Jenna Cooper of Raleigh, a 26-year-old social media manager, was one of 29 women who met Arie Luyendyk Jr. on “The Bachelor” in Monday night’s Season 22 premiere.
[Real quick, for those who have never watched “The Bachelor” (or “The Bachelorette”). First, what is your life like? Second, here’s a quick rundow of how this works. In the first episode, a hot guy stands in front of a mansion and greets a bunch of women, one at a time, as they arrive for their “journey.” They will say the word “journey” at least 97 times per episode. Then the women go inside and proceed to get a little bit drunk while they wait for “one-on-one time” with the bachelor, in hopes of getting a rose and being allowed to stay in the house and get dates and continue their journey to falling in love. At least one aggressive or borderline psychotic villain is pinpointed in the first episode. Eight of the 29 women on Monday’s show were sent home on the first night, so now Arie has a very manageable 21 women to date. In each subsequent episode, the bachelor will go on dates – sometimes one-on-one, sometimes in groups – and will send at least one woman home each week, until he narrows it down to the two or three that he’s most in love with. Typically, in the season finale, there is a marriage proposal. It rarely leads to an actual marriage, but there have been a few instances of happily ever after.]
Now, on to Monday’s premiere.
Our first impression of Jenna: relief and pride that she opted to skip a super cheesy first meeting gimmick. One woman showed up in a race car (Arie is an Indy race car driver); a woman from Weiner, Ark., brought Arie a small hot dog-shaped key chain and said, “Please tell me you don’t already have a little wiener”; and one woman asked Arie to smell her arm pits.
Arie’s first impression of Jenna: “She is so pretty,” he said as she walked away. Then, as he watched her go: “Oof. Oh my goodness.”
Our final impression of Jenna: glad that she is not this season’s villain (that’d be Chelsea, a single mom who is not going to let anyone stand in the way of her happiness with Arie).
Arie’s final impression of Jenna: He’s intrigued.
Jenna, who is originally from Indiana, got some one-on-one time with Arie and gave him a foot massage (she works for Orangetheory Fitness in Raleigh and has a YouTube channel with a few health and fitness videos, including a “glamourcizing” video and a video on healthy shakes). It could have been “Bachelor” editing, but she seemed to talk a lot – and she talks with her hands a lot – but hey, she made an impression and the last thing you want on Night 1 is to not make an impression.
Here’s what Arie thought of Jenna, in his own words:
▪ “She’s a little wild. She’s on the couch, and then off the couch. There’s so many things happening in this conversation, where I’m like, ‘what’s happening?’ She’s jumping around, she’s talking about this and talking about that.”
▪ “I didn’t understand what she really did. Like, does she do social media? Does she own a pedicure shop? She’s never been on a plane before.”
▪ “Jenna is all over the place, but I’m intrigued because I’m trying to figure her out. And because I can’t figure her out, I kinda want to keep her around.”
Yes, that’s right. Arie gave Jenna a rose, which means she gets to continue her journey for a while longer.
We’ll watch each week and keep you posted on that journey.
Fans of “The Bachelor” franchise will remember Arie as the Indy race car driver who fell for Emily Maynard of Charlotte during her 2012 season as “The Bachelorette.” Arie was Emily’s runner-up that season and was heartbroken that he did not get chosen. Arie seemed to really be in love with Emily and said in Monday night’s premiere that he had not felt that kind of connection with any woman since Emily. Awww. Emily is now married, but not to the guy she picked on “The Bachelorette.”
Arie is currently a real estate agent in Scottsdale, Ariz., but continues to be involved in racing.