that the only reason Corinne didn't give a damn was that she truly wanted to be with Nick. She always put him first — at times, even before herself — and, when he sent her home, she was genuinely heartbroken.
2. She Is A Driven Businesswoman
There was much said about Corinne's claim that she ran a multi-million dollar business, but any skeptics will have to take several seats. Though her exact role is unclear, Corinne does indeed work at her family's flooring company, and, according to People, is now starting her own clothing line.
3. She Wasn't "Slutty," She Was Sex-Positive
While pursuing Nick, Corinne often led with her sexuality, which the other women criticized her for. She asked Nick to lick whip cream off of her breasts, straddled him in a bouncy house as the other women looked on, and even ventured to his room for a late night rendezvous. But, forward as she was, there's nothing wrong with a woman embracing her sexuality. That's an important part of any relationship; Corinne just wasn't afraid to say so.
4. She Wasn't Aggressive, She Just Knew What She Wanted
Corinne's fellow contestants were quick to chastise her for things like frequently interrupting Nick's other conversations and borrowing more than her "fair share" of time. But Corinne's refusal to play by anyone's rules was actually quite empowering. She knew what she wanted and she went for it, no apologies required.
5. She's Emotionally Intelligent
One of the most talked about scenes to come from Nick's season was the showdown between Taylor and Corinne, in which Taylor told Corinne she may not have the "emotional intelligence" to marry a 36-year-old man. But when Nick sent Corinne packing several weeks later, she came to an impressively self-aware revelation: she was done putting men on a pedestal, so she made a vow to stop settling for less than what she's worth. Learning from your mistakes is an important mark of maturity, and, if you ask me, Corinne showed a hell of a lot of it.
6. She Was Never the Villain
When the season first started out, producers stuck Corinne with the infamous villain edit. She had made it exceedingly clear that she was there for Nick and Nick alone, and she didn't care who got in her way. The other women resented her straightforward approach, which fast made her the pariah. But, unlike other Bachelor villains, Corinne was not malicious. She didn't go out of her way to step on anyone's toes; she simply didn't look for them before she walked.
7. She Was 100 Percent Herself
All of those quotable one-liners may have made it seem like Corinne was simply playing it up for the cameras, but she insists everything viewers saw was 100 percent real, and, honestly, I believe her. “I love myself,” she told People. “I think being unapologetic and being myself is the best way to me. I wouldn’t change a thing about myself."
Corinne has always been wholly and unabashedly herself, and, whether you like her or not, she shouldn't be shamed for that. She should be celebrated. She's not a Bachelor villain. She's a Bachelor hero.