What a difference decade makes. Ten years ago, Jason Mesnick and Molly Malaney were looking for love on The Bachelor. Mesnick, ABC’s 13th leading man in the rose-filled reality show, made headlines for his balcony cry — in Bachelor speak it’s still called “pulling a Mesnick” — and for a roller coaster season that ended with him giving his final rose to Melissa Rycroft.
But after a messy After the Final Rose reunion, Jason admitted that he still had feelings for his runner-up, Molly, and the rest is Bachelor history. Jason Mesnick also made history as the franchise’s first male lead to actually walk down the aisle after finding love on the show. The couple exchanged vows in a TV wedding on Feb. 27, 2010.
Ten years in, with a six-year-old daughter, Riley, and Ty, Jason’s teen son from his first marriage, Jason and Molly Mesnick are one of the most successful couples from The Bachelor franchise. But the Mesnicks don’t live a picture-perfect life and they don’t pretend to.
The Inquisitr recently spoke to Molly Mesnick about The Bachelor franchise and how she and Jason beat the odds. Molly also gave us the scoop on how she handles her family’s IRL moments now that they’re away from reality TV cameras. (Hint: It’s more real than any reality show.)
Victoria Miller: Molly, I know it’s been 10 years since you met Jason on The Bachelor. So are you watching this season of The Bachelorette and if so, what are your thoughts on this season with Hannah Brown?
Molly Mesnick: Well, I’ve been traveling the past two weeks, so I haven’t been able to start tuning in yet, but I will watch it and catch up for sure. But I did watch her on last season of The Bachelor, and I know she got a lot of flack from people for being a little quirky and interesting, but honestly, I think it’s refreshing because she just is who she is and she owns it and I think she’s going to be a great, great Bachelorette.
VM: Yeah, she’s different! Even though you haven’t seen this season yet, do you think the show has changed since you were on it? It seems like not everyone always goes on for the “right reasons” anymore.
MM: Yes, I think it has changed drastically since we were on the show, and I think the biggest factor in that is social media, honestly. There wasn’t any social media when we were on the show, so all of the focus was that, “Hey, maybe I’ll find someone I like, ” or, “Maybe this is a cool experience.” And now it kind of feels like… there’s a lot of people going on that become Instagram famous, so it’s kind of different reasons. So yeah, it’s a different show, but it’s still churning out relationships. So, there’s that.
VM: Yeah, that’s true. Kelly Ripa last week made headlines for blasting the whole concept of Bachelor-related shows. Do you feel like you were fighting the other women for Jason when he was The Bachelor?
MM: No, it didn’t feel like that. The thing about it is, when you sign up for the show, you know what kind of show you’re going on. You know you’re on The Bachelor where there are multiple women who are essentially competing for a guy. So it’s not like you’ve been put in this situation not knowing the parameters around it, the rules around it. Honestly, I just feel a little bit like there’s competition, but I think for most people, at least on my season, it was more just about the experience.
VM: Right. You should know what you’re getting into, obviously. So I have to ask you this: Before you and Jason got together, did you ever think or want to become The Bachelorette?
MM: Well, they had asked me. So after Jason had let me go and he chose Melissa, in that time period, there was probably a month and a half before he had changed his mind and asked for me back, they had asked me to do Bachelorette.
VM: Oh, really?
VM: Were you considering it?
MM: I was considering it. I had not given a firm yes yet, because I don’t know, for me, I consider myself to be pretty normal, and I wasn’t going on the show to become famous or anything like that, so it was a very interesting experience. It was fun, it was fine, it was cool, but I also had a lot of anxiety about being on camera and being filmed all the time. It’s just weird. It’s unnatural. I wasn’t sure I could handle being the lead and being on camera all the time.
VM: Yeah, as the lead, sure. Well, in the end, you and Jason became one of the biggest success stories from the whole franchise. So what are your secrets for your success in your marriage?
MM: It’s really simple. We just, we got out of Hollywood, we got out of L.A., we went back to our normal lives. Both of us went back to our jobs. We live in a great, suburban community, we raise our kids totally normal. It’s so funny because so many times people will come up to me, whether it’s at the grocery store or at the gym, wherever I am, and they’ll start talking to me and they’ll go, “Gosh, you’re so normal,” and it’s like, “Yes, we were on a TV show, but we’re real people.”
VM: That’s great. It’s a little early, but do you have any plans for your 10th wedding anniversary next year?
MM: We haven’t even started talking about it, no. I’m sure we’ll do something, but I have no idea.
VM: Well, you have a little time. So you mentioned social media earlier, and you guys were very lucky that when your season aired that wasn’t a big thing like it is today. But now a decade later, you and Jason have big social media followings. So do you feel pressure to appear a certain way to your social media followers?
MM: I think there always is that underlying pressure a bit, but kind of going back to my point earlier of how we’re regular, normal people, I like to be accessible, I like to be approachable, and yeah, I’ll do some Instagram ads and whatnot, but it’s only stuff that I actually use and actually love. I don’t want to ever come across as a phony.
I want to show people me and who I am, and honestly, it goes hand-in-hand with the Wet Ones campaign that we’re working on. Like, life isn’t perfect. There are messy moments, and when you show those to people, especially in the position we’re in, they like you more because you seem real.
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Riley is at the stage where she wants to do everything herself, buuuuttt we all know how that will end on burger night! So, when ketchup is on more than just her hamburger bun I can embrace her independence, grab a #WetOnes and still capture that great family shot. I’d love to see other mommas use #ConfessTheMess on their own social posts! #GetWetOnesClean #ad
VM: Right. Yes, you mentioned Wet Ones. So what is the project you’re working on with Wet Ones? Can you explain it?
MM: Well, I’m teaming up with them to just kind of show life’s messy moments. Like, for example, as a family, if we’re going down to the lake and getting ice cream, and we want to take a family photo while we’re there, Riley’s just spilled all this ice cream all over herself.
Well, I said this before, I have always carried Wet Ones hand wipes with me, before I even partnered with them on this campaign, because it’s just the only way to stay prepared in those moments where you’re not physically prepared. If there’s a mess, it’s no big deal. I’m not going to stress about it, but whip out these wipes, clean it up, and we can get on with our day.
VM: Yeah, I love Wet Ones, too, believe me. I always have them in my car. Are you going to post the photos on your Instagram or…?
MM: Yeah. Yep, I’ll post the photos on my Instagram and I’m going to kind of show people just the process of before, during, and after. Like, here’s this beautiful family photo we have, but what you don’t realize is moments before we just made a huge mess, and I had Wet Ones to kind of save the day. It’s almost like a mom’s security blanket, having these on hand, so you can clean up those messy moments. But it’s also just showing the world, I have this beautiful family photo, but it wasn’t perfect and it’s not perfect and that’s okay.
VM: I also noticed Riley has a thing for donuts.
MM: That’s so true!
VM: It’s so cute, all the photos Jason posts. So I guess she gets some messy fingers from donuts sometimes.
MM: Yes, exactly. He takes Donuts With Daddy every single Friday. It’s this cute little tradition they have.
Molly Mesnick hosts the Molly radio show on 106.1 Kiss FM in Seattle.