Sober On The Set Of ‘The Bachelor’

By Kelly Burch 09/01/17

“I just like to stay level-headed and have clear rational judgment and just like control over my own decisions. I don't ever want to weaken that by drinking.”

Taylor Nolan

Earlier this summer filming of the reality show Bachelor in Paradise was suspended after a contestant who was allegedly too drunk to consent was filmed in a sexual encounter.

The contestant Corinne Olympios has since come forward about the incident. “The first day, unfortunately, I don’t remember much of. I definitely overdrank,” she told host Chris Harrison. “I was also on some medication that you’re not supposed to drink on.”

She added, “I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault. It’s just a really unfortunate, annoying situation that had to go down.” 

Although the incident was extreme, it wasn’t wholly shocking on the set of the show that has a reputation for booze and partying. However, not everyone on the show is imbibing: in fact, one Bachelor in Paradise contestant is completely sober. 

"I've never had a drink on the show,” Taylor Nolan, 23, told Refinery 29

Nolan, who has a master’s degree in mental health counseling from John Hopkins University, revealed on her application that she never drinks, and that didn’t stop producers from wanting her on the show. 

Nolan once got tipsy once when she was 13, but says she's never had the desire to be drunk. “I really didn't like it. I didn't like the position it put some of my friends in when they would get really drunk,” she said. “I try to be really healthy in what I put into my body and making sure that it's nourishing me in some way, and I find alcohol doesn't do that at all.”

She also said that staying sober is a way to stay safe. “I also just feel like I'm already a young female who's very physically weak and vulnerable to being taken advantage of in multiple different scenarios,” she said. “I just like to stay level-headed and have clear rational judgement and just like control over my own decisions. I don't ever want to weaken that by drinking.”

While many people drink to cope with stress, Nolan said that she turns to music and talking when things get tough. 

On set, Nolan opts for ginger beer in her glass, and says that she fakes drinking her champagne during toasts. Although she said that being sober hasn’t been a detriment to her experience on The Bachelor, she was a bit nervous about coming to film Bachelor in Paradise

“I was scared that I would be doing everything alone and that [the other contestants would] be taking shots and doing all this stuff together, and I'd be totally irrelevant and miserable,” she said. “Thankfully, that didn't turn out to be my experience at all.”

In a previous season of The Bachelor, producers didn’t reveal that Nolan was sober, although her concerns about other contestants' drinking habits were brought up, as was her career as a counselor. 

“That’s where I have credibility because I've seen this stuff before,” she explained. “I'm not saying anything to be hurtful. I'm saying these things because I'm honestly concerned.”

Nolan said that she has no problem with other contestants, including potential boyfriends, drinking. She hopes that being open about sobriety on the show will empower other people to be confident in choosing not to drink if that’s what they want. She's gotten positive feedback from fans, she says, who have told her how empowering it is to see a sober person in the spotlight. 

“I think it comes down to your confidence level,” she said. “Just staying confident and knowing that honestly no one really cares what you're doing.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.