• Sarah Ballan

Open Call: ABC's 'The Bachelor' Edition

I am a confident, sexy, funny, spunky, *single* 26 year old fitness queen living in the best city in the world - NEW YORK! I meet hundreds of new people every week through teaching group fitness at one of the top boutique studios in the country. Since I work most nights until 9pm I have found it difficult to date, but the scumbags I've been attracting (lately) seem to seep out of scrap bins on street corners. *Note: I mean no offense to many of you - not all of the guys I have met in recent years are trash, just a majority...and if I didn’t write a scathing article about something shady you did, this previous statement does not apply to you.* However, I have yet to find anyone worthy in the pile of NYC garbage. 

I thrive on connecting with people and have always been the life of the party. I am extremely loyal and have amazing friends, but I am missing a meaningful relationship and haven’t been with anyone seriously for years. I’ve been on countless dates with men, of different backgrounds, ranging from 25-45 years old, but I just haven’t met the right one. Sounds cliche AF, but it’s true.

I want to be with a man who challenges me to do better and to be the best version of me. If I were to genuinely connect to a guy - on TV, at a bar, on an app, wherever - I would be open to getting to know him better. I want nothing more than to be in a healthy, loving relationship, but I refuse to settle so until then I will remain single

The other week I decided to show up for an open call for ABC’s most popular franchise: ‘The Bachelor’. Hundreds of thousands of women (and men) nationwide apply - or audition - for the same role: to be a contestant on ‘The Bachelor’. I’ve been hooked on the show and been part of #bachelornation since college, a time when my sorority sisters and I would have viewing parties - deep fryer and all - in our own Bachelorette Mansion aka AXO atop of Lehigh University’s “Hill,” our Greek Row. We would look forward to those Monday night hangouts, and make brackets and predictions on who would make it to hometowns, or who would “win” a proposal at the finale. 

Why audition? Why not. I can talk to anyone in any situation and have zero issue putting myself out there. I would love to experience something new, meet cool people, and try to find a guy who is worth and worthy of my time. Being the Tasmanian Sarah Ballan ball of fire that I am, was, and always will be, I make for great TV, if I do say so myself. National level equals mass attention. Basic b*tch comment alert: I want to grow my following. For what, you may ask? For likes? For attention? No. I want to expand my platform. Become a celebrity trainer. I want to take my talents and opportunities to the next, national level. I want to prove to myself that I can make a difference in people’s lives on a larger scale than I do so now. I love watching my clients achieve their fitness goals and nothing would give me more pleasure than being able to do that.

By the time I arrived at the open call on 66th street (I got there at 5:45pm for a 6:00-9:00pm window), the line was already wrapped around the block. Some of the girls had been there since 3:00pm! I waited in line, soberly, to sign my life away in a series of personal questions and a finely printed packet of legal jargon. 

What on earth do you wear to a thing like this?! (To stand out, that is). I lost count of leopard midi skirts. Not shaming the leopard midis - I, too own one and love it, but the room looked like a jungle with all of that animal print. There were tons of white jeans/ cute, cleavage-y top combos and the overwhelming surplus of floral sundresses was Stepford wife-esque.

Everyone was in stilettos; I wore sneakers.

I wanted to be noticed. My outfit idea was pure genius (shoutout to my BFF, Robin). My best shot at actually being seen and showcasing what I do was to rock my brightest - and tightest - HOT PINK matching Alala set from Bandier. The perfect pair to brighten up a sweaty, summer evening and *hopefully* be picked by the producers, because isn’t that the goal? It’s a ‘reality  TV show’ and they are looking or roles to fill by hiring a cast of characters. I gave them my spin on Sporty spice. Pun intended. 

I read online somewhere that going to an open call is like going to an open bar. I thought ABC producers would provide alcohol to liquor up the people in line and scour the scene for potential media monsters. This was not the case. I did not pregame nor did I have a sip of alcohol. Some girls, however, planned ahead and were downing homemade mixed drinks.

One of the girls I chatted with while waiting grew up with Tyler, "the lead" on this current season, from home. Another one was friends with a few ABC employees. Do those girls have an advantage over me? Despite the hundreds - dare I say near thousands - of people that showed up, would either of my new line-friends have special treatment? So far it seems to be a crapshoot, but like everything else in today's world I'm sure there are ways to bend rules and strings to be pulled if you're in with the right people. Only time will tell...

After three hours of inching along a line (thank God for my Nikes!!!) and waiting in a cafeteria with bottles of Poland Spring waters and boxes of Dunkin' Donuts - an interesting choice of sponsor, I was mic’d up and put in a fold up chair. Five minutes prior to my taped interview I ate the first Boston Creme donut I have in years. I hope to god I didn’t have chocolate icing on my upper lip. 

The setup was as follows: several fold up chairs, the kind used at an outdoor BBQ, horrific fluorescent, standard high school cafeteria lights illuminating your imperfections, and one cameraman (or woman) per contestant. A dozen interviews were simultaneously conducted, each one of them shorter than the time it takes to recite the pledge of allegiance. 

I answered the questions, both written and verbal, with as much sass and witt as possible, but how do you stand out from a room overflowing with 20-somethings all going for the same spot? Getting picked for this type of performance is like winning a Golden Ticket to Wonka’s factory. 

“How old are you, where are you from, what’s your current relationship status, and why do you want to be on the Bachelor?”

Sixty seconds of short responses and I was booted from my chair and sent back into reality. Based on my borderline glow-in-the-dark outfit I see no reason why I wouldn’t be picked, but now comes the waiting game...

IF I get picked, will this be a good or bad career move? Would they make me the villain or the favorite: Scary Sarah or Sport, sweetheart Sarah?  Once you sign your life away the choice is no longer yours. My lawyer father most definitely would NOT approve of this situation, but truth be told I’m looking for a change. Based on my borderline glow-in-the-dark outfit I see no reason why I wouldn’t make it through the next rose-free round. 

In order to find fulfilment, you need to get out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there. Try something new! I didn’t meet any guys at this audition, but I met some cool single girls who I would like to see again and go out with in the city. Ironically, if chosen, we would all be competing for the same man, but it’s always refreshing to meet other singles who are ready to mingle.

What did I learn from this bizarre experience? If anything, I put myself out there. I went to an open call alone and came out with a few new friends who went through a similar process. Do I want a relationship? Not necessarily, but I am open and willing to find love. I do not participate in apps, although maybe I should start, since I have heard many a success story through friends who have found partners on platforms such as Hinge and Bumble. ABC producers: if you are reading this and decide not to choose me, I do not blame you. Although I thrive on competition, I’m not sure I would find a sister-wive style strife satisfying. After all,

The most important love I strive for is SELF LOVE.

Love yourself. Love what you do. Love waking up in the morning and having the privilege to live the life that you’re living. The most important love of your life is YOU.

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