Could beloved reality star Lily McManus be joining The Bachelorette NZ? Alex Casey assesses the evidence.
UPDATE 30/1/2020: After last night’s tease that a mysterious second woman will be joining The Bachelorette NZ, an eagle-eyed viewer sent in this compelling side-by-side knee tattoo comparison.
It’s a hard time to be a lover of reality romance in New Zealand. Love Island NZ has been put on ice as Three faces an uncertain future. Married at First Sight NZ also looks like it won’t be coming back which, after the number of times Jimmy said “slut” during the finale, is probably for the best. The only hope left for us doe-eyed dreamers is that The Bachelorette NZ – coming to TVNZ next year – will heal our broken hearts.
And reader, I’ve been handed a piping hot tip that would make cherubs cry – that Lily McManus is going to be the brave woman to step into The Bachelorette stilettos. That’s right, Lily with the Shooeys, Lily with the tattooed feet, Lily with the phenomenal soundbites. It’s an intriguing thought, it’s an exciting thought, it’s an extremely plausible thought. Please allow me to approach the Bachelor bench and assess the evidence.
Exhibit A: Rich history in reality TV
With this being TVNZ’s first local foray into The Bachelor franchise – and the first ever season of The Bachelorette NZ in history – the network is probably going to want it in a pair of safe hands. At just 23, Lily McManus has already appeared on The Bachelor NZ (runner-up to Viarni Bright who ended up runner-up to Erin Simpson), The Bachelor Winter Games (was the breakout star of the show, made a bizarre comedy pilot off the back of it) and Celebrity Treasure Island NZ (got eliminated due to poor cat-stacking).
She’s a seasoned pro and easily the most interesting person to ever appear in a Bachelor franchise (apart from maybe Rosie, who walked out on Art Green in episode one because she wanted to date a sniper). Back in 2017, when she first skateboarded onto our screens, I wrote this: “Lily was amazing, right from the moment she thought she was 17 years old (she’s 20) all the way until she took a big swig of Zac’s beer and barked Aussie slang at him.”
Also, New Zealand men are notoriously bad at letting down their walls, being an open book and wearing their hearts on their sleeves. And, two years down the track, it’s easy to forget just how melty Lily made Zac Franich back in season three of The Bachelor NZ. She wrote conversation starters up her thigh, she did that cool cross arm drink thing on the plane, she tore out a rude page from a magazine and gave it to Zac at the cocktail party.
Look, if anyone has enough hectic energy to date over 20 repressed New Zealand blokes at once, it’s Lily.
Exhibit B: She’s sublet her room
The Spinoff became aware that McManus has sublet her room until December 7, after a source contacted The Spinoff to tell them that she’s sublet her room until December 7. A month and a bit seems like more than enough time to find love among the fairy lights in my humble, honest, heartfelt, haunted opinion. It’s also possible that avid traveller Lily has just gone overseas for a while, but it becomes harder to believe when we assess the next piece of evidence.
Exhibit C: She’s gone dark on Instagram
With a hungry mob of 129,000 followers, it seems unusual that Lily, who normally posts at least once a week, has been quiet for well over two weeks. In her last post she talks about being concussed and trying to remember whether or not she likes crunchy peanut butter, which could also suggest she has maybe just forgotten her password.
Despite posting nothing herself, her last tagged photo was taken just today at Goose Boards in Auckland, where she appears to have made her own skateboard. A couple of things to note here: 1) sounds like an excellent one on one date for a notoriously keen skater and 2) check out how suspiciously well-lit this garage is?
I asked an anonymous expert if it looked like it was lit for filming, say, a reality TV show. “Yep I reckon,” they said. “But I’m not an expert.” CASE CLOSED.
Exhibit D: Recent haircut, your honour
I mean, who in their right MINDS gets a haircut at a fancy Ponsonby salon if not to prepare to date 20+ men at once? Absolutely nobody. No further questions AT THIS TIME.
Exhibit E: She has a greater purpose
Lily isn’t here, to borrow a phrase from Jordan Mauger, to fuck spiders. After competing for The National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing on Celebrity Treasure Island NZ, and being open about her own experience with hearing loss, she was recently announced as the national youth ambassador for the organisation. Knowing the platform that reality television can provide for an issue very close to her heart, I can’t see why Lily wouldn’t seize the opportunity to do it all again.
Exhibit F: TVNZ are playing coy
When contacted by our investigative entertainment unit, TVNZ had this to say: “At this stage TVNZ can’t confirm or deny who our Bachelorette is. Viewers will have to stay tuned to see who’s going to be handing out the roses next year on their fairy-tale journey for love.”
Exhibit G: And so is she…
McManus has not responded to The Spinoff’s inquiries, at which point The Spinoff would like to point to THIS piece of evidence from 2017, where a member from The Spinoff’s investigative entertainment unit contacted McManus after the finale of The Bachelor NZ S3. The Spinoff would argue that McManus’ characterising of the suggestion as coming from an “angel” means that she perceives going on The Bachelorette as part of her celestial destiny.