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San Clemente Journal

Local Dude Competes for “The Bachelorette”

Dec 06, 2019 09:44AM ● By Rebecca Parsons

Grant baffles Hanna on his entrance, bringing a bottle of mustard.

by Rebecca Parsons

Grant Eckel is a San Clemente guy, through and through...His family moved to town in the early ‘90s, he attended San Clemente high school, and he is proud to call our seaside town his home. 
When he began his post school career, he moved to the Newport Beach/ Costa Mesa area until his company was bought out and he was part of a mass layoff. Suddenly finding himself unemployed, he was forced to move back in with his parents during his time of transition. 
While most would begin sending out resumes, Eckel took a detour and applied for ABC’s The Bachelorette. Much to his surprise, he was selected and found himself competing for Hannah Brown’s heart in the show’s 15th season. We caught up with Eckel and got the inside scoop on one the most watched shows in America. 

What inspired you to go out for the show?
When I was in the process of being laid off and moving out of my place, I was going through some boxes and I found a business card that was left at a table at a restaurant in Newport Beach about five years prior. The card was for a recruiter for a TV show and my friends Goggled the lady and she actually did work for The Bachelor/The Bachelorette franchise.

I didn’t really think anything of it at the time but when I found it five years later and opened the box, the card was sitting right on top. I was driving home thinking, ‘I’m thirty years old. I just got laid off. I’m moving back to my parent’s house. I’m taking steps back in life. This is not how I pictured my life at thirty years old. So I applied for the show and I got offered the opportunity of a lifetime.

What was your impression the first night at the mansion?
Not many people can say ‘I’ve lived in The Bachelor/Bachelorette mansion.’ It was a really wild experience and an amazing opportunity. It was very well put together, the staff was really nice, the group of guys were great, and the house itself was in a beautiful spot. 
What was your favorite date?

My favorite one was the photo shoot we did, where I had a snake around my neck.  That was fun but I’m scared of snakes-I’ve been scared of snakes my whole life. Hannah asked me what kind of animals I was scared of and I told her I hate snakes. 

We showed up at this photo shoot with wild animals and here I am with a snake around my neck. The instructor told me the snake was more afraid of me than I was of it. When you’re shown direction of what to do and what not to do, its fine. That was probably my favorite date but the Highland Games in Scotland were awesome and the rugby match was pretty entertaining. 

Where did you travel during your time on the show?
We went to Newport, Rhode Island (that’s where the rugby match was). And then I went all the way to Scotland and that’s where I got let go. Scotland was my favorite-it’s a beautiful country. It’s really cold but it’s gorgeous and it has lots of rolling green hills. 
Do you have a favorite moment from the show?

There were a lot of them. I was gone for 27 days so there were a lot of good memories that were made along the road. You spend 27 days with a bunch of strangers and by the end of it you become pretty close friends and you know everything about them and they know everything about you. 

Hannah and I had our first kiss in the castle in Scotland-that was a cherish-able moment. And just living in the mansion with the guys was fun. In our off time, we’d all workout together, hangout, cook, and stuff like that. 

Were the relationships on the show real/genuine?
The guys were all really genuine. We were all there to see if this girl, Hannah, was compatible. I was there to see if this girl was someone I could see myself with or build something with. 
From the get go, what I liked about Hannah was that she was real, she was straight on, she was quirky, and really fun. I got to see her a lot more than they show on TV so there was a lot more behind the scenes that I got to see of her and how real and fun she was. I can be a goofy and quirky guy at times and I like to joke and she has that kind of personality. So in the beginning that’s what I was drawn to. She’s wasn’t trying to impress anybody she was just like this is who I am, either you either like me or you don’t.

What was it like watching the show back home with your friends and family?
It was pretty sensational while the show was running. I would go out to a bar and people would be like, ‘Hey that’s Grant, the unemployed guy!’ We had viewing parties with my family and friends. It was a really great opportunity the first night and all ten weeks that the show was rolling. When we leave the show and it comes out we have no clue how they edit the show, so we’re seeing it with the rest of America when they’re watching it.