Seinne Scenes Vol. 1: A Rose By Any Other Name

Each week, we’re recapping the latest Bachelor episode featuring Seinne Fleming, former Newport Beach resident and current Season 22 contestant vying for Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s love. Welcome to #SeinneScenes, everyone … 

If there’s any time my friends and I resemble the precision and ritualistic exactitude of a Japanese bullet train, it’s Monday at 8 p.m. When the clock strikes, we unwrap the cheese, uncork the Pinot and affix our eyes to the glossy television screen for two—sometimes three!—hours of unintentional tragicomedy as The Bachelor unfurls with wildly chimerical abandon and we wine-buzz our way through the entire 120+ minute thing.

This Monday night, during the Season 22 premiere, our routine was no different. Until suddenly, it was.

Weeks ago, I introduced you to Seinne Fleming, the smart, sharp, gorgeous contestant who once lived in Newport Beach. And yesterday, Seinne finally stepped out of the limo and into our reality-TV-obsessed lives in all her cut-out, maxi-dress glory. As expected, she’s amazing. 

Paul Hebert/ABC via Getty Images

For those unfamiliar with the show, the opening episode typically features the lead—in this case, 36-year-old race-car-driver-slash-real-estate-agent Arie—tugging his heartstrings between dozens of women all competing in the showdown for Arie’s lifelong affection. While determining this romantic victor, the Bachelor often walks empty, winding pathways in some Woody Allen-esque European town, utters generalizing voiceovers that contain chiffon-thin lines like, “I could picture my life with her … but also her …” and basically leaves us wondering whether this man will find true love at all. (If the Bachelor is particularly buff or fitness-prone, the initial weepy struggle is portrayed with a shirtless montage of said protagonist soap-scrubbing in the shower, looking toward the sunlit horizon of a corn field or leaning longingly against a balcony because yes, he is very thoughtful and also conflicted.)

Arie, however, seems different. He doesn’t have the bulging biceps or the washboard abs. While his locks are undeniably flowing, they’re peppered with gray, perhaps a feature left untouched to foreshadow the divergence between his role as a more sagacious Bachelor than the Bachelors of seasons past.

His responses to host Christ Harrison’s probing questions are also less plasticky or rehearsed; he was nervous, you could tell, and it made him completely relatable. Arie exudes a genuineness of spirit and a clearness in his goal for love: He has the career, the house, the cars and now, he just wants a family and someone to call his own. Like other Bachelors before him, his end-goal is sentimental and goopy but unlike former Bachelors, you get the sense he’s really ready to make it work.

Anyway, back to Seinne. There are exactly 29 contestants this season, Seinne among them. One notable woman is a ukulele-playing taxidermist from L.A. who sat in a tree and crooned to a dead, stuffed seal: “I love you seal, you are my friend, we’ll be together ’til my life ends, ’cause you’re already dead, you’ll be taxidermy, on this journey of love.”  

Another fed the homeless in San Diego. A third is a real estate agent who held a newborn baby in her arms and joked with prospective buyers about having one of her own someday. Four women are named Lauren.

✨Shimmying into 2018 like✨#NYE . . . . . dress: @itsnbd @fashionpass

A post shared by SEINNE FLEMING (@seinnefleming) on

Still, Seinne shines brighter. Sorry, we’re biased (we already admitted to shoving our journalistic integrity out the door for these recaps) but she just does. When she exited the limo to first meet Arie, you immediately knew she wasn’t one of those contestants sprinkled among the cast to fill a particular trope; the villain, the silly one, the one who has a strange predilection for dolphins, the violinist who isn’t there “for the right reasons.”

Seinne is the real deal, with a smile that’s movie-star perfect and a quiet, understated intelligence. As she greeted Arie, her hair was flawlessly curled, tucked behind one ear.

// Image: Instagram.com/seinnefleming

Seinne handed Arie a small elephant—”a symbol of good luck on the journey”—and reminded him that elephants never forget. He smiled, knowing as America did too, we wouldn’t need an elephant to remember Seinne.

“She’s beautiful,” Arie whispered after she disappeared into the mansion.

We don’t see too much more of Seinne for the rest of this episode; for a few brief seconds, she’s on-camera glancing at the girls, waiting to speak to Arie or convened with the other contestants as they chat about who’s cool and who’s out for rose-colored blood.

She does return stage center at the very end, when the contestants are lined up for the first rose ceremony to see who makes the cut. She’s noticeably tense, unsure if she’ll be chosen. The camera pans to her worried face among the women. (Editor’s Note: Seinne gathered with friends and family in Las Vegas to watch the first episode and we highly recommend her Insta story for a behind-the-scenes perspective and fun polls!)

// Image: Instagram.com/seinnefleming

“I thought there was a strong connection there,” she says to the camera in her first talking head interview. “I’m hoping I can stay and see where it goes from here.”

Moments later, he chooses her (duh). They embrace quickly and our #SeinneScenes column lives to see another week. And so too, on this Bachelor journey, does Seinne, who reappears onscreen and tells us, “This could be the start of something amazing.”