Anyone who watches the Bachelor remembers the night that Ben Higgins woke the girls up at 4:30 in the morning. They were in Mexico City and he showed up for a surprise wakeup call with the intent of taking Amanda on a one-on-one date. But what Ben walked into was not exactly what he expected.
While every other contestant was sound asleep, Olivia Caridi was half awake and trying to decipher the air conditioning panel, which was in Spanish. And she was also not expecting to be face to face with a strange shadowed figure in the doorway. Naturally, she thought he was an axe murderer.
“Melatonin makes me do some weird stuff,” Olivia explained in a recent interview with SarahScoop.com. “I had gotten up to go to the bathroom and I was wearing my retainer and I looked horrible, you know the usual for when you’re sleeping. Then all of a sudden the door opens and there’s this really bright light shining in my face. I don’t know if it was the Melatonin or what, but Ben walks in and he was just a shadow and I legitimately thought he was an axe murderer. I started screaming and ran to my bed and flopped on it, which woke Jubilee up and freaked her out too.” As Ben mentioned in his blog, it truly is a bummer that they didn’t air her reaction.
Olivia was a focal point in season 20 and regardless of our opinions prior to her leaving, all of our hearts broke along with hers when Ben left her on the island in the Bahamas after their two-on-one date where he chose to give Emily the rose. The former news anchor and reporter dealt with a lot of backlash from her perceived role on The Bachelor, but since the show, she’s learned to love herself and her life again.
You can keep up with her by following her on social media:
Q&A with Olivia Caridi
What was your favorite artist when you were younger?
I was a NSYNC super fan until like 15 or 16. I had a Marionette doll and everything.
Tell me about your childhood crush.
I was addicted to Lance Bass. He was everything to me. I was kind of sad when he came out, but I was happy for him. I actually met him in New York and of course freaked out. I think it was after he came out, and I still loved him just as much. I didn’t care because I was obsessed with him. I was super happy for him, but it was definitely a downer because I lost my chance.
What’s your family’s favorite embarrassing story to tell about you?
(At this point in the interview, Olivia’s mom wanted to tell a story.)
Schlitterbahn is this water park in the new Braunfels, Texas area and there’s just not a lot of bathrooms there. So, Olivia said, “Mom I’ve got to go to the bathroom.” and I was like “Okay we’ll keep looking for one,” and then all of a sudden I could see the back of her bathing suit just kind of grow and get bigger and the next thing I know, she lifted up the side of her suit and let these 2 little turds fall out. I didn’t know if I should be like a dog owner… so I was looking around trying to figure out how to pick it up. It was embarrassing because she was too old for that to happen, she was like 9.
What college did you attend and what did you do there?
I went to TCU in Fort Worth. I was a double major in broadcast journalism and English. I was also a Chi O and I was heavily involved in student media and always doing something in communications. As far as partying and everything, I didn’t do a whole lot of that. I was always working on a Friday night and whatnot.
What’s your favorite college memory?
The Rose Bowl. TCU was the underdog vs. Wisconsin my freshman year of college and they were never supposed to win. A lot of my family is from Wisconsin so we all watched it together and it was this fun rivalry. We had a big party and TCU won by like one point or something and it was epic. It was fun to cheer against my family. That was also the beginning of when TCU football really took off so that was a really cool moment.
Who or what inspired you to go on The Bachelor?
My mom really wanted me to do it and my sister actually made a video and sent it to them. It kind of just ran from there. I watched the show my entire life and never had any intention of going on it, but it kind of just happened.
(Olivia’s mom wanted to explain her motivation behind the idea.)
