Alumnus Ian McKee searches for love on TV's Bachelorette
Ian McKee '98 may be listed as a "lost classmate" on his class's website, but Bowdoin grads need not look far to find him. One of Bowdoin's very own has made it onto ABC's hit reality show, The Bachelorette, this season.
The Bachelorette follows Meredith Phillips, a 30-year-old makeup artist from Los Angeles, in her quest for love on prime time television. Phillips appeared on last year's The Bachelor and was sent home disappointed. However, ABC gave her a second chance to find "the one."
The show opened with 25 eligible bachelors. Phillips gradually eliminates contestants until one remains. This lucky gent will then have to decide whether or not to propose. The men's ticket to the next round comes in the form of a red rose boutonniere, which Phillips presents during the Rose Ceremony at the end of each episode.
All of the bachelors reside in a mansion in California. Phillips communicates with the men by way of videos, which she uses to invite them to various group, one-on-one, and two-on-one dates. So far, they have enjoyed bowling, being in a rodeo, riding ATVs, watching a hockey game, and going to the zoo.
McKee has managed to remain in the running for the first three episodes, and Phillips has expressed interest in getting to know him better. In her diary on ABC's website, she says, "[Ian] seems sweet and easy to be around." It seems this particular Polar Bear has impressed the Bachelorette.
McKee majored in Economics and minored in Spanish while studying at Bowdoin. He was also a sports enthusiast; he was co-captain of the men's soccer team in 1997 and even holds school records for most career assists as well as for the 1997 season (11 and 6 respectively). McKee was also a member of the men's lacrosse team.
He studied abroad in Santiago, Chile. McKee belonged to the International Club as an underclassman as well. In an exclusive interview with the Orient, he made sure to say "Tell Bowdoin Security that I say 'hi.'"
McKee said that the show has "brought pockets of my past together." He said that old Bowdoin friends, co-workers, and friends from his high school, St. Paul's Boarding School in New Hampshire, are all watching the show. He worries that tabloids are contacting these people and asking for interviews.
Currently, the 29-year-old Brazil native is taking time off from working in equity research sales in New York City to travel the world and learn to surf and play the guitar. He became involved in the show after co-workers sent in an application for him to be on The Bachelor. After ABC contacted him, he declined the offer.
However, a year later, a number of factors worked together to make him agree to go on The Bachelorette. However, McKee said, "I didn't believe I was doing it even when I was there."
He added that watching the show now is surreal. "I couldn't stop laughing," he said. "It's like you were in a dream watching yourself. You're seeing your own mannerisms."
McKee said that it was a challenge to constantly be in front of cameras, especially with no performance experience. "You're just sitting there and have to think of something smart to say," he said.
McKee described the living arrangement as "a frat situation the entire time." He stressed that there was no outside stimulation, like radio, TV, or newspapers. McKee said, "[Editing] can make us all look bad, but these guys were pretty cool. I really like them all. All the dramatic stuff you see is the most dramatic."
He is currently vacationing in Hawaii and is worried about what will happen when he returns to New York. "I wonder how my relationships are going to change with family and friends," he said.
On the third episode, McKee got a chance to prove his charm when Phillips invited him to the coveted one-on-one date in Los Angeles's Chinatown. McKee earned the date because he proved to be most compatible with Phillips according to a psychological test all the men took. Phillips confessed to McKee, "I honestly was hoping [it was you]."
The pair went to a parade, where the gallant McKee protected Phillips from the Chinese dragons, and took a rickshaw ride that carried them in style to an authentic restaurant. During their discussion at dinner, McKee revealed that he came into the show "looking for a girlfriend" but wants to eventually get married and have children. Phillips was willing to go along with this, saying to the cameras, "He has a lot of the qualities that I'm looking for."
McKee felt the same connection, which he described as "great energy between the two of us." The date climaxed with a suave kiss and a cheesy rendezvous at a wishing well, where McKee said he "wished for more time with Meredith."
In a never-before-seen occurrence, Phillips offered an extra rose during Wednesday's Rose Ceremony, and Ian was the first to be offered a rose, meaning he will be on the next episode.
Will Phillips present McKee with the last rose and her hand in marriage? McKee could be the last man standing and break the Bowdoin tradition of wedding other alums.
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