Bachelor in Paradise Canada winner offers advice for new season hopefuls

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Any would-be contestants hoping to jump into the Bachelor TV ecosystem would do well to heed Brendan Morgan’s advice: “Be as honest as possible.”

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Morgan is half of the only surviving couple that emerged from the recent finale of Bachelor in Paradise Canada, an Edmonton model and yoga instructor who found true love with Angela Amezcua in front of the ubiquitous cameras, declaring as they embraced on a dock, “Paradise is for real — it really works!”

The reality show has now opened applications for its second season at citytv.com , where you can also watch the entire inaugural season. Filming at a top-secret resort is set for four weeks in May and June.

We’ll get to some of his advice for hopefuls and first-time contestants like him, but let’s get to know Morgan first.

Edmonton for the win

Before participating in the 10-episode contest to potentially find love, you wouldn’t exactly describe the 30-year-old as being a citizen of Bachelor Nation.

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“I watched it for fun with some of my exes,” he explains. “Laugh and make jokes, that was about it.

“But when I received an email from actually both of my agencies saying, ‘Hey, here’s a link to apply,’ I thought it would just be fun — a new experience, and something that I’ve never really done.”

By episode 10, amid a sea of rooster-bro drama and skimpy outfits blowing all around him, Morgan’s initial adventurous whim turned out to be authentically life-altering.

After he and Amezcua exchanged ritual roses and declarations of easy love, filming ended. Then Morgan, living in Edmonton for five years, took another plunge, signed a new lease, and now lives happily with Amezcua in downtown Toronto. “Well, except we’re going into another lockdown,” he laughs over the phone earlier this week.

Many of the 26 singles in the show’s first episode were alumni of earlier versions of the Bachelor and American Bachelor in Paradise, including Amezcua, born in Greenville, South Carolina, who’d already been on three different series.

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We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

A common thread of all contestants is fitness — those see-though button-up shirts on the boys! — and, to quote Zoolander, being at least in the neighbourhood of “really, really good looking” — a wide range here between rustic and plastic, to be sure.

Anyone opening the new casting call document will encounter basic questions including, ‘What are you looking for in a relationship? Why do you think you are the perfect candidate? What is the biggest personal challenge you’ve overcome?’ and, take a breath, ‘Are you ready to give or get a proposal of marriage?’

Leap of faith

“May as well take this chance,” thought Morgan, fresh out of a relationship when he applied early last year. “I wasn’t trying to sugar coat too much of anything. I shared terrible breakup situations and stuff like that,” he says.

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Again, he suggests just shooting straight. “Especially if you get selected for the show. If you’ve created this whole image, and then everything’s contrary to that …”

His own disclosures included that he’s a juggler, that his sister thinks he’s “too eager to dive into relationships,” that he flosses his teeth every night and that he, for real, has never tried coffee.

“Ange has tried to push it on me,” he laughs, “but I’ve still been able to avoid it.”

Willingness to comply to COVID-19 safety protocols is also imbedded in the form.

“Before we went on set we had to quarantine for two weeks straight. It was dreary, you’re all by yourself in a hotel. So when they actually let us out, everyone was just fully charged and ready to go,” he laughs.

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The call also demands a headshot and a full body shot, head to toe — no filters.

Brendan Morgan’s publicity shot for Bachelor in Paradise Canada.
Brendan Morgan’s publicity shot for Bachelor in Paradise Canada. Photo by Supplied /Postmedia

As a model, Morgan already had the professional pics. But when it came to making his audition video he went super D.I.Y.

“Not even with a tripod or anything, I just literally balanced my phone on a chair and filmed myself.”

You can tell he feels genuinely lucky to have met Amezcua during filming, even if it was in a pressure cooker situation where other guys were literally trying to wedge themselves in between.

Reviewing the finale, I faced palmed at least three times at some of the horrifying things people — to be fair, not the winning couple — did or said.

The reality of reality TV

But Morgan boldy notes, “A lot of what you see on the TV screen is not what actually happens. You have to be ready for that.

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“There’s so much more that happened, so much more context behind the whole situation being conveyed.”

How much of the action, then, happens without narrative interference?

“What’s happening is all pretty free flow, honestly,” he says. “They might very well come up to you and encourage you to do something, a direction they want things to go.

“But ultimately you have the right and the power to say no. That’s important.”

He notes that on reality TV, it’s always going to be a challenge to keep it real.

You could feel Morgan playing with this tension in the finale’s lookback, as all the contestants reviewed the season’s best and worst moments. Playing to the camera, he said he had a special announcement, then told everyone Angela was pregnant … which was completely not true.

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You could see host Jesse Jones sort of short circuit as this was revealed to be just a reality-TV in-joke.

“It was such a fun time, I’m not going to lie, just being in this new place with all these people who are attractive and fun and young,” says Morgan. “But at the same time, having a camera shoved in your face all the time gets old. Whether you admit it or not, you’re kind of selling the best version of yourself — or trying at least.”

In his case, though, the reward was reality — like, the real reality. And he’s grateful.

“Once they’re gone, you get to show different elements of yourself. It’s nice getting to learn different sides of Ange, just experience one another.”

Angela Amezcua and Brendan Morgan on the set of Bachelor in Paradise Canada.
Angela Amezcua and Brendan Morgan on the set of Bachelor in Paradise Canada. Photo by supplied

But the application still wonders, “Are you ready to give or get a proposal of marriage?”

Morgan laughs.

“We’re just taking things slow, taking it day by day.”

For those who think they’re up to the reality of reality TV, the  casting call for Season 2 is open until April. Find more information and the link to apply at citytv.com .

fgriwkowsky@postmedia.com

@fisheyefoto

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