We always watched it together as a family, even my husband, we’d force him to watch it. We always thought look at those cool dates, they go in hot air balloons, they fly in planes, wouldn’t that be great? Olivia was always the type of girl in college that worked really hard and on a Friday night when all her friends were out partying she’d be covering a basketball or football game. She was very into student media and sports and so her sister, Paige and I thought “You know, you never really lived in college, you’ve always been on the path of a career and this could be something really fun.” Olivia really likes romance but wasn’t currently in love and we also thought Ben Higgins was cute. So we thought geez, all of the stars seem to be lining up, why not just try it? She kept saying “No no no, I just don’t know if I could kiss someone on air. That would be nerve wracking,” but she finally agreed to let her sister make her video. The funny thing about it was that Olivia never spoke in the video. It was just Paige describing her sister’s good qualities along with her goofy qualities. So the fact that they chose her was kind of like, wow. They haven’t even really spoken to her.
What was the most challenging aspect of The Bachelor?
There were a lot of challenges. Obviously, leaving my job was very difficult for me, but I felt optimistic. In general, I’m kind of a homebody and more reserved so it’s hard for me to open up to people sometimes. I think the whole experience is just tough for someone who’s very introverted. We didn’t sleep a whole lot and I really have to sleep… a lot. Also, I don’t drink very much so I just felt really homesick. We don’t have cell phones or anything like that and after a week of not talking to any of my family, it was really hard for me. It was a huge challenge to not be able to talk to your family during such an emotional roller coaster.
How did The Bachelor impact your personal life and relationships?
If anything, the positive is that I discovered this random army of people that care about me and love me. It was really cool to see people from my high school that I hadn’t talked to in a while or people from college that I had limited time with reach out to me and say, “We think you’re so special and we’re so sorry that this is happening to you.” That felt really good. There were so many people that came to my defense. The positive messages I was getting totally outweighed the negatives. In many ways, it kind of helped me get rid of people who just don’t belong in my life. It’s made dating a little bit more difficult sometimes but you know, people are so nice to me and now that I’m living in New York, people recognize me and they support me. It was hard for a while, but I’ve learned who my people are. So it’s really kind of a blessing in disguise.
Has your life gone back to normal since being such a focal point of the show?
I just went back to working out all the time and I really didn’t change at all in any way. I actually met up with a friend who I hadn’t seen in 5 years and she was like, “You know, I was nervous. I just didn’t know how you would be but you’re just the same person that you always were.” I’ve just been going back trying to find work, I moved and I’m just going back to Olivia. I want as much of a normal life again as I can and I don’t really want to be looked at as the girl that did The Bachelor. I’m just a person like everyone else. The opportunities are obviously great and I appreciate them, but I’m still the same Olivia as I was before. If anything I’m a better Olivia because I’m a lot more compassionate about people going through hard times, because I went through them myself.
If you could do the show over again, is there anything that you would change?
I wish I would have tried a little bit harder to put myself out there and hang out with the girls more and not be so worried about being awkward or not knowing what to say. That’s what I would change, but I would not change doing it.
Were there any memorable off camera moments that you’d like to share?
When we were in the Bahamas we were all getting ready to go to bed and all of a sudden the fire alarm goes off. None of the producers were around we had no idea what was going on, we all ran outside and we were all screaming “Beeen! Beeeeeeeen” and finally he came out and had been sleeping but he was like “Is everyone ok?” and we were like yeah and then he just left. It was funny, it was typical of all the girls to be like “Oh my god, I don’t know what to do ahhh!” It was one of the rare times that producers weren’t around and ironically one of the best tv moments ever happened.
What brings you the greatest joy?
Every time I see my sister it’s like the best thing in the whole world. The same goes for my grandmother. My grandmother is my best friend on this Earth so she brings me a lot of joy.
What is on your bucket list?
I want to skydive. I would have to be pushed out of the plane and I would be crying, but that’s just something I have to do in my life. I’m totally afraid of fear and bodily harm. I also want to see Celine Dion in concert.
What’s your dream vacation and who would you want to go with you?
Right now, road tripping across the country and I would bring my best friend Rachel because she’s my road trip partner. I would go from Oregon, down through California and just all the way across country back to New York, that would be fun.
What are the last 3 items on your credit card statement?
Brunch brunch and more brunch, I’m obsessed with brunch.
