Zach Shallcross never watched “The Bachelor” before he was introduced into the world of Bachelor Nation.
Now, he is the man of hour in the show's 27th season, as 30 women fight for his heart and the millions of people tune in every week to watch it happen.
Shallcross sat down with The State News over to tell his story on how exactly he ended up in this unique position.
Before he started handing out roses, Shallcross was introduced to the show by a friend who had been on a couple episodes of its sister show, “The Bachelorette." His friend told him he would be perfect for the show and Shallcross allowed him to put his name in for the next season.
He got the call the next day, informing him that he would be on "The Bachelorette" season 19, of whom the stars were Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey.
Shallcross broke off his relationship with Recchia in the “Fantasy Suite” episode because Recchia was afraid he wasn't ready to commit to the relationship. From there, he was cast as the next Bachelor and Bachelor Nation promptly nicknamed him “Zach the Snack.”
Before his reality TV stardom, Shallcross went to California Polytechnic University and played football. He was also a college DJ in his free time, under the pseudonym “DJ Verzache.” Playing Waka Flocka Flame, his favorite party music artist, was his way of breaking away from the intensity of football during his time off.
Before “The Bachelorette,” Shallcross’ style of dating looked a lot similar to the way many college students’ relationships look. He was in two long-term relationships and preferred meeting people organically at a bar or coffee shop. He said he has always been more of a "relationship guy."
Shallcross' parents have been married for 30 years. Their relationship serves as an inspiration for him, he said.
"You hear often really tragic stories of divorce … and (the fact) that my parents are still able to make it work and commit to each other, I want that,” Shallcross said.
However, Shallcross' journey has been anything but traditional. He defined the experience of simultaneously dating 30 women, with limited time and cameras everywhere as a “rollercoaster” and a “whirlwind.”
“You can get in your head very easily,” Shallcross said. “At first, it was pretty difficult, but it really came down to just taking everything day by day and trying to establish as many connections or relationships as you can and make time for everyone. In turn, that makes things very quick, and you're very exhausted at the end of the day."
"But man, adrenaline is a hell of a drug.”
But the fame hasn't come without consequences. While Shallcross loves fans and the interactions he has with them, he said he is a homebody and likes to have more of a quiet life. His favorite thing to do still is hang out with his family and go to the gym, but now, he said he has to be more "incognito."
Shallcross has concluded filming of the show and is watching his whole time at “The Bachelor” back, reliving moments of both happiness and cringe throughout the experience.
“It's so fun to relive the moments because there's so much that I forget,” Shallcross said. “You are doing a million things under the sun and often I look back at the whole thing as almost like a blur.”
Shallcross said the public may view the show as negative, overdramatic or unrealistic compared to the way that many people live out their love lives. However, he came into the season telling the producers he was not interested in having “BS drama” play out – such as "shrimp-gate" in season 26, where two women fought over who ate more shrimp. Shallcross said that he was simply ready to move on from that unnecessary drama.
“For me, it's about the relationships and actually finding love,” Shallcross said. “If you're not about the same thing, then you don't (have) to be here. That's not to say that there will not be drama, but it's a different drama. It's drama in real life. Everyone has drama that they go through and this is less produced.”
Even while being tight-lipped on if he actually found the true love he is looking for, Shallcross hinted that the rest of the season is a real romance story, even with small bits of drama for the people who enjoy the rollercoaster of the show.
Season 27 of “The Bachelor” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC. Episodes will be available on Hulu the day following its premiere.