So far, The Bachelor's Tia Booth has been raking in attention because she's BFFs with franchise favorite Raven Gates, but photos of Raven and Tia's friendship show their bond runs much deeper than a headline-grabbing gimmick. They've known each other for several years. That was long before Raven rose to fame as Nick Viall's runner-up.
Bachelor blogger Reality Steve first revealed the two were pals in his list of cast member descriptions. He speculated that because of their friendship, Tia likely won't be a "non-factor" and will make it pretty far with leading man Arie Luyendyk Jr. — which is a fair assumption, and one shared by a few fans, though it's impossible to say for sure this early on. A few months later, after the bios for this season's crop of contestants were officially unveiled, Raven confirmed the news herself. "I finally get to announce that I'm handing over my Bachelor baton to my BFF @tiarachel91!" she captioned a photo of the two together on Instagram before continuing with a few words of advice:
"Just always remember you're not as bad as what your worst critic says you are and you're not as great as what your biggest fan says you are. Find the balance, enjoy the ride. I'm always in your corner!"
Scroll back a little further through Raven's page and it doesn't take long to find more photos of her and Tia. In September, she posted a short clip of them "eating pops" with another friend:
Last year, she shared a few group snapshots of them out with the rest of their crew.
And as far back as 2013, she captioned a picture of Tia and another woman, "Surrounded by beautiful people!"
That appears to be the earliest image of the pair, though Raven's Instagram seems to have only been created in 2012, so it's unclear exactly how far back their friendship goes (Tia's page was created in 2011, but is set to private). In any regard, they certainly have a few years of friendship under their belt.
Neither of the women have revealed exactly how they met, but they both hail from Arkansas. Raven is from Hoxie, while Tia, a 26-year-old physical therapist, is from Weiner, about a 45-minute drive away. From the few glimpses of her viewers have been granted thus far, Tia seems to have the sweet, fun-loving Southern charm that helped Raven win over fans (and Nick Viall), so perhaps she'll similarly woo Arie. The race car driver-turned reality star needs a partner with at least a bit of an adventurous side, and it sounds like Tia fits the bill. When asked by ABC what the best trip she's ever been on was, she said a "random swingers resort" in Cancun, and in a first look promo for the new season, she explained that she knows how to have a good time even when there's not much to do. "Weiner is a very small town, it’s kinda limited on what you can do for fun," she said. "We kind of have to make our own fun... Shoot guns and go fishing."
She also seems to share Raven's romantic spirit. “My perfect ending for this experience is to find my perfect soulmate in Arie and ride off into the sunset in his race car," Tia continued in the clip.
With so little to go on, it's too early to tell whether or not Tia will win Arie's final rose, or if, like Raven, she'll find love in Paradise. Either way, it's clear she and Raven have a strong bond, and she seems like the perfect person to pick up where her friend left off.