It all started with some butt-plumping cream.
Jessica Carroll hadn’t wanted to become a YouTube star, but when she posted a video that tested new Kylie Jenner-endorsed cream – which promised butt enlargement – her online presence grew almost overnight. Within two weeks, 3 million people had viewed her video to learn the results (spoiler alert: Carroll’s butt actually shrank).
But it wasn’t the first time in front of the camera for Carroll, a ‘13 television and broadcast journalism alumna who competed in this season of “The Bachelor.”
“I grew up interviewing my dolls,” Carroll told The Panther. “My goal is always to learn and grow through other people, but also to be that go-to girl where people feel like they can ask me anything and I will just give them my honest and raw opinion.”
Before her one-night stint on “The Bachelor,” when Arie Luyendyk sent her home during the first rose ceremony, Carroll navigated through entertainment journalism, working at E! News and Entertainment Tonight while at Chapman, and spending most of her career at L.A. Live and Hollyscoop. She now works at Home Shopping Network as a style and beauty expert, and just shot a Visa commercial for the Super Bowl.
On “The Bachelor,” Carroll is probably most well known as the woman whose father, who passed away from prostate cancer in 2012, had met Luyendyk years earlier. Now, she travels the world with her mom to encourage entrepreneurs “to treat their health like they treat their business.”
Q: How did Chapman set you up for success?
A: I chose Chapman because I didn’t want to just be a number in a classroom. I got to know my professors. We would grab coffee and I would ask them questions. To feel like an actual student and not just a number in a classroom, that’s why I loved Chapman.
Because I had been around such a sisterhood at Chapman with Alpha Phi, I felt confident (during “The Bachelor”) staying in a mansion with 30 other girls who are competing for the same guy. I wanted to be the girl who would help the girl get ready for her date or let her borrow my clothes. Being part of a sisterhood and a sorority prepared me for that. I wanted to be a sister to these girls and not a villain.
Q: How did you get into “The Bachelor”?
A: I was dating an amazing guy for three and a half years. We just kind of had different visions for the future and so we separated. I was in this transition phase. Next thing I know, I get a call from my manager in late August and he was like, ‘Would you ever be interested in doing “The Bachelor?”’ And I was like, ‘I’m looking for a change … Sure, let’s do it. I’m single, I’ve been so focused on my career for so many years, maybe it’s time for me to focus on love.’
Q: What did they ask you during the interview process?
A: I can’t really reveal that because I signed a contract. But I think that my casting process was different because a lot of the girls had known that they had gotten cast since March, and I found out in September. I knew 10 days before I had to pack up my bags and leave for two months. I had to contact all my bosses, but of course I signed this contract, so I can’t tell anyone. I just told my mom and my brother. Obviously I had to tell my mom, and I just wanted my brother to know that I wasn’t going to go missing like that Bekah (Martinez) girl.
Q: Tell me a little more about the other girls who didn’t get a rose that first night.
A: We’ve created this platform called the Rosé Girls. I went in looking for one kind of love, and I left with a friendship of love. We talk every day, all day long. Our group chat is lit. If anyone is feeling down, these girls will be like, ‘No, you’re gorgeous,’ or ‘Maybe just change the top and keep the shoes.’ We do a podcast on Sundays, and on Wednesdays, I do a sit-down interview with another inspirational guest and we just talk about how they overcame a challenge, whether it was a heartbreak or a business challenge. And then we cheers with rosé and they talk about how they grew from it.
Q: Is there anything you wish you had or hadn’t done during your night on “The Bachelor”?
A: Going into it, I was not going to open up that much on the first night (and talk about my dad). I went into it thinking that I was going to get a rose, many roses, to be honest. He made me feel comfortable and so I was like, ‘I’m just gonna open up and tell him.’ I don’t know if maybe I was more of my spunky, spontaneous, quirky self, maybe I would have gotten a rose. But I really think that everything happens for a reason, and the opportunity (allowed me) to meet the Rosé Girls and check the box on the whole reality show thing.
Q: Do you think that you and Arie would have had a connection if you had stayed?
A: Watching the season unfold, I am just happy I got out when I did. You’re in this environment when your only focus is this one man. Your goal is to make him happy. It’s a game. But now, looking back, I’m not sure if we would have even really connected. Going into it, the reason why I knew it was a sign was because my dad had met Arie before. (Arie is) a very simple man and I kind of like someone with a little more spunk. I normally go for the bad boys.
Q: Why do you think he sent you home?
A: Maybe it was too much too soon. Maybe he thought, ‘This is someone who is still daddy’s little girl and is still sad over the loss of her father.’ I am the person I am today because of my father and I do talk about him a lot. I just think that, when I first meet people, maybe that shouldn’t be the first conversation. I should just let them get to know me and then reveal it.
I was nervous for the first episode to air because I didn’t know how they were going to paint me. You are filmed the whole night long and it was the longest night of my life. I got there at around 8 or 9 p.m. and I didn’t leave until 8 or 9 the next morning. And then the girls who left, we all got on a bus, and then we got stuck in LA traffic. I just wanted to get out of there. But I was happy that (the producers) shared my whole story and got out the message about my dad. It can be pretty easy to paint people as crazy.
I mean, even Chelsea (Roy), she seemed pretty aggressive the first night. She’s one of the closest girls that I kept in touch with. Editing can portray you any way they want.
Q: What about Krystal Nielson (this season’s villain)?
A: She was actually in my limo (driving to the mansion on the first night). When I first met her, she did not talk like that. It is her on-camera voice that clearly she thinks is sexy. I remember talking to her (in the limo) about our beliefs. She was talking about how she believes in putting out positive energy and believing in yourself and living life to the fullest. Now, watching the season unfold, I believe that she reads a lot of motivational books so she has these great one-liners, she has the best toasts, but I really don’t think that she lives up to what she says.
Q: How much producer intervention is there?
A: Maybe it’s just me because I’m always on camera – obviously you see guys running around the house carrying these huge cameras – but when you’re there, and you’re just talking to either the girls or Arie, you kind of forget that there are cameras.
It was freezing that night. It was so cute – Arie took off his jacket and put it around my shoulders. We started to talk just briefly and then the producers were like, ‘Cut! Hold up! Interference with the mic! He has to put the jacket back on.’ The producers are there. They can’t force you to say something or do something, so it really is all real.
Q: Does anything happen that we don’t know about on that first night?
A: They don’t pump you with alcohol. That is actually not true. I was holding a drink, but it was so cold that I was honestly drinking hot water and coffee because I didn’t want to fall asleep. But they monitor how many drinks you have. They don’t walk around and fill up your glasses.
Q: If you got approached to go on “Bachelor in Paradise,” would you?
A: I get asked that a lot. I think it’s a checked box for me. I enjoy being part of Bachelor Nation and I’ve met other great contestants. I go to all the Bachelor Nation events now, so I definitely want to stay involved. I think the only reason why I get invited to all these things is because of the Rosé Girls. This is the first time in Bachelor Nation that they’ve ever had girls who left the first night keep in touch, so I think that that’s why they keep us around.
Q: What’s next for you in the dating world?
A: I tried the dating show, that failed miserably, so now I am on a dating app. Now that I am very single, I had never been on a dating app before, so I filmed this YouTube video creating my profile with this sex dating expert and she actually gave me some great tips. I haven’t gone on one date yet but I am open to it. Since I’ve been back from ‘The Bachelor,’ I haven’t really wanted to date.