SUBMITTED PHOTO - Lauren Bushnell, a 2008 West Linn High School graduate, is one of 28 contestants competing for Ben Higgins' affections on The Bachelor.

Entering its 20th season, “The Bachelor” is one of the most popular reality TV shows of all time. The show, which premiered Monday, Jan. 4 on ABC, contains a little more intrigue for West Linn residents this season, as 2008 West Linn High School graduate Lauren Bushnell is one of 28 contestants vying for the love of this year’s “Bachelor,” Ben Higgins.

While the first episode only just aired, filming for the show has already ended, with the winner and results under wraps until the season’s conclusion. That’s meant that Bushnell has been under contractual obligation to withhold information regarding the show from the public until Monday’s airing.

“Beyond just seeing commercials and previews it was the first time I’d watched myself on TV, which isn’t something I thought I’d ever do,” Bushnell told the Tidings following the premier episode. “It’s definitely weird to watch yourself on TV knowing millions of people are watching as well.”

For those unfamiliar, the show is essentially a game aimed at finding love. Twenty-eight women, including Bushnell, will go through a variety of dates, group activities and ceremonies throughout the season in hopes of winning Higgins’ heart. At the end of each episode Higgins awards a specified number of roses to those contestants he wants to keep around for another week, with those that are left out being eliminated from contention. The premier sent seven girls packing, leaving the total number of remaining contestants at 21.

The show, which is scheduled to conclude in the middle of March, leads up to the final four women, who are awarded “hometown dates” where Higgins accompanies each contestant to the place she grew up to meet her family. That means, should Bushnell advance that far, West Linn will be prominently featured on national network television most likely toward the end of February or beginning of March.

Bushnell says she’s already received a great deal of support from the local community, as well as fans of the show. She says her number of followers on Instagram shot up to more than 15,000 after the conclusion of the season premier, and that she’ll have to spend much of the week responding to texts and calls from friends and family.

“I would say 98 percent of people are nothing but supportive, which is weird but also so kind,” Bushnell says. “You also get the very random negative feedback, but I would say for the most part my friends and family have been nothing but supportive.”

To read more about what Bushnell has to say about the first episode, her overall experience on the show, and to see more photos, pick up the Thursday, Jan. 7 edition of the Tidings.

Contact Andrew Kilstrom at 503-636-1281 ext. 112 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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