This ‘Bachelor’ Contestant Reveals How Much She Really Spent on Clothes for the Reality TV Show

Contestants preparing to embark on a televised journey to find love are told to pack a wardrobe suited for eight weeks of filming and all kinds of weather — all at their own expense. From what we now know about The Bachelor franchise, it’s clear this reality TV show is no poor man’s game. Make it to finale night and you’ll likely catapult into celebrity status and get gifted an entirely new closet. Until that happens, most contestants are forced to fund their own way onto the show. Former Bachelor contestant Bekah Martinez says amassing a wardrobe in just 10 days is one of the costliest expenses of the show.

She revealed just how much money her reality TV wardrobe cost in an interview with Glamour. Money didn’t grow on trees for the full-time nanny living in Los Angeles, so she was forced to get creative. Here’s how much Bekah spent on her clothes and the thrifty ways she cut costs to avoid going broke like some previous contestants (page 8).

Shoes set you back

Bekah Martinez

Bekah Martinez | ABC

Before they can cash in on their mini-stardom post filming, the girls must fund their own stylish journey themselves. Bekah Martinez lists shoes as one of her biggest reality TV expenses because she needed a bunch of heels she didn’t have already.

In her words, “Shoes were a thing … I probably spent about $700 or $800 on that stuff, but when I got back to Los Angeles, I was so broke, I returned everything that still had tags on.”

Next: The list of freebies is alarmingly short

She got some things for free, but it wasn’t much

Bekah Martinez and Arie Luyendyk Jr.

Bekah Martinez and Arie Luyendyk Jr. on The Bachelor | ABC

The Bachelor producers are willing to provide contestants with a few freebies while on the show in exchange for a few ugly cries in the confessional. Food is always provided, but the franchise also supplied Bekah and her castmates with toiletry basics like face wash, face wipes, body lotion, shampoo, and conditioner for free. She was on her own for everything else.

And though phones, internet, music, or TV is not allowed during filming, Bekah revealed to Glamour that producers granted them access to phones only to order stuff on Amazon and have it shipped to their next location. A $50 jacket and a couple of $20 swimsuits were among Bekah’s spontaneous purchases.

Next: Keeping costs at bay requires strategy

Her wardrobe included a few promotional items

She recevied a few promotional items. | Bekah Martinez via Instagram

A newer trend in the franchise allows women to get creative in scoring the ultimate hookup. Refinery 29 says that countless women approach brands like Aidan Mattox, Show Me Your MuMu, and Adrianna Papell once they’re cast and beg for free outfits they promise advertise on the show.

This practice helps save money, but Bekah reportedly didn’t have that luxury. To keep costs low, she borrowed suits from friends who owned swimwear companies in Los Angeles and casual wear from others. Martinez nabbed most of her formal wear from sample dresses her nanny family scored by working in the fashion industry. The rest she pillaged from Nordstrom Rack. Of course, everything had to be returned to the showroom post-filming.

Next: The pressures of high-definition television

Forgoing make-up products is not an option

Contestants have to be constantly camera ready. | Bekah Martinez via Instagram

Beauty products were another hefty expense for the contestant who has openly struggled with acne problems in the past. Bekah stocked up on samples of foundation, sponges, mascara, and eyelashes — at five bucks a pop — assuming a spur-of-the-moment trip to the store wouldn’t be an option during the journey (it’s not).

Contestants are on their own for hair and make-up, but there are perks. They each get a gift bag full of branded products hoping for TV exposure. Bekah likely saved money on a few bikinis, jewelry, beauty products, and more.

Next: The biggest expense of all

Formal dresses would have left her broke

The Bachelor Cast

The Bachelor contestants in their gowns. | ABC

By and large, the biggest expense for most women are the extravagant dresses worn during rose ceremonies and cocktail hours. The wardrobe requirements are extensive. Martinez stuffed 12 dresses into her suitcase. Contestants like Sarah Herron who appeared on Sean Lowe’s season said she brought 25 dresses with her, while Bachelorette Andi Dorfman only packed one fancy cocktail dress during her first go-round as a contestant.

Bekah borrowed formal wear to save money but predicts other girls without the resources to borrow would easily spend a couple thousand on dresses alone. And you’ll need a Hail Mary prayer should the show’s stylist decide your wardrobe doesn’t cut it. They notoriously make the rounds before taping, approving each girl’s dress and often asking some to change.

Next: Additional roadblocks you’d never consider

Funding the show as an unemployed contestant

Bekah Martinez ABC

Contestants aren’t paid to be on the show. | Bekah Martinez via Instagram

The Bachelor contestants are not paid for their time filming the show, which is usually a two-month stint for the leading ladies. This means contestants must find a way to pay bills and postpone jobs while away — or in Martinez’s case, quitting their jobs entirely. Naturally, she was reluctant to spend money without any foreseeable income.

“I paid one of my monthly rents in advance, and then I gave my roommate the check to deposit if the second month came around and I wasn’t back,” she told Glamour. Her mom gained access to her email passwords and her landlord’s information in case of emergency.

Next: So how much did The Bachelor cost Bekah Martinez?

Bekah Martinez spent less than $1,000 on clothes

Bekah Martinez on a pattered carpet

Martinez said she likely spent less than the other contestants on her clothes. | Bekah Martinez via Instagram

“I spent less than a thousand for everything,” she divulges. Bekah believes her grand total is less than what most women spend to look good, even calling it atypical.

History tells us that’s exactly the case. As you’ll see next, there’s no shortage of unlucky contestants forced to spend a fortune for reality TV. “There were some women who packed a lot,” she says. “In fact, when we were leaving the mansion, some girls optioned to ship an extra bag or two home because they’d have to pay for the extra bag fees on the planes.”

Next: The other contestants that spent more than triple the amount Bekah did

Other contestants spent thousands on their wardrobe

Sarah Herron on The Bachelor

Sarah Herron spent around $5,000. | Sarah Herron via Instagram

E! News published a cost-by-cost breakdown of expenditures and found The Bachelor women spend four times as much on clothes than The Bachelor men. Luke Pell, a fan favorite from JoJo’s season, confessed that he had to purchase four to five new suits worth about $5,000.

Sarah Herron spent the same amount. She regrets her lavish purchases now, claiming that through her first experience, she “learned that self-confidence actually goes a lot further than a designer dress.” Other contestants famously cashed out their 401(k)s for the show. Early franchise contestant Jillian Harris remortgaged her house and spent close to $8,000 on clothing, though she expects that number is much higher for today’s ladies.

Follow Lauren on Twitter @la_hamer.

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