“I was the ‘boring Bachelor’ until I wasn’t in the last three episodes,” Clayton, 29, said on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast. “I hated the word boring because I had an insecurity of not feeling good enough when I was younger and always being a people-pleaser … It stung when I was called the ‘boring Bachelor,’ but what I found out was I would rather be known as the ‘boring Bachelor’ than known as the piece of you know what or the d-bag Bachelor or [a] terrible human being. I’d rather people just call me boring than start to attack my character.”
The 180 Degrees: On Mental Health, Mindfulness, and Unlocking Self-Belief author recalled his conversation with Zach, 26.
“I said, ‘Hey, being the ‘boring Bachelor,’ it’s not fun, but if you’re confident in who you are, it won’t sting you as much as it did me. You’ll be a lot happier to walk away with a genuine love connection or with just an experience being known as boring than being absolutely thrown [and] fed to the wolves and torn apart and going through this mental struggle of people telling you to kill yourself and all this negativity,’” he explained. “I’m like, ‘Dude, be boring. You’ll be so grateful to be boring at the end of it.’”
Clayton also agreed that Bachelor Nation can be hard to satisfy.
“If you took the negative comments from what he’s getting and my negative comments and you mixed them up and then I threw ’em out there and said, ‘Do you think this came toward Zach [or] toward me?’ You wouldn’t be able to tell. They’re literally the exact same thing,” he said. “[And] our stories are exactly the opposite right now, from a TV standpoint, and yet it’s all the same.”
While fans know that Clayton’s season took a dramatic turn when he fell in love with his three finalists — and slept with two of them — Zach has been quick to send home any “villains” and declared his season was a drama-free, “no bulls—t” edition of the show that ends in a “real” love story. Clayton told Us that there’s a lot of reasons someone can be deemed a “boring” lead.
“There have been leads in the past that were super calculated, [who] know all the ins and outs and they played that game of, ‘How can I best put myself out there where I can look my best? I’ll do whatever it takes.’ And that calculation can be turned into boring. It can be boring, or it’s just read by an audience where they’re like, ‘This isn’t authentic,’” Clayton told Us, adding that some former leads have been accused of “working” with producers. “They were super calculated and as time goes, [fans are] like, ‘What we saw on TV versus who you are different people.’ … After my season, I talked to more than a few men that had come off [the show] and they were like, ‘I don’t want anything to do with that because after what you went through, I don’t wanna subject myself to that.’ … I think this is a very safe season right now with Zach. He’s doing it very well. But you see what happens when they’re not reckless — I mean, I wasn’t purposely reckless — but when you’re playing it safe, it doesn’t translate to entertaining often.”
Clayton added that “everybody thinks drama” when they think of The Bachelor, despite some fans insisting on wanting a love story. He also wouldn’t be surprised if people started turning down the gig more and more.
“I don’t really think anyone really thinks of a love story, honestly. I mean, there are some that come out of it. … But most times when people think of The Bachelor, they think, ‘Good looking people that are dramatic.’ And that’s kind of what the show is,” he said. “If you want that, though, you gotta allow people to make mistakes without basically putting them out on the chopping block and feeding them to the wolves. And that’s where it’s become so nasty online. I think you’re seeing more people that are like, ‘I don’t really want to be the next lead or whatever because I don’t want to subject myself to this because why would I?’ The influencer age is dying on top of that. … The risk isn’t worth the reward [anymore]. Why would I get ripped to shreds for a couple brand deals that might pay my bills for a year?”
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For more from Clayton, listen to Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast. The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.