It’s almost inevitable during every season of The Bachelor: one contestant is set up to be the villain, and often, it’s someone for whom the man at the center of it all has particular affection. This year, Olivia Caridi, who received Ben Higgins’ first impression rose on night one, is ruffling the feathers of her fellow cast members. In a new preview of tonight’s episode posted by Carter Matt, Olivia is seen taking Ben away during a group date, leading him up to a hotel room, and waving to the other women from the balcony.
In an interview with Parade, Higgins revealed what drew him to Caridi, a news anchor and journalist based in Austin, Texas. Higgins said her willingness to leave her job was a big factor in his decision to give her the all-important first rose of the season.
“She is classy. She is confident. She spoke openly about what her desires were. She gave up a lot to be in this experience. She gave up her job. I thought it was really nice to hear her speak about what her intentions were, so I gave her the rose.”
When asked if he was happy with how things turned out — the entire Bachelor season has already been taped, so Higgins had to answer without revealing any spoilers — Ben said he was “generally happy” and noted “there are very few things in life that make [him] sad.”
Since The Bachelor has started airing, Caridi has been blogging on her personal website about things of importance to her. In a post dated January 14, 2016, she claims to have been bullied while growing up because of her weight. She chose fitness and nutrition but still claims to have lingering feelings of self-doubt.
“I still struggle to this day with body image. The bullies still bother me. But they’ve made me stronger, and they won’t be a part of my life forever. Someone’s opinion of you is not your reality unless you believe it. Words are powerless without your acknowledgment. Give no one but yourself the power to direct your path.”
Getting involved in journalism helped her find a greater sense of self-esteem and, as she puts it, “a thick skin.”
Notably, for a Bachelor contestant who causes a stir among the other women by repeatedly pulling Higgins aside for some private time, Caridi describes herself as an introvert. Her blog post from January 7 provided details of what being an introvert means to her, emphasizing it’s not the same as shyness.
“After being around people for a long time, we need to reenergize. We tend to prefer intellectual, deep conversations to small talk. We often feel alone in a crowd and we love to write. We prefer solitude, one-on-one conversations, and self-reflection.”
Perhaps ironically, Caridi said as part of her official ABC biography that the thing she most fears is “ending up alone.” That, and she prefers cold weather to hot because she likes to cuddle.
Higgins already received one blow this season, as L.B. refused to accept a rose last week. So far, his plot line has revolved around his admission that he feels “unlovable,” a statement that goes back to when he was a contender on Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season of The Bachelorette. The label might irk Higgins somewhat, as he took the time in a People blog post to clarify that “unlovable” was simply an insecurity and did not indicate he had no self-confidence.
The Bachelor airs Monday nights at 8 pm on ABC.
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