ABC TV's The Bachelor show brought its search for people “ready to find true love!” to Kirkland Saturday, conducting a casting call with dozens of glamorous single Northwest women—and a few hunky fellows.
Kirkland's most famous television couple even showed up, Season 13 Bachelor star Jason Mesnick and his wife, Molly Malaney—one of the popular reality show's few successful matches.
Polished nails, high heels and glowing, ever-present smiles filled the lower levels of the at Carillon Point, where casting crews for NZK Productions, which produces The Bachelor, were screening and interviewing potential bachelorettes for Season 16. That season's series will air starting in January.
“I’m single and ready to mingle,” said Jennifer Heidy, an executive assistant from Kent, who said she showed up for the casting call at the urging of her best friend. “I want to try other options, and I think it will be fun, something different, a challenge."
Said her friend, Anna “A”: “It’s hard to find good, single men.”
“I guess I’m a little picky, too,” added Heidy.
The women first signed in, filled out a questionnaire, had their photos taken and then were sent to one of two rooms where they underwent a closed-door, taped interview.
“We’re looking for girls willing to take a leap of faith in the search for true love,” said Davida Vaccaro, a casting director for NZK. “We ask a lot. We’re looking for single ladies, different personalities, different occupations. Some girls have a certain spark or energy. It also depends on the guy (not yet chosen). We’re looking for a love match at the end of the day.”
Added Lacey Pemberton, the head casting director: “From our history in this area before, I think we’ll find some very good candidates here. You meet interesting people with different backgrounds and relationship histories. People are really open to new experiences here. You never know."
There were certainly a lot of fetching women with interesting stories, as well as a few ruggedly handsome young men. The casting crews were looking first for single women to serve as one of 25 bachelorettes who compete on The Bachelor. But they also were open to interviews with men, primarily for the sibling show The Bachelorette.
One was Kirkland’s Joshua Smith, who grew up in La Conner.
“It’s actually a long story,” said Smith, 30, who works for a local wine distributing company. “I met my high school sweetheart in our sophomore year. She actually passed away in a car accident six years ago. She was hit by a drunk driver.
“I’ve just been doing my own thing, and now I figure it’s time to move on, find a smart, educated, funny woman. And I thought The Bachelor might be an opportunity.”
Another who showed up at a turning point in life was Kristen Swan of Portland, Ore., an elementary school teacher whose school is closing.
“I’ve never done anything like this, so I felt a little unprepared,” she said after her interview. “I have a lot of friends in Seattle so it was a good excuse to come up and see them. I’m not expecting much.”
But if she is selected, Swan said she’ll jump at the chance.
“I’d be so excited. It’s a good time in my life. I’m single, not attached at all. I graduated two weeks ago with a master’s degree in education. I’m a teacher and my school is closing.”
graduate (2004) Sabrina Sarajy said she sees the casting call as an outside chance for a breakthrough in her relationship history.
“I’ve never had a serious boyfriend. I’m really picky,” she said. “This is an opportunity to meet more people and maybe get a chance to meet my husband. I’ve tried other things, so why not this?”
Mesnick, a grad who famously, or perhaps infamously, in the 2009 season dumped his first choice in favor of the runner-up, Malaney, said he no longer even watches the show.
But the couple, who remain married, graciously agreed to show up at the casting call.
“When you’re on the show you get the best of everything, you eat in the best restaurants, you go here and you go there,” he said. “When it’s over you’re like, 'what happened?'”
Added Malaney: “It takes awhile to feel normal again.”
But Mesnick and Malaney—who said she does still watch the show—said their relationship has grown stronger since the show. Malaney said she would do it all over again.
“It was a really fun experience, and obviously, I met Jason," she said. "It’s also brought a lot of opportunities to us.”
Mesnick, who grew up in Redmond and has a 6-year-old son from a previous relationship, lives on Rose Hill. He's keeping busy working with an online travel site and operating a nonprofit group he founded for single parents called Project Parachute.