With Valentine’s Day less than a month away it is no surprise that romance, or at least the desire for romance, is in the air.
On Tuesday men from all over the Vancouver area cleaned up well and headed to a downtown hotel for an open casting call for the new Bachelorette Canada reality dating show.
Set to start shooting this spring, the show will hit the W Network in the fall.
James Hanson, a 30-year-old youth worker on Vancouver’s Eastside, has been in the city for a year and figures this experience combines two things he likes: reality TV and standing out in a crowd.
“I enjoy it, watching them on TV. I’m kind of embarrassed by it,” said Hanson about his reality TV appetite.
“ I sit at home and wonder, ‘Why not me? Why can’t I be that guy on the show?’
“I enjoy the spotlight. I’ve always been that guy that likes to get out there and be in front of crowds and stuff,” added Hanson, who has applied in the past for Amazing Race Canada.
“I like putting myself out there.”
Putting yourself out there is a key component to landing one of the 20 spots men will fill at the beginning of the brand new show.
“You have to be prepared to be open, generous and candid with your story,” said Claire Freeland, the show’s executive producer.
“You’ve got to communicate. You’re on television you have to be prepared to express yourself. So wallflowers, it can be a bit tricky for them.”
Mani Ayoughi will have no problem in that department. He’s a good-looking, confident 30-year-old who runs his own online marketing company and knows what he wants.
“I’m looking for first of all a good-looking woman. Tall, because I’m 6-6,” said Ayoughi who moved to Vancouver from Florida just four months ago.
“I want to be with someone who is settled, and educated is important. We have to find our mates, at the end of the day. But ... this will be fun. Maybe I will find it, maybe not.”
For Vancouver Board of Trade executive Mike Plumb, 26, the journey to this, the first of six casting calls across the country, began at the insistence of a close workmate.
“She thinks I’m a really nice guy,” said Plumb, who like Hanson and Ayoughi has tried various dating sites and apps.
“I’m pretty open to try anything, so I have tried a lot. I have never had a problem meeting someone and going out, but nothing has stuck. I don’t know if my hopes are too high.”
While the ball is firmly in the yet-to-be-named Bachelorette Canada’s court, Hanson has done the homework (hours of TV) and knows what to do — “make her the main focus” — and what not to do — “don’t drink too much.”
He feels if he can just get a seat at the table he can prove he is worth a big bouquet of roses.
“I have layers,” said Hanson, grinning from ear to ear. “I am a hopeless romantic. I am always out there trying to find love.”
And really, at the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about?
“We always say the best thing about the show is there is no prize,” said Freeland, who has worked both of the Bachelor Canada shows.
“The prize isn’t a thing. It’s love. It’s totally universal, it is something we can all relate to.”
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