If there’s one thing that any contestant on The Bachelor franchise knows, it’s the recipe for a standout date.
Whether they’ve gone white-water rafting in Rio Grande, taken a casual mid-afternoon ride in the Goodyear blimp, or sipped champagne in a picturesque Copenhagen hot tub, the guys and girls of seasons past have been privy to romantic excursions way outside the realm of possibility for mere mortals who haven’t been blessed by the dating gods at ABC.
Participating in such elaborate dates doesn’t quite mean these individuals are experts on the matter, though. In fact, those who have attempted to find a happy ending on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette are often just as lost as the rest of us when it comes to navigating romance in the real world. They just have better #sponsored posts on Instagram and more haircare gummies in their medicine cabinet while they do it.
With the franchise’s latest spinoff, Winter Games, just around the corner, it’s clear that Bachelor Nation is still obsessed with finding out each and every detail about past contestants’ love lives. And naturally, they’re more than happy to give the people what they want. So when four fan-favorites—Dean Unglert, Ashley Iaconetti, Eric Bigger, and Amanda Stanton—recently teamed up at a New York City speed-dating event with Lord & Taylor and The League, they dished on everything from first date outfits and Valentine’s Day plans to what really turns them on (and off). Here's the full break down of what they told InStyle.
Bachelor résumé: After capturing viewers’ hearts during Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette in 2017, Unglert proved to be quite the heartbreaker as the biggest player on Bachelor in Paradise’s fourth season. He’ll give reality TV romance another go on The Bachelor Winter Games.
Date night look: “Jeans and a t-shirt—and I like to show a lot of ankle,” said Unglert, who cuffed his Black Brown 1826 pants accordingly for the event. “I like wearing weird things like short-sleeve sweatshirts and overalls. I get a lot of criticism for that—it’s funny, people criticize my outfits pretty often. If you go back to the polls I’ve taken on Twitter asking people for outfit input, I’ve decided to wear the opposite of what’s won every time.”
Biggest turn-on: “I think the most aesthetically pleasing thing a girl can wear is knee-high boots. I don't know why, but I love them. They’re just the sexiest thing.”
Biggest turn-off: “What turns me off on a date is the same thing that makes interviews hard for me, and it’s that I don't like when people don't share a mutual interest in each other’s lives. When I ask a girl a question, I want to get to know her more and I’m hoping that she asks the same question back—or at least has another question for me. But a lot of times, people just answer the question and that’s it. I get asked a lot of questions in interviews and I don't get to ask them back. So when that happens on a date, it’s one of my biggest pet peeves. It's like, we're trying to get to know each other, you can't close the conversation off.”
Best Valentine's Day: “Honestly, the only Valentine's Day memory I have is from when I was in college. I ordered in Chinese food and turned my bedroom into a romantic restaurant setting for my girlfriend. I haven’t had a Valentine in a long time—that might have been the last time, actually. That's the only official Valentine that I've ever had.”
Romantic outlook: “This year, I’ve got some big plans for Valentine's Day. I'm surprising someone with an extreme day. Being able to go out and do something that you're going to remember for the rest of your lives is important. I’m not into doing dinner and a movie, really—maybe for a regular date night, but I'm just not the kind of guy who wants to go to a fancy dinner. It's just not my style, and I think it's too cliche for Valentine’s Day.”
Bachelor résumé: Iaconetti first appeared on Chris Soules’s season of The Bachelor in 2015, before heading to Paradise for its second and third seasons. Because no spinoff would be complete without her infamous crying face, she’s also back for Winter Games.
Date night look: “It depends on what number date it is," said Iaconetti. "On your first date, you have to do pumps, jeans, and a cute top. But I think the longer you've been together, the dressier and edgier you can be. So if it's your boyfriend, have fun with it.”
