Contestants on ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’ Have No Contact With The Outside World

After all these years, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are still pretty mysterious. There’s a lot of secrecy around the show. According to former Bachelorette winner Jef Holm, if he were to break his confidentiality contract it’d cost him $5 million. That’s a lot of money for even a post-Bachelor influencer.

Colton Underwood's season of 'The Bachelor' | Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images
Colton Underwood’s season of ‘The Bachelor’ | Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images

But one of the not-so-secret aspects of the show is that contestants are completely cut off from the outside world upon entering the Bachelor Mansion. That means no phones, no internet, no magazines, and even no books.

What contestants are allowed to take in

“The only things I was allowed to keep were my journal and my Bible,” former contestant Leslie Hughes told The Daily Beast. “We have nothing. We are completely cut off from the world. We have to talk to each other—we have nothing else to do.”

According to former Bachelor contestant and Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky, the producers are hoping any and all downtime leads to gossiping about the season’s star.    

“A lot of people drink. If you are smart you don’t drink that much! I was in the middle,” she told A Drink With. “I remember there were times we’d start talking about something that wasn’t related to the bachelor, like where we worked and the producer would come in and say, ‘Come on guys, wouldn’t you rather talk about how hot Jake is?’ And we’d be like, ‘Really?!’ You’re always encouraged to talk about the bachelor. It almost felt like we were rewarded if we did. It’s a very strange situation.”

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Former contestant Molly Mesnick told The Ashley that the women got creative with their free time.

“There’s no workout room here, but there’s a hill in the back that girls would run up to exercise. You can’t watch TV, there’s no Internet, there are no magazines, none of that. You can’t talk to your families, you are totally cut off from the real world.”

She went on to say that the transition back into the real world was incredibly jarring.

“To transition from being totally cut off from the real world and putting totally immersed in the show, and then to go back to work and sitting at a cubicle at a computer a week later, that was hard.”

Why are contestants cut off from the rest of the world?

So why such a drastic rule? Being cut off from social media and the internet makes sense. If a contestant is openly hated or loved by America, the fan response could very much affect the Bachelor or Bachelorette’s opinion of that person.

But to be completely cut off from all family members and most forms of entertainment (books?!) seems more about psychological manipulation than staying focused on the journey.

Reality Steve told The Verge that no contact with the outside world leads to more on-camera meltdowns.

“They want their full focus 24/7 to be on the guy. Hence the reason you get so many meltdowns[.] You actually start believing you’re falling in love [with] someone you barely know. It’s essentially like Stockholm Syndrome.”

Contestants know what they’re getting themselves into when they sign their contracts, but it’s difficult to predict exactly how you’ll feel and act once completely shut off from everything you’re used to. But we guess that’s the point.

Read more: What Life Is Really Like At The Bachelor Mansion (Not So Glamorous)

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