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Culture > Entertainment

Carly Waddell Didn’t Meet Her Husband on ‘The Bachelor,’ But She Did Meet Her Best Friends

The Bachelor franchise comes with quite a set of misconceptions, particularly for someone such as myself who’s never seen an episode (don’t @ me). Are the contestants plotting against each other? Are they already friends, or enemies, before the cameras start rolling? Is their drama, or their kindness, faked for the cameras? Luckily, former contestant Carly Waddell took the time to set some of the record straight by chatting with Her Campus. Carly first appeared on season 19 of The Bachelor, then went on to participate in seasons two and three of Bachelor in Paradise, the latter of which she ultimately won; Carly met her husband, Evan Bass, on the third season.

While most contestants on the franchise don’t walk away with romantic relationships come the end of the season, plenty walk away with new friendships. Carly gained so many friends thanks to being on the show —even two of her bridesmaids being from The Bachelor. “I think your friendships just expand because The Bachelor world is so large,” she said. “For those that want to make friends, because some don’t, we’re all like one big family. People I never really met on the show (from different seasons or branches), we follow each other on social media and through there we’ll comment on each other’s stuff, and then we’ll meet in person and it feels like we’re already friends!” Here, Carly talks more about what friendships in Bachelor mansion are really like and lessons learned from the show (Spoiler: Evan is rooting for their daughter, Bella, to be The Bachelorette one day). 

The women in the house genuinely support one another.

FYI: Contestants don’t get to meet each other behind the scenes. Until they’re stepping out of the limo or down the Paradise staircase, they don’t know who else they’ll be spending the next indeterminate number of days or weeks with. But for those that Carly befriended, she said that they became friends from night one. “One of my first friends was Julia, who is actually engaged to my brother-in-law — she’s going to be my sister, which is insane — but I mean we were solid friends on night one.” She didn’t really feel like there were a lot of girls against each other, regardless of tension on the show feeling high at times. “I would high-five someone when they were going on a date because I was excited – like if Jade [Tolbert] was going on a date, I’d be so happy for her! Even if I wished it was my date, like you’re still happy that your friends are getting the same experience you get.”




Life is GOOD

A post shared by Carly Waddell (@carlywad) on



You might not find your soulmate, but you’ll likely find your best friend. 

Some friendships may not become permanent, but others do. For example, The Bachelor was a huge bonding experience for Carly and Jade Tolbert. They went from season 19 of The Bachelor to season two of Bachelor in Paradise together, and followed a similar storyline. “After Jade got engaged, I got engaged the next season. We both had kids around the same time, we both became moms at the same time, and we have a podcast together now, so we’ve been really bonded in friendship and momhood and business.” She never felt like there was any drama between she or Jade and Ashley Iaconetti, who was also on season 19 of The Bachelor and who she is still good friends with. “We just always supported each other, pretty much throughout everything.” That support, and others’ drama, was totally genuine according to Carly. “I just love how Ashley is. She’s always been totally herself, like she cries because she feels things.”

Getting rejected is actually kind of worth it. 

She became closer with Ashley while they were on Bachelor in Paradise, which Carly described as the rejects of The Bachelor/The Bachelorette dating each other since they didn’t get engaged. It sounds kind of sad when you put it that way, but it turned out pretty great for her. “I can be a reject for a while before the right one comes along. That’s okay with me,” she said.

You spend more time with someone on ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ than you do ‘The Bachelor’ or ‘The Bachelorette.’ 

There’s a big difference between the way that relationships form between The Bachelor/Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise. The time frame you get to spend with someone, whether a potential significant other or friend, isn’t even close. “Let’s say someone is watching The Bachelor and they see someone go on two or three one on one dates in the same season. On those dates, you’re really only spending maybe two or three hours together all day. But in Paradise, you’re with this person on the beach all day, so you’re spending twenty-four hours together.” So when people wonder how you can fall in love with someone that fast, it’s important to note that in Paradise, it’s easier to fall in love with someone and forge strong relationships when you’re sitting on the beach with them all day, every day. I mean, you can love somebody or hate somebody way more by being around them twenty-four hours.”

Living in the ‘Bachelor’ mansion was stressful, and, at times, boring.

Carly said that, as beautiful as it was, living in the Bachelor Mansion was actually pretty stressful. “I can talk and be an extrovert, but I’m an introvert in the fact that I fill up on my own time. Then I can go hang out with people, and there’s none of that. It’s very heightened emotionally all the time, but you really do open up and have good conversations with people that you probably wouldn’t have in real life.” When you have nothing else to do, how could you not? “We would hang by the pool, we painted our nails a lot, and you can always have a cocktail, even if it’s a mimosa during the day or a glass of wine at night. You can pick out your outfits for the next day, but there’s literally nothing to do but just hang and talk.” That’s because the team wants the contestants to be focused on what they’re doing, with no distractions. “In the world where we have phones and music or whatever, they want it to be just you, zoomed in on exactly where you are at all times. Which is cool, because it keeps you in the present moment, but it’s also slightly boring.”         

Now that her time on the shows has passed, one of things Carly is focusing on is her daughter, Bella, who just turned one. Carly plans to always be open and honest with her, including about her time on The Bachelor. “I’ll tell her it was a beautiful experience where I met her father. Evan always says, ‘Bella’s gonna be the Bachelorette one day!’ Like, Evan loves the show. I’m like, ‘You’re gonna be able to handle her on the show?’ You can have a million different storylines in a million different ways, but ultimately the show is about love. Eventually, I want Bella to fall in love, and have the same type of relationship that I do with Evan.”




She cuddled like this for approx 3 seconds….it was a wonderful 3 seconds ?

A post shared by Carly Waddell (@carlywad) on


In celebration of Bella’s first birthday last month, Carly released an album of lullabies, which includes her original Dream Train. She was always afraid of the dark growing up, as a lot of kids are. “I was trying to write something to encourage kids to go to sleep because then they’re going to have beautiful dreams. They’ll have fun in their dreams, so like, the sooner you go to sleep the sooner you get to have fun. So I wrote the song Dream Train about, you know, the train’ll pull into the station and you’ll board it, and then you’ll have fun all night long and then you’ll come back and I’ll be right here beside you just waiting for you to wake up.” Carly is hoping to teach kids that sleep, and the dark, is safe. “I love dreaming, and I wanted it to be the same thing. It’s just like a sweet song that I wrote to hopefully inspire Bella to be fearless in that.”

The other songs are ones that Carly grew up singing with her grandmother, mother and aunt. She was a musical theatre major, and we know at least one of her dream roles – Jenna, in Waitress. “I’m obsessed with it,” she said. “It’s such an acting role; it’s so heavy. I had no idea what it was about when I went the first time but as a new Mom, I obviously really love it. I’m such a fan of like anything Broadway, but Waitress especially. Since I’ve seen it I listen to it all the time. One day, I will play the role of Jenna. One day; I’m calling it now and putting it out there.”

Whether it’s on stage or in the audience, we might catch Carly at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre soon. “I’m like, Evan, can we go see Waitress again? Maybe Jade and I can plan a little New York jaunt; she loves it too.” We’re definitely rooting for the former — I’d kill to hear Carly sing Sara Bareilles’ score. 

Sammi is the Lifestyle Editor at HerCampus.com, assisting with content strategy across sections. She's been a member of Her Campus since her Social Media Manager and Senior Editor days at Her Campus at Siena, where she graduated with a degree in Biology of all things. She moonlights as an EMT, and in her free time, she can be found playing post-apocalyptic video games, organizing her unreasonably large lipstick collection, learning "All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor's Version) (From The Vault)" on her guitar, or planning her next trip to Broadway.