Finally ready for a rose? Bachelor contestant Salley Carson raised a few eyebrows in September 2021 when eagle-eyed fans noticed she was engaged to Avery Buchholz shortly before leaving to film the ABC series.
As news broke that the former football player would be at the helm for season 26, ABC teased potential suitors who were ready to vie for Clayton Echard‘s heart. That same month, Reality Steve learned that Salley, who was listed as one of the 31 women on the season, was engaged and celebrating her bachelorette party one month prior to jetting off to Los Angeles to film The Bachelor.
The 26-year-old Southern belle toasted to her wedding in Mexico in August 2021, according to photos from her friends. Salley, for her part, doesn’t have any pictures from the weekend on her social media pages. She did, however, lean into her past relationship status listing “previously engaged” as her profession on her ABC bio.
“Salley is a real-life Meredith Grey looking for her McDreamy,” her bio reads. “[She] keeps a tight circle of friends that she likes to have dinner and drinks with but is a career-focused girl who is usually in bed by 11 p.m.”
Salley is described as “religious, family-oriented and adventurous.” When it comes to what she wants in a future partner, she identified a man “who is loyal, fun and willing to give her lots of attention because, why lie? She loves it!”
During the January 2022 premiere, fans watched Salley meet Clayton before the official limo entrances as she debated whether she was ready to be on the ABC series. She told the lead that she called off her previous engagement due to a “lack of trust,” but ultimately turned down Clayton’s offer for an early rose.
“I think she followed her heart and did what she thought was best,” Clayton said on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast at the time. “I mean, that’s a question for her to be like, ‘Do you regret that decision?’ I don’t know, but I think in that moment, she felt that was the right way to go about it. To say, ‘Hey, listen, I’m not fully invested or mentally, I’m not here 100 percent, so I have to walk away.’ I respected her decision.”
He added that he didn’t see her past engagement — which ended weeks before the show began filming — as a “red flag.”
“People saw two minutes [of] a conversation or whatever on TV, but we talked for over an hour. And you gotta remember — or keep this in mind — she came to me instead of just going home. She showed up to my hotel room and it’s like, ‘Why would she do that?’” he explained. “And then that’s what she expressed to me. She’s like, ‘You know what? I came here thinking I was over it. I’m not sure now, but meeting you makes me feel like maybe I can look past that.’ I really liked what I saw of her. She was very genuine, cute. For a first impression, I liked what I saw. And so, I thought, ‘Hey, if I give her a rose, then she can go into night one [with] a relaxed mindset, not as fearful, not as nervous. And maybe after a few days, she’ll be able to kind of move beyond that state of mind that she was in.”
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