Monday, February 13, 2012

Ladies of The Bachelor: Don't forget your sunscreen

Bachelor contestant Jenna's biggest faux pas was her
unnaturally orange skin. Bursting into tears six times an
episode was a close second. (Image: TV Guide)
It's Monday night and I'm watching The Bachelor. Embarrassing, I know, but I suppose there are worse guilty pleasures to indulge in. Gambling, smoking, or tanning--just to name a few.

Confession: In my high school yearbook, I was voted "Most Likely to be on a Reality Dating Show." Over the years, especially when I've been single, I've wondered what it would be like to be on, say, The Bachelor (shush, you know you've thought about it, too!) Enough though I'd probably be kicked off by the end of the first rose ceremony, I've thought about all the primping it would require to try and seduce a guy on primetime TV. You'd need formal gowns, bathing suits, and a suitcase full of beauty products. You'd probably get a new haircut before the show started taping, hit the elliptical, and give yourself a little color at the tanning salon.

This Bachelor contestant
could also cut back on the
fake n' bake. (Image: ABC)
A few years ago, if the producers of The Bachelor had called me and said "we want you on our show!" the first thing I would have done was drive to Palm Beach Tan. Chronically insecure about my appearance, tanning was one of the easiest ways to transform myself from an awkward, shy girl into a sizzling, sexy woman. In the back of my mind, there was always a lingering fear that my frequent UV exposure would cause wrinkles or cancer, but when you're 17 and the most devastating thing you can imagine is being rejected by a cute lacrosse player, tanning feels like a viable option. If I wanted a guy to like me, I felt like I had to bleach all the pigment out of my hair and become a slave to UV rays. It sounds insanely irrational when I say it out loud, but take a look at this season's Bachelor contestants.

Last month, when the show premiered, one of the first things I noticed was how unnaturally tan many of Ben's potential lady friends looked. Immediately, I tweeted: "Way too much fake n bake on the #bachelor" Seconds later, a follower of mine, , replied: "Everyone looked like they dove into a bag of Cheetos." I couldn't help but chuckle. In an attempt to make themselves look beautiful and more desirable to Ben, these young women (if they do choose to UV tan) are increasing their risk for skin cancer and making fools of themselves on national television--in more ways than one. Yes, there was a time in my life when I may have watched The Bachelor and thought to myself, "Those girls are so pretty. I wish I looked more like them." But this time around? Not so much.

VIP cocktail waitress
Blakely's look screams
"unnatural." (Image: ABC)
When I was diagnosed with melanoma at age 23, even when I was sick with guilt that my negligent behavior had caused my cancer, I would still think to myself, almost instinctively: "How am I never supposed to tan again? What will I do for my wedding pictures if I ever get married?!" It's taken years to change my knee-jerk reaction from "tan is pretty" to "pale is pretty." For the first time, watching The Bachelor this season, I think I'm actually starting to believe it when I say all women should embrace their natural beauty. Tan skin, which was once the ideal, just doesn't do it for me anymore.

Now that the ladies are in Belize, I just hope they remembered to bring their SPF...


  1. I totally support this endeavor, Katie, and am really happy that you are making such a bold, refreshing, and heartfelt statement about the dangers of tanning! Kudos, and can't wait to meet you in person! Proud and Pale, Julie V.

  2. This is really interesting. You are a great blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeing more of your work.
    Sunless Tanning NYC

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