Valentine’s Day style: “This Quiz dress is perfect for a fancy dinner date, and I’d only wear it if I had been with the guy for a while. It’d be good for Valentine's Day because it's not obvious Valentine's Day, you know? It’s by no means subdued, but it's subdued as far as a Valentine's Day theme goes since it’s not bright red and there are no hearts.”
Pre-date beauty prep: “It takes me at least an hour to get ready so that my makeup is perfect and my hair looks good. I always have to wash my hair the day before, that way when I’m really concentrating on getting ready, I can just focus on my makeup and [styling my] hair without all the bullshit, like blow-drying it.”
Worst V-Day memory: “The poor guy I went out with last year. We had just been dating for a little bit; it was our 4th date, I think. He asked me out in person for Valentine's Day. I wasn't really into him enough to say yes, but I didn't know what to say. Like, ‘Sorry, I’m hanging out with my girlfriends on Valentine's Day?’ No. So I said yes when I shouldn't have. I made it as brief as possible and we just went to a movie, but after he'd already bought my popcorn, the guy got a coupon for a free popcorn. So he brought my popcorn back to the counter and ask for a refund. Then, he proceeded to drink from my drink the entire time and I was like, I don't want to swap spit with you anymore. Poor guy. He's gonna see this all over the place.”
Bachelor résumé: It’s impossible to wish for anything but the best for the lovable Bigger, who began his journey on Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette and will compete in The Bachelor Winter Games.
Date night look: “You’ve gotta be a little casual, but also a little nice," said Bigger. "I’d wear this 1670 suit [jacket and pants] on Valentine's Day, for sure. It's not over the top, but it's not like we’re going to a game or a movie theater, either. It’s classy.”
Ultimate date night: “It depends on the girl and her likes and what we can both relate to. Maybe she's a basketball fan and we could go to a Laker game, or maybe she's into food and we could do L.A. dinery. Or we could dress up, go to Santa Barbara, and have some good wine. It really varies based on the person.”
Biggest turn-ons: “Ambiance—candles, wine, music. A fragrance, and that she smells good. Her nails, her skin, her teeth—and her intangible features, too. The energy of a person is sexy to me when I’m surrounded with nice music and some good food. Just a beautiful atmosphere.”
Signature moves: “Eye contact and compliments. I think you always want to acknowledge what's great about a person, whether its her eyes or other features. You want to loosen the energy. So with eye contact, it’s like, ‘I’m here, and we're locked in.’ It's simple and perfect.”
Bachelor résumé: After courting Ben Higgins on The Bachelor in 2016, the mom of two accepted Josh Murray’s marriage proposal during season three of Bachelor in Paradise. The engagement didn’t last, and after an unsuccessful return to Paradise the next summer, she’s heading to the Winter Games.
Date night look: “I think I've got it down by now," said Stanton. "For the first date, you want to look good but you don't want to be too dressy or look like you're trying to hard. A good heeled bootie with jeans and a cute top or a bodysuit is cute. This dress from High Line Collective is the perfect date night look, plus it’s comfortable and affordable.”
Ultimate date night: “I think this is where I'm so bad at dating, because my ideal date night would be hanging out at home, Postmate-ing sushi or something, and watching a movie. I do like to go out to dinner sometimes, though. That can be nice.”
Beauty do’s and don’ts: “I don't do red lips or any bright lipstick on a first date—I think that's a no. I like a nude lip and a smokey eye as a first date look. I’ve been loving Fenty Beauty’s highlighters because they give you a really pretty, glowy look, and Urban Decay’s Naked Eyeshadow palettes are good for a smokey eye. Also, there have definitely been times when I've wanted to bail on a date but felt too bad doing it at the last minute, so then I had to go without washing my hair. ”
Valentine’s Day history: “I’ve never had anything crazy happen on Valentine's Day, but my boyfriend did something kind of cute one year and made a romantic little scavenger hunt [that led] to my gift. Besides that, I usually just hang out with my kids. It's more about them, really, and I make Valentines for their classes and stuff.”