What type of dental products do you use?
My secret is that I drink everything dark through a straw. I drink my coffee through a straw every day, I use Crest Close Up toothpaste and I use some mouthwash, a floss pick and call it a day.
What do you like to watch on TV?
Right now I’m addicted to Game of Thrones. I watch Greys Anatomy, House of Cards, Breaking Bad and then basically anything on Food Network all the time. Chopped is my favorite show of all time.
What movies do you love to watch over and over?
Titanic. Titanic is my favorite movie, I could watch it every day for the rest of my life.
Do you have any hobbies?
I don’t really have that many hobbies but I do weightlifting a lot. I’ve tried Bolly X, I loved it. Me and Caila did a class together but I’m a terrible dancer, as everyone saw in Vegas, so I was really really nervous for Bolly X. It was a hard workout, by song number 2 I was sweating profusely but it was a great workout. Such a fun class, I really like it a lot.
What is your favorite song right now?
Panda by Desiigner
What’s your favorite heartbreak song?
My go-to sad song is Awake My Soul by Mumford & Sons
What’s your favorite song to pump you up?
If I’m going to go out I’m going to listen to Down In The DM by Yo Gotti.
What have you been doing since The Bachelor ended?
I just signed with MSA models so I’m really busy with that, doing castings and stuff every day and then I’m writing for Bustle right now, I’m covering The Bachelorette for Bustle this season so I’m doing a lot of freelance writing and health and wellness writing for a couple publications here. I could find a full time job right now but I’m holding off a little bit just because there are a lot of opportunities in New York and other than that, I’m just making a lot of really incredible friends here. I’m wearing several hats right now, but I’m okay with it.
What is your dream job?
To be a famous food/beauty/fashion blogger. I love social media and I love the digital world and I think that’s where everything is going so I would love to use my social media to make a career out of it. Writing reviews and stuff would be really cool.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Basically Robb Stark from Game of Thrones is my celebrity crush. His real name is Richard Madden. He’s babe.
What’s your ideal first date?
Something active. Cooking dinner and eating it on a rooftop or something like that, something with thought. Bowling, ping pong, something where we can laugh and have fun and not be too serious.
Have you got back into the dating world since The Bachelor ended?
When I moved to New York, I joined all the apps–Bumble and Tinder and all that stuff and there’s some interesting people on them but then of course I would get messages like “I wanna see your toes” or “Oh I recognize you” and I’m just like oh damn, I can’t just like be a normal person. I’m not a big fan of dating. But I’ve been on a few dates, I’ve met someone that’s pretty great but I’m taking it slow and it’s definitely harder.
Tell us about your most recent date?
A guy made me dinner and then took me to a Mets game and that was really fun because we got out, we watched a sporting event, which I loved and it was a great date. I’ve met some really special people here; I don’t have a bad date story here yet.
How do you settle nerves on a date?
A glass of wine. That’s all I need. Just a glass of wine and once we make each other laugh once it’s cool, no problem.
Any advice for the single ladies reading this article?
My advice for people, kind of what I’ve learned in my life is to love yourself before you can ever consider loving someone else. Right now I’m a big fan of falling in love with yourself. I think the right guy and the right relationship will come when you’re not looking for it and you’re focusing on you. And then just be yourself, in a world that’s trying to get people to conform, just be you. Just love you. There’s going to be someone that comes along that has all the same qualities that you love about yourself. That person won’t see the things that you hate about yourself. The right guy will never see your insecurities. Love yourself and the right person will come along.
We are super impressed with Olivia Caridi and after this Q&A we’re sure you are, too! Just like all of you, we are big fans of The Bachelor.
This interview with Olivia is the first in our new series. Each week, when a new episode of The Bachelorette with JoJo Fletcher airs, SarahScoop.com will be sharing a new exclusive interview with a previous Bachelor or Bachelorette contestant. Be sure to stay tuned, and check out all of our other Bachelor interviews.