RE­AL­ITY CHECK

For­mer Bach­e­lor Pro­ducer Tells All: Sarah Gertrude Shapiro re­veals what it’s re­ally like to work on the hit se­ries

In Touch (USA) - - Contents -

UN­REAL cre­ator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro re­veals all to In Touch about her time as a pro­ducer for The Bach­e­lor

S he had reached her break­ing point. In 2005, af­ter three years as a pro­ducer on The Bach­e­lor and The Bach­e­lorette, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro begged her bosses to fi re her. “I thought, I’m done. I have to get out of here,” she re­calls. But it wasn’t be­cause of the gru­el­ing hours or ex­haust­ing phys­i­cal de­mands — it was the men­tal toll from The Bach­e­lor. “The amount you have to tor­ture women,” Sarah tells In Touch, “was un­bear­able.”

Sarah says she was paid to ma­nip­u­late con­tes­tants for story lines. “I was play­ing on women’s weak­nesses,” ex­plains the 38-yearold Cal­i­for­nia na­tive, who has taken her dark ex­pe­ri­ence and turned it into TV gold with UN­REAL, the scripted Life­time se­ries she co-cre­ated that ex­poses the morally ques­tion­able ac­tions of the pro­duc­ers of a fic­tional dat­ing re­al­ity show. “Women on The Bach­e­lor are ba­si­cally in a CIA tor­ture cham­ber with no phone, in­ter­net, friends or fam­ily and just one guy they don’t know much about who’s like a God fig­ure. I was a hard-core fem­i­nist — it was the worst job for me.”

She didn’t land the gig by choice. Orig­i­nally hired for an­other re­al­ity pro­gram, Sarah says she was later forced to work for The Bach­e­lor and The Bach­e­lorette be­cause of a con­tract she’d signed. Her beef was never with the stars of the show: “It wasn’t about them,” she says. “Bob Guiney [sea­son four Bach­e­lor] was re­ally fun. I al­ways re­ally liked Meredith Phillips [sea­son two Bach­e­lorette], and Jen Sch­eff t [sea­son three Bach­e­lorette] was cool.”

She felt bad for women who had come to find love, not fame. “You can say peo­ple know what they’re sign­ing up for, but back then, I don’t think they did,” says Sarah, who even­tu­ally got out of her con­tract by mov­ing to an­other state. “You can’t un­der­stand the power of edit­ing. There are a lot of re­ally smart peo­ple mak­ing th­ese shows.”

When she fi­nally quit, she’d sworn off Hol­ly­wood for good. But a decade later, she couldn’t be hap­pier work­ing on UN­REAL. “My daily life used to con­sist of com­ing up with ro­man­tic dates and mak­ing girls cry,” she says. “Now I sit in a writ­ers room with some of the smartest peo­ple I’ve ever met and come up with sto­ries I love and work with th­ese great ac­tors. It’s my dream job.”

— Re­port­ing by Diana Cooper

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