Caleigh: We should probably start off by telling you why we drove 10 hours to audition for The Bachelor.
Kayla: I have secretly always wanted to apply; I’ve been watching the show since I was 14. My obsession became not-so-secret when I started hosting Monday night viewing parties for the show—which is where I begged Caleigh to come on this adventure with me.
C: She convinced me by suggesting we take a road trip to Chicago to audition, which was an immediate yes since I’ve always loved that city.
K: After countless bad dates and heartbreak, setups from friends and the occasional (but failed) meet cute moments, we figured that applying for a reality show was a good way to stop our friends from claiming we were single because we hadn’t “put ourselves out there enough.”
C: And being both terminally-single Bachelor fanatics, we had little to lose. The whole application process was not at all what I was expecting. First of all, there was . It was was intense; from details about our past dating history to whether we’ve declared bankruptcy, to what we look for in a man or if we had ever issued (or been issued) a restraining order. But being the procrastinator I am, I left it until just minutes before leaving for Chicago to complete all six pages. In my mind, I was less likely to second-guess my answers, or why I was applying for reality television…
K: I started filling it out weeks in advance. I perfected it with a friend over a bottle of wine the week before we left. (I even typed my application so I could include longer answers!) From witty remarks—like how my hidden talent is knowing all the words to Lil Mama’s “Lip Gloss”—to heartfelt declarations of wanting to find love, if I was going to apply for The Bachelor, I was going to do it right.
C: I guess it was more that I’ve always been a little reserved when asked to talk about my (lack of a) love life. You can’t help but feel a little vulnerable after having to put all of your hopes and heartbreaks on paper. But this was our one shot to give the producers a glimpse at who we really are.
K: At this point, we had no idea who the Bachelor was going to be. Like much of America, . He’s got that all-American good-guy vibe that is very charming and endearing. I never would have thought Nick could be Bachelor; I find him a little too smooth.
C: At this point, my ideal Bachelor would have been . I prefer a guy with more of a sensitive side and am looking for someone who is ready to settle down. The idea of Nick had never crossed my mind (the audition took place prior to his Bachelor in Paradise redemption tour).
K: Bachelor Day (or “B Day” as we called it) came way too quickly—like we-only-got-four-hours-of-sleep quickly—but luckily we had a tag-along friend who doubled as our makeup artist.
C: We’d like to say we woke up like this, but it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors.
K: They say you should dress for the audition like you would for a first date, so we both tried to look cute yet casual, which apparently meant neutral ensembles, lots of bronzer and long lashes.
C: The casting call was from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm at a hotel downtown. We aimed to be a bit early but…
K: ….someone (who wasn’t Caleigh) got us lost…Oops!
C: Nevertheless, our timing ended up working out perfectly. We were prepared to see a line around the block from the hotel, but instead we were sent to a conference room on the second floor that was only half full.
K: This was a huge relief. The majority of the women there fit the “casual but cute” category, in denim shorts and Converse or a casual cotton dress. And then there were some serious try-hards wearing stilettos that not only looked over-the-top, but were ready to topple over at any given moment. #NotCute
C: Like that white lace jumpsuit?
K: OMG THE JUMPSUIT!
C: Ya, that was overkill.
K: After scoping out the competition, we signed in at the check in desk and were each given applications and assigned a number.
C: One of the highlights of the whole process was when we received a coveted “The Bachelor” pen to fill out our paperwork.
K: Which we each promptly put in our purse. They don’t need those back, right? I figure if I’m not going home with a rose, I at LEAST deserve a pen.
C: Since our applications were already done, the next stop was headshots. Each girl was instructed to strike a pose while holding up a small whiteboard with her name and number on it.
K: You could easily pick out the teachers that way. Post photo-op, we waited in the conference room until our numbers were called, and were then separated into a few different holding areas for our on-camera interviews.
C: I was seated next to five or six other girls who came from all over the Midwest, from Chicago locals to road-trippers from neighbouring states, like Wisconsin. What surprised me most was how chatty they all were. They were eager to get to know each other, even for just those five minutes in line, asking about where the other came from and what brought them to apply for The Bachelor.
They complained about the boys in their hometowns and how this application was their last resort to find love.
It was only about 10 minutes before we went into another room for short on-camera interviews, where you’re asked a few questions from the application. We were only separated by thin partitions, so you could hear the low murmur of the other girls telling their stories, and one girl breaking out in song.
K: I’m still mad I wasn’t close enough to hear that.
And, within an hour, we were thanked for our time and sent on our way. I actually didn’t want to leave! It felt like a party and I was in the middle of making new friends.
C: We were now officially initiated into the sorority of single ladies. Including a fellow Canadian. It was so nice to bond with another girl who made the 10-hour trek to audition for The Bachelor.
K: We’re Instagram friends now.
C: Do you think you’ll apply again if you don’t get on this season?
K: Why not? This whole experience was actually empowering. Putting yourself out there like this does make you feel a bit exposed, but I learned more about myself through it. I don’t think I fully realized how some of my past experiences and relationships had affected me until I had to put pen to paper. Dare I say applying for The Bachelor is sort of therapeutic?
C: I know what you mean! In a situation where hundreds of girls are coming to the casting call searching for the same thing, you can’t help but feel a sense of solidarity. What stood out to me was not the desperation and vulnerability that you see on the show, but instead a group of women who have chosen to take charge of their love lives and go after what they want.
K: I found that so validating. There are plenty of others living the single-girl struggle.
Neither Caleigh nor Kayla appear on the current season of The Bachelor, but they’ll always have Chicago. Tune into The Bachelor Mondays on Omni at 8:00 EST/PST—and catch up on past episodes at .