TikToker claims ‘The Bachelor’ rejected her because of her body size

A woman who says she was contacted by reality show producers via social media later claimed on TikTok that she was rejected from casting because of her size.

Caroline Cronin (@carolcro0) decided to take her story to TikTok after the start of the 26th season of ABC’s The Bachelor. According to Cronin, producers had reached out to her over Instagram in November 2021, asking if she wanted to audition for the show.

“I was excited,” Cronin told In The Know. “It’s not an opportunity that I ever expected, nor was it something I was ever particularly interested in being a part of. But when the chance arose, I thought to myself, ‘Well, why not?'”

In The Know reached out to an ABC representative for comment and has not heard back.

As Cronin explained in her video, she has a pretty sizable following on social media, where she posts memes and videos about her dating life.

She included part of a TikTok draft that she had filmed right after producers had allegedly contacted her, sharing her concern that she was “a size 6-8” but expressing cautious optimism about the possibility of greater size representation on the show. 

“I was hopeful they were attempting to cast a variety of sizes this time around because I know I’m not the usual type — in my opinion, anyway,” Cronin explained.

A 2016 study found that the average American woman is between a size 16 and 18. As of 2018, 68% of American women were a size 14 or above. Contestants on The Bachelor typically have very thin body types.

In her TikTok, Cronin outlined why she believed it was her body type that turned off the casting producers.

“They never really diversify the body type of the people who are on the show,” Cronin said in the clip. “Long story short, I did have an interview with them over Zoom, during which I talked a lot about my dating history … I could be very boring, that could be very true, but they did have me stand up over Zoom, take a step back from my computer, and the guy looked at my body.”

According to Cronin, a female casting producer originally reached out to her over Instagram and spoke with her on the phone. Ahead of the Zoom call, Cronin says she was told the woman she initially interviewed with had a conflict and that she would now be meeting with a male casting producer instead.

After the Zoom call ended, Cronin says she never heard from the casting team again.

“Like I said, [it was] just an unexpected opportunity I was willing to pursue — plus I’m not upset or disappointed in not moving forward in the process at all,” she told In The Know. “[But] no one from the franchise or ABC has reached out, and I don’t expect them to.”

Cronin also added that her intention to share her story on TikTok was to start a conversation about the lack of body diversity on the show.

“I never anticipated the conversation leaving the comment section of TikTok,” she said. “I was also curious to see if anyone else had had a similar experience. The response has been very positive, with a lot of women saying they’d love to see more of a variety of sizes on the show and that it’s way overdue.”

The Bachelor has faced a long list of diversity issues from fans for years — from complaints that contestants of color rarely make it to final rounds to discrimination lawsuits to the infamous interview between former host Chris Harrison and the first-ever Black Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay.

Even in the current season, fans of the franchise were frustrated to hear the show mention body positivity on a group date and then cut to a one-on-one date where the Bachelor and a female contestant stripped down to their underwear for a scavenger hunt.

“I know my body better than anyone,” Cronin said. “I’ve worked too hard over the years and continue to work to accept my body. I shouldn’t have to defend that to anyone.”

Robert Mills, the EVP of unscripted and alternative entertainment for Walt Disney Television (which includes daytime programming for ABC), addressed the body diversity issue in a 2018 interview with Entertainment Tonight. When asked if the network would consider casting more diverse women, he said, “absolutely.”

But then Mills added that “a lot of it does revolve around who the lead is and who the lead wants to date. What you don’t want to do is say, ‘We’re going to put on somebody who’s more curvy,’ and then they’re gone the first night. It’s hard, but we’re all for as much diversity as possible.”

While the lead does have a say in who they date and end up with, it’s also common knowledge that producers influence who gets eliminated and even encourage contestants to work out.

“It’s clear that Mills isn’t giving the Bachelor enough credit,” Refinery29 wrote in response to the interview. “Do they really cast men so shallow that they’ll send a curvier woman home right after the limo drops her off? Or a woman who arrives to the mansion in a wheelchair? These single men are ostensibly going on the show to find love, and they understand that they’ll be meeting lots of different potential partners.”

Casting a diverse slate of potential mates is not only for the benefit of the show’s romantic lead, Cronin says. She believes that by increasing representation on The Bachelor, which reaches millions of viewers on a weekly basis, the show can start to resonate with an even bigger audience that may currently feel alienated by its casting practices.

“People need to see their bodies represented on television and film — period,” Cronin said. “Even if it’s reality TV, it matters to people — being able to relate and empathize [with] the people they see on TV. I think that’s partially why there is so little genuine heart left on The Bachelor.”

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