This season on “The Bachelor,” it’s all about the Benjamin: Ben Higgins, second runner-up on the recent Kaitlyn Bristowe “Bachelorette,” who begins a new search for love Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. on ABC/7.
The 6-foot-4 Peter Brady look-alike, who was 26 when the season shot, had confessed to Bristowe that after a bad breakup, “My biggest fear, I guess, is the idea that we could be not loved back or maybe possibly unlovable.” And while getting rejected by her in favor of runner-up Nick Viall and winner Shawn Booth wouldn’t have helped that insecurity, Bristowe herself said afterward she was “not worried about that guy at all. Not at all. He’s amazing.”
In a conference call with reporters, the Warsaw, Indiana, native — now an account manager at the software company Talisys in the Denver suburb of Golden, Colorado — affably acknowledged that, “I respected Kaitlyn a lot and I enjoyed my time with her. But I think when it comes to this season, I was looking for somebody to have their own individual characteristics,” adding that, “I can’t say I was looking for any certain type of person.”
The 28 women competing on this 20th season include Amber James and Becca Tilley — a contestant and the runner-up, respectively, on the previous season of “The Bachelor” — and Las Vegas twins Emily and Haley Ferguson. Two, Lace Morris and Leah Block, are from the Denver area, where Higgins lives, but that doesn’t appear to be a factor for him.
“As far as am I looking for a woman to move to Denver or not, I mean, I love Denver, it’s an incredible place to live and I have roots here and I have a good friend-group here,” he said. “I would really love if a woman would move to Denver. But I’m not going to force it. And I think I’m still open to whatever stage or step is next for us. If she feels strongly about a different city or if a woman in my life feels like we need to move away from Denver, then I’m open to it. I want to make sure that this conversation happened with us and not just me saying, ‘Yes, you have to do this.’ ”
Religious faith might matter more. The 2012 Indiana University grad was the student association’s director of faith-based affairs, and one summer interned for a church program. His Twitter-page description, “sweetly broken, wholly surrendered,” are lyrics from a song by Christian-music artist Jeremy Riddle. And he has a tattoo of a Bible verse. “I would really like to find a woman to have a similar faith as I do,” he said. “I think that’ll be important as we raise a family as we move forward in life.”
As for that whole “unlovable” thing, “It’s a very real insecurity of mine,” he said. But, he assured, “I’m ready to be loved and to feel that love back.”