Sex & Gender

Can a Miamian Win The Bachelor? Nicole Lopez-Alvar's Heart Is in Havana

ABC/Rick Rowell
Update, 1/15/19: Nicole Lopez-Alvar received a rose during Monday's episode, so her journey to find true love on national television continues next week.

Producers of The Bachelor have a sweet spot for South Florida. Over the nearly 17 years the ABC show has been on the air, there have been plenty of, uh, memorable cast members who hail from the Miami area.

There was Corinne Olympios, who, at the time she appeared on the series, was a 24-year-old with a nanny and a lot of enthusiasm for bounce houses. There was Bryan Abasolo, the chiropractor with a loud kissing habit and a mother who joked about killing the bachelorette (hilarious).

And there was Juan Pablo "It's OK" Galvais, who had the distinction of being the most hated bachelor of all time until last year's suitor, Arie Luyendyk Jr., invited a camera crew to join him as he told his fiancée he was ditching her for the runnerup.

Now, Nicole Lopez-Alvar is one of the 30 women hoping to get a Neil Lane engagement ring from virgin/former NFL player Colton Underwood. And New Times has a particular affection for her, because for this publication she wrote about everything from the best places to go stoned to the five best burlesque nights in Miami. Now we know why she hasn't returned our calls.

The show returns to the air tonight after kicking off last week with an absurd, three-hour spectacle of a premiere that included live shots of proposals at watch parties around the country and way too many virgin jokes.

To recap: Lopez-Alvar, a 25-year-old University of Miami grad, made her debut early in Episode 1 as one of a few lucky ladies selected for an intro reel. "Being single when you are relatively attractive, it is hard because there are so many singles in Miami," she says. (MUST BE HARD, NICOLE!) "So when I go out, you're not going to meet eligible bachelors. They're part of that hookup culture. I'm looking for the real deal."

Cut to Lopez-Alvar explaining how important her family is to her. She shows a photo of Underwood to her abuela and declares he's better looking than Brad Pitt (no). She tells the camera about her love for her twin brother, who is on the autism spectrum.

The next time we see her, she's stepping out of a limo to meet the bachelor for the first time. Proudly Cuban-American, she tells him in Spanish: "Half of my heart is in Havana, but hopefully the other part is with you." Underwood, who is Wonder Bread personified and named for the Indianapolis Colts, squints and tells her he likes the way that sounds but needs a translation.

Seemingly a million years later, after a woman who showed up in a sloth suit has revealed herself, and after the other South Florida native, Fort Lauderdale DJ Catherine Agro, has been firmly established as this season's villain, the first rose ceremony is imminent.

Lopez-Alvar is in tears. She frets she didn't get enough time with Underwood to make an impression. "I feel like I could be going home tonight because Catherine talked to him four times and took the time away from all of us," she says.

Instead, she gets a rose. (Agro gets one too, on the orders of the producers, probably). So our girl will be around for at least another episode of what host Chris Harrison will inevitably dub the most dramatic season ever, which previews suggest includes some sort of runaway-bachelor situation. (Like, literally, at one point, Underwood jumps a fence and runs away in a huff.)

It's anyone's guess how far Lopez-Alvar will go. The Bachelor's extremely vigorous contracts and nondisclosure agreements prevent her from discussing any of the details of what went down at the Bachelor Mansion. She appears only briefly in the preview for this week's episode — one of the other women yells, "You're a liar, Nicole!" — which could mean trouble.

But she quickly garnered a fan base on Twitter:
On tonight's episode, which somehow includes Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, and Billy Eichner, Underwood has eight of his girlfriends get onstage in front of an audience and "share personal stories about their 'firsts,'" according to a promo. Lopez-Alvar is apparently one of the women selected for this terrible superfun date.
click to enlarge ABC/RICK ROWELL
ABC/Rick Rowell
Will she make it through an episode without crying? Will she find dating on reality TV easier than dating in Miami? Will she get one step closer to that Neil Lane ring and ABC-sponsored wedding? Tune in tonight to find out!

The Bachelor airs at 8 p.m. tonight, Monday, January 14, on ABC.