The current bachelor: Prince Lorenzo Borghese
Eye of the Potato talked recently with Robyn Kass, casting director for The Bachelor about the search for the bachelor, criticisms of current bachelor Lorenzo Borghese, and why there hasn’t been a minority bachelor or bachelorette.
I’m sure you’ve read those criticisms about Lorenzo: his title isn’t really recognized anymore in Italy, he’s actually from New Jersey, he doesn’t really speak Italian. We’ve never hid anything about his background or his family. Even on the show, there’s numerous times he lets the girls know, ‘This is the background of my family.’ I don’t think we were every trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes; I think we’ve always been up front about his family and their titles and where he lives and what he does.
So you didn’t try to hide the fact that he was trying to learn some Italian before the show. You didn’t feel like it was this grand exposé. No, no. People like to make big things out of little things. I thought it was very sweet that he was trying to learn a little bit of it.
Most of the girls had already done the research: knew about the company, his background. We didn’t try to fool any of the women into thinking they were going to be living in, like, the Vatican.
Why hasn’t there been a minority bachelor or bachelorette? Will there ever be one? Yeah, sure. Again, I came in late, this is my second season, I don’t know the reasons. It might just have to do with timing and the people who apply and the people who we get and the people who are right all around. But I don’t see why there wouldn’t be.
How do you sift through applications for the bachelor? I know one can apply online. We actually do find a lot of good [potential bachelors] on the internet. The best people are not necessarily the ones who apply themselves, but somebody who nominates them. So it’s like the mother or the best friend or the sister sending us an application of their good-looking son or brother.
Has anyone ever been chosen as the bachelor based on an online nomination? Well, this is only my second season . . . we didn’t find Lorenzo [the current bachelor] that way. Actually, Lorenzo was nominated by a friend, but it was through phone calls. When we’re searching for “the guy,” it’s about a four-month process and we call and locate and network, like, every single company in the country.
What kinds of companies? It depends. My staff and I will sit around and say, ‘Okay, what are amazing jobs to have?’ We might start off and say, ‘Let’s try astronauts and pilots and lawyers and surgeons.’ And maybe even jobs that we don’t even know if we’ll be able to contact anyone. But we make a list of maybe 30, 40 different ideal cool jobs and then we start at the bottom four. And that means calling every law office in the country and talking to the receptionist and finding out if there are any good-looking, single guys in the office.
So you actually cold call these places? Yes. Usually the receptionists are really excited. Because so many people know the show, and it’s such a nice show. That’s why this show is so much easier to cast than other shows—there’s not a crazy twist. You get the receptionist on the phone, and she will give us the goods. ‘Absolutely, there’s a really good looking guy and he’s single! Everybody tries to set him up.” We contact newspapers, and—I’m just throwing astronauts out there, I don’t even think we’ve gone that route—we’ll find out different ways of talking to people at NASA. Do you ever go through dating services? There probably isn’t something you can think of in this world that we probably have not done. Dating sites are great, different athletic sites, magazines.
When we’re looking for “the guy”, there’s about five of us. When we start the search for the women [i.e., the contestants], my staff ramps up to about 15.
We travel around the country, go in bars, set up events, do radio promotions and newspapers. It’s all about letting the cities know we’re coming into town.
You guys seem to target a lot of family dynasties. I know Lorenzo is from the Borghese cosmetics empire, and then there is Andrew Firestone. Is it about tracking down the 100th Carnegie? It’s not like the network comes to us and is like, ‘You have to find someone who’s an heir to this or that.’ But we always want to have the guy that every girl wants to date. We’ll start off small, where we’ll literally call the people at Harrods Hotel, and be like, ‘Is there a daughter in the family? Is she single?’
So you’ll call up the Rockefeller Foundation. Absolutely. We have no fear over here. And if you saw our calling log, it’s of just about everywhere.
The calling log has got to be pretty funny. Honestly, we get nothing but great responses. It’s very rare we hit a wall.
Even if you’re calling a family foundation or investment-banking firm? Yeah, you think they would hang up on us. I’ve done a lot of reality shows, and a lot of them will get those responses.
So you don’t think it is hard to find the next bachelor that lives up to the fantasy? Oh, I think it’s really hard. It’s a long process, and we go through a lot of guys. I came in so many seasons into it, and they’d already had the Firestone and the football player and the actor.
How many do you end up choosing from at the end? Wow. I think at the beginning of the search, we talk to hundreds. We narrow it down, and there’s probably a pool of about 30 to 40 guys that we really get into.
Do you come across a lot of guys who live up to the fantasy but don’t want to participate in the show? Sure. It’s tough. And one thing we never want to do is talk someone into doing it.
That’s why you really don’t see bachelors who are 21 or 22. We want someone who’s lived a little, who has dated and had significant girlfriends. It’s a lot of interviews and a lot of conversations to get guys who are at the point in life where they’re ready to find someone and commit to it.
Do you have an open casting call? It’s usually just for the suitors, because the bachelor is soo specific. Although we’ve had places contact us, like maybe they have a single-guys auction at a company, and they might say, ‘Hey, there’s 20 guys we’re auctioning off, and maybe we can put them on tape and send them to you.’ And we love it when that happens and usually get really good people. There’s hot guys everywhere. Ha. Unfortunately, there’s none in my life, but there are for the show.
What do you look for in a suitor? One of the reasons we find the bachelor first is, we spend a lot of time talking to Lorenzo. After we end up choosing him, he and I spend a lot of time on the phone and I ask him his turn-ons, his turn-offs, and age range, jobs, schooling. He’ll sort of give me his list of ‘In an ideal world, this is what I would like, this is what I would like to stay away from.”
And this is confidential. Yes.
Whatever you would think they would say, Lorenzo was just really open-minded and excited about meeting girls.
A criticism of this show is that a lot of the couples don’t stay together. Why do you think that is? Do you think that these bachelors really are looking for someone to marry? Well, first of all, I’d like to say that Byron and Mary are getting married next month. And I will say that Charlie and Sarah are still living together. And Andrew and Jen, they were together for about a year. So people do criticize it and people do ask me that, but it’s like life. You find someone, people fall in love, and they date someone for a month or six months or a year or two years, and sometimes they break up and sometimes they stay together. And I think that The Bachelor is like life. People say, ‘You know, you put them in such extraordinary circumstances. How do you know they’re really in love?’ Well, then they get to live life together. We’ve had a lot of long relationships.
I think The Bachelor is better than my personal track record. If I wasn’t casting it, then I’d probably give it a shot.