"I'm here for true love," said Dean Peters, who was auditioning to be a suitor on The Bachelorette. I didn't mean to, but I laughed. Seeing Peters and his friend Ray Finocchio — tanned and muscly with gelled hair — looking for love was almost too much. Peters' mom sent him a text about the audition, and he convinced Finochhio to come with him. Peters went through a breakup about six months ago and hasn't found anyone else "sufficient," so he took the opportunity to see if a third party could help him find her.
That third party is the ABC reality show, which stopped by Cinebarre on Sat. June 28 searching for contestants. Lacey Pemberton, the casting director of the reality show, was expecting a few hundred people to show up — and judging by the size of the crowd, she seems to have been right. "We're looking for someone with good energy who's ready to take that leap of faith," Pemberton says. "They're ready for adventure, and on the way maybe [they'll] fall in love." She'd know too, since she's cast 15 of the 19 seasons of The Bachelor and nine of 10 seasons of Betty — what they call The Bachelorette. The casting process started with participants filling out an application then having their picture taken. They were then escorted to one of Cinebarre's theaters to wait for their turn in front of a casting director, where they would appear on camera answering questions. Most interviews seemed to take about two minutes.
It was Pemberton's first trip to Charleston, and by the time I spoke with her, she'd already seen a couple of people she thought would be a good match for the show. And for the people she didn't see personally, she'll watch their casting videos where they were asked questions about their jobs, their family life, any hobbies they may have, their past relationships, and what they're looking for in future ones. "It's all about them, so they'll know the answers," she says.
And that seemed to be the consensus amongst those auditioning. Take Nicole Marosok. An employee at Cinebarre, she didn't prepare for the audition. "I've watched the show for years. It seemed like a great opportunity and there's travel, so why not?" she says. "I always thought, 'I don't know if you're great for her, but you're great for me.'" As a fan, she thinks there are definitely different types of girls they look for. There are the crazies, but she hoped to be one of the nice, sane ones sprinkled in. "I wanted to appear calm, even-keeled — someone who actually wants to find love," she says.
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Other people were there to make their family and friends happy. Jonnie Davis was one of them. She traveled from Raleigh en route to Wrightsville Beach, N.C. She thought it'd be something fun to try and didn't stress too much about it. "I'll answer what they ask me truthfully," she says. "If I stutter, I stutter."
On the other hand, Amy Chamberlain was there for the experience. Wearing an American flag fanny pack, she simply replied, "YOLO," when asked why she wants to audition. She wasn't sure if she would be picked, but she didn't think it would hurt to try — and she was going to have fun doing it. Chamberlain wanted to stand out and wasn't a fan of comparing herself to others or competing with them — even though that seemed to be the nature of the game. "I've got something they don't have," said Chamberlain as she touched her fanny pack. "And they've got something I don't have."
Chamberlain and others will have to wait until mid-July to see if they'll receive a call back.
For some of them, getting on the show may be irrelevant. They might have even made a love connection right there in the lobby of Cinebarre. Looking around the theater, I pointed out the abundance of pretty girls to Dean Peters. "It's like fishing with dynamite," he says.