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Pop CultureMay 22, 2017

‘Not enough food, no running water’: a NZ Bachelorette tells all about life in the mansion

Serious production issues – ‘not enough food, no running water’ – have been alleged by season two bachelorette Ceri McVinnie in a blog post we have republished with permission below. MediaWorks have been approached for comment, and we will update as soon as we receive a response.

The below is an updated and amended version of the original blog post published by Ceri, updated to feature excerpts from an interview with Ceri conducted by The Spinoff. Warner Brothers NZ, who produced the series, have provided a two line statement which we reproduce in full at the end.

I don’t really watch much television. And when I do, it’s usually not reality TV. But despite this, I found myself watching parts of The Bachelor NZ season one. Art was a total babe, (yes, I had a wee crush) and I became transfixed watching him find love with Matilda. It was like a modern day fairytale.


I wanted that fairytale, so when applications opened for season two, I jumped at my chance. I naively thought that I could find a potential Prince Charming, with the nation watching. Whoever they picked to be the Bachelor had to be an amazing guy, right? I had a definite idea of the kind of man I thought would be waiting for me when I got out of that Suzuki Swift.

Let’s just say my expectations were not met… Before the end of the first cocktail party, my wee bubble about how amazing and authentic my Bachelor experience was going to be had burst.

For nearly two months, I felt locked in a nightmare. When we weren’t on dates, we weren’t able to leave the house. I didn’t go on a date for three weeks, so just had to stay in the mansion. I did a lot of baking during the day because that’s my way of relieving stress. It’s probably a good thing I did, because there was never enough food in the house. Some days if I hadn’t had made muffins there wouldn’t have been lunch for all of us.

Our caterer didn’t seem to know how to feed 20 girls, so she told us we should just eat less. She would keep the food in her sleep-out and bring out our rations for the day. There would be three bananas for breakfast, the three girls would eat a banana each and then there was nothing for the rest of us.

We would often go hungry, so a few of us got in touch with our families back home to send food. It was like boarding school, we’d give them the MediaWorks address and they would send us through actual food parcels. I got my mum to send me a big jar of peanut butter, some pasta and other things I could cook for myself and eat.

The worst instance was after we had a roast chicken cooked for us. When we took the plastic wrap off it to make sandwiches, there were flies that had been trapped under it for who knows how long. Naz threw it out, and our chaperone picked it out of the rubbish, washed it in the sink and tried to feed it back to us. That was the very worst.

Eventually her contract finished, and we were able to go to the supermarket and buy food to cook for ourselves.

The mansion was also supplied by tank water, and in the first couple of days I was halfway through my shower – all lathered up – and the water just stopped. The crew had the day off the next day, so we told our chaperone but nobody fixed it for the entire following day. We were all stuck in the mansion with no running water. We did get bottled water to drink, but the toilets were completely destroyed because they couldn’t be flushed, and we were instructed to have a bath in the pool if we wanted to get clean.

It got fixed, and then we ran out again the next week. Turns out there were some selfish Bachelorettes who insisted on having hour-long showers.

For anyone who thinks The Bachelor is a luxurious experience: it’s not. When we were staying in Auckland it was like a dormitory with all the single beds lined up, and some of the girls had to share beds early on. There was a shortage of beds in Hawaii, so some of us were on airbeds and me and Shari shared a mattress of the floor. For two weeks. Not being able to get a good night’s sleep made us feel even more uncomfortable, more vulnerable, more tired.

The combination of all these things made me feel more like I was on Survivor, not a show where I could potentially find my soul mate. With such limited contact to the outside world, it’s easier for producers to mind f*ck you into thinking you have feelings for a guy that, in real life, let’s be honest, you would never have looked twice at.

I started to lose sight of myself and how I actually felt – I was an emotional wreck, crying for pretty much no reason and just wanting to go home but being told that I’d regret it if I left and that “you have a real connection.”

Deep down I knew from the first night there was nothing and never would be, but it took not receiving the rose and getting sent home, flooded with an overwhelming sense of relief, for me to actually admit this to myself. Not the fairytale I had hoped but there is a silver lining – I made some amazing friends. I have days were do I regret being on the show but then I think of the wonderful girls I now have my life, and know that it was worth it purely for the lifelong friendships made.

Anyway, onto the most recent season of the Bachelor NZ.  Kudos to Mediaworks for finding a much more genuine guy this time around. Zac gets nervous, he blushes when he talks to or kisses the girls, and actually seems to care about them – he seems a lot more human and real in his interactions and emotions. After the final last night, him and Viarni do seem to have potential for a real relationship but I guess time will tell.

Although Zac is an improvement, I’ve found season 3 a tad lacklustre and even a bit boring at times (and yes, it could possibly be because I was personally more invested while watching last season). Don’t get me wrong, this season has definitely had its moments and I love some of the girls (the ones I’ve met are all amazing) but it just seemed to be missing something.

I do really feel for the girls. I’ve been in their shoes and know it’s not easy. Editing can completely alter or take something you did or said out of context. Not to mention the emotional drain of being isolated from friends and family. It’s enough to make anyone start to appear crazy on screen. So although I may not have enjoyed this season as much, I have so much respect for all the girls for giving it a shot and putting themselves out there.

I really hope they had a better experience than I did.

Republished with permission from Ceri’s blog.

Statement from Warner Brothers NZ: “We are disappointed to only hear of Ceri’s concerns now, but do note she then went on to apply to be a participant on Season 3 of The Bachelor which is surprising given the allegations. Furthermore, she then put herself forward to be the Bachelorette should the programme be produced”.

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