Reality television can make anyone a just little bit famous. Whether it’s running a $120 million business empire (Bethenny Frankel) or getting paid $200 a pop to show up at the opening of the local grocery store (many former contestants of “The Biggest Loser”), capitalizing on faux-fame has become part of the American Dream.
Few are better at extending their 15 minutes than former contestants on ABC’s “Bachelor”/”Bachelorette” franchise.
It remains to be seen what Ashley Hebert and JP Rosenbaum will go on to do over the next several weeks and months, but another pair of former “Bachelor” folks are already taking advantage of this season.
Jason and Molly Mesnick (yes, the odd pair who actually got married following the show -- after Jason proposed to someone else and then changed his mind) are using this season to promote the travel company Jason has been working with: Down Under Answers. They have crafted a trip package at the Koro Sun Resortt in Savusavu, Fiji, the resort handily featured on a recent episode of this season’s “The Bachelorette” where Jason and Molly will be part of the scenery.
The 10-day, $2,999 package is essentially a chance for fans to rub elbows with the former contestants in paradise, an experience DUA owner Kirk Demeter claims is not unlike old school cruises that featured celebrity guests.
“You used to see cruises with former football players and people from ‘The Love Boat’ and this is like that,” Demeter told The Huffington Post. “I think there are a lot of people who want to go on a nice trip and the inclusion of Molly and Jason makes it even more attractive.”
The Mesnicks do seem to love travel and this is one of the few times they have taken any advantage of their celebrity and they are doing it for a legitimate business. Most of the past two years for them has been quietly spent in Seattle, Wash.
“We got back to normal life pretty quickly,” Molly Mesnick told us. “We live in Seattle so we are far removed from the Hollywood life. We go to work every day and we’ve never taken the path that some people have to stay in the business to remain famous and extend that 15 minutes of fame. We partake in things when it fits into our lives but we’re content to be regular people.”
But other former “Bachelor” and “-ettes” have been even more savvy about capitalizing on being “fauxmous.” Check out the slideshow below to see just what these some of these former “most eligible” reality stars have been up to since their last rose ceremony.
On Jan. 24, it was officially revealed that Emily Maynard would be the next "Bachelorette," premiering on ABC in the spring of 2012. The 25-year-old former contestant on "The Bachelor" -- who split from Season 15 "Bachelor" Brad Womack in July 2011 -- is the show's first single mom.
The 28-year-old winemaker had his heart broken on "The Bachelorette" when his marriage proposal to Ashley Hebert was rejected during the seventh season finale of the reality series. But he bounded back to become the 16th "Bachelor" and he's currently looking for love on ABC.
This announced their engagement to the world on the Aug. 1, 2011 proposal episode aired on ABC. They are still working on their wedding plans, as of December 2011.
Jason was the runner-up on Season 4 of "The Bachelorette" and then became "The Bachelor" in its 13th season. He proposed to Melissa Rycroft and then revealed that he still loved the runner-up, Molly Malaney. Apparently, he stuck with his second choice: Mesnick and Malaney's wedding aired in a two-hour special called "The Bachelor: Jason and Molly's Wedding" in March 2010.
Melissa Rycroft was the first woman that Jason Mesnick proposed to before ditching her for Molly. (Remember when that drama went down?) She went on to capitalize on being a woman scorned with a contract to be on "Dancing With the Stars," which made her a bit more famous and led to lucrative deals for the sales of photos of her wedding to Tye Strickland and growing family (the couple currently has a one-year-old daughter, Ava Grace Strickland).
For nearly a decade, Trista Rehn has been extending her 15 minutes from her time spent on the debut season of "The Bachelor" in 2002. She next went on to become the first-ever "Bachelorette" and received $1 million from ABC to televise her wedding to firefighter Ryan Sutter. She has since appeared in a Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial, a Brad Paisley video and on "Dancing With the Stars." She recently became a quasi-spokeswoman for the permanent birth control, Essure. On a more positive note, she and Sutter have used their fame to promote various causes including the American Heart Association.
Travis Lane Stork, who refused to propose on national television to Sarah Stone, actually put his faux-fame to relative good use by taking a spot on the medical talk show "The Doctors" and writing the diet book, The Lean Belly Prescription.
Vienna Girardi and Jake Pavelka were probably the most fame-whorey of all former "Bachelor" couples -- and we say that with love. Though the couple split up in June 2010, both have found ways to keep their names in the headlines...