The Bachelor producer weighs in
Jessica Nahmias gets real about working in reality television
For someone who spends almost all her time behind the camera working on the biggest shows in reality TV, producer and director Jessica Nahmias grew up thinking she belonged in front of the camera.
“When I was researching what kind of universities to go to for undergrad, at the time I said, ‘Oh, I want to go to theatre school,’ ” Nahmias recalls.
Theatre and performance had played a role in her life all throughout her childhood. Nahmias spent some time in the Thornhill-based theatre company CharActors, ran theatre camp at the Richmond Hill Country Club day camp and sang in the jazz choir at Thornhill Secondary School.
“There are so many places in that Thornhill community that helped cultivate my passion for this industry and also gave me the experiences that led me to the road I’m on,” Nahmias says.
Her dad told her to pursue another more academic degree before going to theatre school, so Nahmias found herself in the media, information and technoculture program at Western University, which led to a newfound interest in entertainment news.
Nahmias decided to pursue a master’s degree in broadcast journalism at Syracuse University, leading her to work in the development department at Extra for a year. She says the experience was great, but she realized entertainment news wasn’t for her.
“I felt like I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I felt like I would have to only talk about gossip, which really didn’t interest me,” Nahmias says.
She then found herself in a position where she was being offered an on-camera job in Palm Springs or a producing job on a reality show in L.A.
“There was a crossroads where it was choosing this same path or reality TV. And I thought I could tell more real stories and more interesting stories in the reality TV scene,” she says.
The move led Nahmias to some of the biggest reality TV shows of today: she has worked as a producer on The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise; TLC’s Love at First Kiss; Spike’s Bar Rescue and Bravo’s Yours, Mine or Ours.
“I get to meet amazing people from all walks of life and get to share their personal stories with the world, and I find that super intimate,” she says.
Most recently, Nahmias has taken on a new challenge — working as the series producer and director of Gusto’s Where to I Do?, a reality show centred around helping couples find their perfect wedding venue.
“It’s a beautiful challenge,” Nahmias says. “It’s so exciting to be able to not just tell the story from a producing perspective, but also tell it from a visual perspective.”
The challenges of reality TV for Nahmias are often more practical ones than anything else. “I need sunlight. I need no rain, weather, wind, sirens, leaf blowers.… It’s still a real environment, and I have to contend with all of that,” she says.
Nahmias also says, with reality TV, there is the added challenge of so much footage and so little time.
“There are three things you have to be considering: what were the best moments, what was the most authentic and time because that’s just a very real thing.”
Although Nahmias says reality TV production is a lot of long hours and hard work, she says she would never trade it for a desk job.
“It’s always a grind no matter what show you’re on, but you get to make TV! How cool is that? How is that even a job?”
Nahmias has worked as a producer on ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Bachelorette’