'The Bachelor' JuanPablo Galavis remembers Rochester fondly

05:00 AM, Jan 31, 2014

Juan Pablo Galavis, star of this season's The Bachelor, remembers his time at Roberts Wesleyan College and Rochester fondly. (Craig Sjodin/ / Photo provided by ABC)/


Written By Jinelle Shengulette

If you watch

What:
The Bachelor.
When: 8 p.m. Mondays.
Where: ABC, WHAM-TV (Channel 13).

When former Rochester resident JuanPablo Galavis was asked to become the next star of ABC’s The Bachelor, it was not an easy decision for him to make.

Taping the show would mean time away from Camila, his 4-year-old daughter with ex-girlfriend and Venezuelan actress Carla Rodriguez. And he dreaded the show’s rose ceremonies, where he’d be sending one or more of the 27 female contestants home every week.

Galavis knows how it feels to be on the other side of the rose. He was a contestant on Season 9 of The Bachelorette. Audiences watched Desiree Hartsock send him home after six episodes.

In the end, though, Galavis signed up for Season 18 of The Bachelor, because, simply put, he’s looking for love.

You can meet somebody in a club or restaurant, and maybe she is not on the same page as me. In this case, there were 27 different options, and they knew who I was and what I wanted … that I want more kids and a family,” said Galavis during a recent phone interview from Los Angeles.

TV’s newest Bachelor was born in Ithaca and moved to Venezuela with his family when he was 2 years old. In high school, his mother sent out college applications to the United States for the aspiring soccer player.

On Christmas Day 1997, the Galavis family received a call from Coach Greg Gidman at Roberts Wesleyan College.

Luckily, I had a friend who spoke English at the house, and we spoke with (Gidman) and he was very interested,” Galavis says, in having him visit. Galavis arrived in Rochester in summer 1998 to train for one week with the soccer team and visit the campus. He then decided to enroll in the college in Chili.

My soccer team was fantastic,” he says. “We went to three out of four national tournaments at the time, so soccer and my friends that I have (to) this day were definitely the best thing about Rochester — and Nick Tahou at night.”

After spending four years in Rochester, Galavis returned to Venezuela to play professional soccer. Today, he is a sports and music consultant living in Miami.

Galavis has already experienced controversy, and it has nothing to do with his behavior with any of his dates on the show.

He apologized after telling a journalist that he didn’t think a gay or bisexual bachelor would set a good example for kids and used the phrase “pervert, in a sense” to describe gay men.

Galavis afterward said he used the wrong words because of his language barrier. He meant the relationships could be too intense for The Bachelor in today’s TV environment, not that there was something wrong with a gay lifestyle.

Galavis is the first minority Bachelor in 17 years of the show.

I think it’s great to be the first one of something and be in the light. I can be seen as an American, but also, the Latin community can join me in this adventure,” Galavis says. “But I don’t feel like I’m a minority, I’m just Juan Pablo, the guy you saw on The Bachelorette.”

Before signing on for Season 18 of The Bachelor, Galavis had never watched an episode of the show. To date, he has only watched the handful of episodes that have aired for his season.

The episodes have provided him the opportunity to watch how the 27 female contestants acted when he wasn’t around.

Does he have a different opinion of them now?

Obviously, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, look at that girl! What is she thinking?’ Things like that,” Galavis says. “But it’s part of it. … I know the process; I know how hard it is.”

Galavis says the rose ceremonies were the hardest part about filming The Bachelor, as well as the nervousness he felt when the first limo — full of female contestants waiting to meet him — pulled up to the mansion.

The nerves soon faded, though, and he was able to focus on the ladies vying for his attention and have fun with it.

Did Galavis find love in the end? He says we’ll have to wait until March’s season finale to find out.