Ball State alumna set to compete on "The Bachelor"
When she was a undergraduate student at Ball State, she and friends dressed up as "The Bachelor" contestants for Halloween. Now, one Ball State alumna will be on the show, competing for Nick Viall's heart.
“The Bachelor” craze hit close to home last season, when Warsaw, Indiana, native Ben Higgins chose Lauren Bushnell as his lucky lady on the popular ABC reality show.
When the new season of the show starts Jan. 2, one of the women who will be battling to win over new bachelor Nick Viall will be Christen Whitney, a 2013 Ball State graduate..
During her time at Ball State, Whitney studied telecommunications.
“My favorite part about Ball State was the media department, specifically working on small creative films and projects,” Whitney said.
“I do feel like her time in the telecommunications program contributed to her getting on 'The Bachelor,'” said Vonda Whitney, Christen’s mother. “Her experience in film and production gave her confidence.”
While at Ball State, Whitney was a very involved student. Her mother said Whitney served as an on-air entertainment host of NewsLink and competed on Ball State’s ballroom dance team. Whitney also pursued a minor in French, which allowed her to study abroad in Paris.
“I cannot stress enough how valuable these involvements were and how they enhanced my experience at Ball State,” Whitney said. “Being involved is the best way to squeeze the juice out of your college experience. [I] learned a lot [about] hard work, drive and commitment through my involvement.”
During her senior year, Whitney represented Ball State at the Heartland Film Festival for her production of the documentary “Historic Muncie.” She received Emmy awards for her work on the project.
Alex McIntire, another graduate from the Class of 2013, formed a friendship with Whitney during their time at school together. The two lived on the same dorm floor during their freshman year, and later became classmates in a telecommunications class during their senior year.
McIntire remembers Whitney as a nice person who was easy to chat with.
McIntire and Whitney also got to know each other through Cru, a popular Christian organization on Ball State’s campus.
“Hearing [Christen] was going to be on ‘The Bachelor’ was surprising to me because she is very Christian. Not that religious people can’t be on ‘The Bachelor,’ but I just don’t associate the two things together,” McIntire said. “She has a tattoo on her right forearm that tells the story of Jesus in symbols, and I'm interested to see if they talk about it on the show.”
The tattoo was mentioned in Whitney’s official biography on ABC’s website.
Although McIntire has never watched “The Bachelor” before, she will begin to watch in January to root for Whitney.
“Christen is such a nice person. Hopefully, America, Nick and the other ladies will see this about her, too,” McIntire said.
Andrea Abbott, Class of 2012, also got to know Whitney through the telecommunications program and Cru.
Abbott described Whitney as a person who was always kind and friendly. She also said Whitney was a stellar student who always exceeded expectations in her classes.
“Someone like Christen on TV would be a breath of fresh air,” Abbott said. “She is honest and real. She isn't the type of person to cause drama or backstab anyone.”
Although Whitney did not volunteer to audition for the show — her sister signed her up — it seems there were signs pointing to her destiny.
“My sister nominated me last spring,” Whitney said. “I didn’t even start watching the show until the Chris Soules season. However, when I look back, it makes sense.”
While in high school, one of Whitney’s first projects in a film class she was enrolled in was a comedic spoof about “The Bachelor.”
Then, during her time at Ball State, Whitney, along with a few of her friends, chose to dress up as Bachelor contestants for Halloween.
“There were five of us girls that were really close, and every year, we came up with [a costume idea] so that we could go as a group,” said Kaitlyn Stahl, a 2013 graduate of Ball State who became good friends with Whitney during their time at Ball State.
The girls, clad in black dresses and carrying red roses, spent the weekend at Rose-Hulman college.
“It’s funny to look back on it now,” Stahl said.
Keaton Stancato, a senior advertising major, has been a fan of “The Bachelor” since 2011. Stancato was ecstatic when she heard a Ball State alumna would be featured on the show.
“Once I heard we had a Ball State alumna on this season, I immediately became more excited,” Stancato said. “I think I am cheering for her because we have some type of common ground. I am living the life she was four years ago, on the same campus and everything. To me, that makes this season even better to watch.”
The new season will begin at 8 p.m. Jan. 2 on ABC.