Bekah M. Addressed 'The Bachelor' Obsession About Her Age In The Perfect Way

As the tired residents of Bachelor Nation know all too well, Arie Luyendyk, Jr.'s most recent stint as the reality dating franchise's eligible single was riddled with dramatics. And, in the aftermath of last week's two-part finale (billed as the franchise's "most dramatic ever"), Arie's former Bachelor contestants are recapping the controversy. Most recently, 22-year-old fan-favorite contender Bekah M. addressed the way her age was handled on The Bachelor and why everyone made such a big deal about it.

During a joint Q&A with Vulture (which Bekah M. shared with last season's second runner-up, Kendall Long, who is also her real-life BFF), published Saturday, March 10, the two former contestants discussed the way things really went down behind the scenes. Which, apparently — as both women reiterated during the interview — is pretty different from the way everything played out on-screen. For Bekah M., the fact that she was last season's youngest contestant seemed to give way to robust bouts of discussion regarding her emotional maturity, as well as her motives for being on the show. (Although, as Vulture noted in its report, she really wasn't that much younger than a handful of the other women, including Arie's eventual final pick, Lauren Burnham.)

Paul Hebert/ABC

"My personality can be misinterpreted," the former Bachelor contestant told Vulture, responding to an inquiry about whether she was surprised that her age became such flagrant point of controversy during the course of the season. According to the interview, Bekah M. continued, saying,

"Yeah, of course there are parts of me that are immature. Isn't that true with most people? There's always learning and growing to do. I know what I want, and I think my personality is mistaken for immaturity or not being ready for marriage. No, maybe it just means I have a different idea than what marriage means."

The "controversial" Bachelor finale saw Arie perform a now-notorious double-back on his final rose decision, a first in Bachelor history. But weeks before that, the season's main discussion came in the form of 22-year-old contender Bekah, who received a considerable amount of flak from fellow contestants and fans for her young age. So, despite her marked intellect and wise-beyond-her-years demeanor, fellow contestants, fans, and the show debated Bekah M.'s age and maturity, among other things.

Paul Hebert/ABC

But Kendall told Bekah M. during the Vulture Q&A:

Your age became an excuse to win arguments against you. You’re a strong personality and have strong opinions, and if someone is arguing with you they bring up age even if it’s irrelevant to the conversation, because it gives them that foothold in an argument. Everyone thought you were 30 when we first met you!

Kendall noted to Bekah M. during their interview with Vulture that her particularly strong personality and equally strong opinions are quite the formidable combo. As Vulture reported, Kendall continued, "If someone is arguing with you they bring up age even if it's irrelevant to the conversation, because it gives them that foothold in an argument."

From a viewer's perspective, the buzz over Bekah M.'s birth year during this most recent Bachelor run didn't seem totally unwarranted. After all, Arie is a full 14 years her senior. And, in keeping with the expectations of the show, each season generally ends with a marriage proposal. (Of course, this time, there were two.) So, while it wouldn't be unreasonable to question Bekah M.'s readiness for a lifelong commitment like marriage, the former contestant seems to think there was much more to it than veritable concern.

Paul Hebert/ABC

"I think they wanted me to be the villain at the beginning," Bekah M. told Vulture of the Bachelor franchise's producers. "There's actually a producer who’s known as the 'villain producer.' He works with those 'villains.' I started out working with him." Kendall echoed her claim, adding that Bekah M.'s outspokenness made her a perfect candidate for last season's "villain" spot. (Though, as most people who watched will probably agree, Bekah M.'s "villain" certainly took a backseat to Krystal Nielson.)

If Bekah M. interview is any indication, the old adage is true: Age really can just be a number.