Former ‘Bachelor’ Producer Naz Perez Recalls Ben Higgins’ Double ‘I Love You,’ ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Parrot and More

Despite what skeptics might think, many Bachelor producers are rooting for love stories — and Naz Perez is keeping the fight going years after working for the popular franchise.

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“When it comes to love, it’s not always up to us, you know, someone else has to want to be in a relationship with you too and that’s what’s so unpredictable and crazy,” Naz said on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast. “I think one of the most perfect examples of this was on Paradise when Ashley [Iaconetti] showed up and Caila [Quinn] was already there, and I think Jared [Haibon] had been on a date with her that day or was going to. But there’s a scene where Ashley is, like, yelling at this parrot. And I’m the parrot. … If you go back and watch that and you can reimagine what I was actually saying and not the parrot, I think that’s very indicative of how much we care is people making the show. Selfishly, it’s really good when you fall in love on the show for the brand. But unselfishly, I think, as humans and why this show is so successful is because we do want you to personally find it. And we do get to get really close with people for the same reason.”

She continued: “I started Heart Broken Anonymous because this concept of how we’re more willing to tell strangers how we actually feel is a real thing. And so [on The Bachelor] we get to meet these people who are away from their family and who just feel really safe, like, telling you how they actually feel.”

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Naz’s first season working for The Bachelor franchise was Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season of The Bachelorette. “So wild, like, looking back from our progressive lens,” she told Us about the decision to have the men pick between Kaitlyn and Britt Nilsson in 2015. “That was crazy. I mean, obviously, that was my first season, so I had no decision making.”

Kaitlyn! Ben! JoJo! Former ‘Bachelor’ Producer on the Show's ‘Golden Age’
Naz Perez and Ben Higgins. Rob Latour/Shutterstock; AFF-USA/Shutterstock

She went on to produce seasons 2 and 3 of Bachelor in Paradise, Ben Higgins’ season 20 of The Bachelor and JoJo Fletcher’s season 12 of The Bachelorette.

“I’m not trying to be biased, but I do feel as if I was part of the golden age [of The Bachelor],” she said with a laugh, naming Ashley and Jared, JoJo and Jordan Rodgers, and Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert as her favorite Bachelor couples.

“Jordan and JoJo are a couple that I go to frequently mentally because I feel like they really are the yin and the yang. They really are best friends,” she told Us. “They really do have so much fun together. And I am so happy that they met on this show.”

The “I Don’t Get It” podcast host, who doesn’t watch the show regularly anymore, went on to explain why the series is different in 2022. “Social media was just starting to be a thing, but I don’t think people had capitalized on getting all these followers and all this money when I had first started,” she said. “There was a sort of pureness I think to the seasons I was on, of course, not like 100 percent across the board, but I think for the most part it was really cool people [who] really just wanted to find someone else, or someone nominated them. And they were like, ‘F it, this can be a cool life experience.’”

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Ben, for his part, is regarded as one of the most popular Bachelors in history, despite coming under fire for telling both Lauren Bushnell and JoJo that he was in love with them.

“I wasn’t there when he proposed, but I, like, visually remember him being so upset sending JoJo home that day. And then proposing to Lauren, which he wanted to do,” she recalled. “It’s just like, ‘Whoa, the range of emotions.’ And that’s why the show is so incredible because to get that type of emotion, like real raw, authentic emotion on camera and to get to witness it is so rare.”

After producing five seasons of the Bachelor franchise — and Ben and Lauren’s short-lived reality show, Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After? — Naz shifted her focus to hosting and created Heart Broken Anonymous, a support group that offers a safe space for people experiencing overwhelming distress to connect and heal from life’s challenges.

“When I left working for The Bachelor, I met a stranger who was more comfortable telling me about their heartbreak than their own friends and family,” she explained, noting that attendees discuss relationships, miscarriages, racial injustice, loss, job heartbreak and more. “It’s really cathartic and therapeutic to be able to say how it is you’re actually feeling because you’re telling people who don’t know you in your own life. And so that is just one of the 1,000 benefits. It’s not a 12-step program like AA and Al-Anon, so it’s really you just come, you listen, share stories of heartbreak, remind yourself, you’re not alone. It’s always moderated by either me or one of our ambassadors. They last about an hour, an hour and a half. And then we end talking about things that we’re grateful for, so it’s not like this sort of pity circle.”

Los Angeles residents can attend an in-person meeting on Monday, February 14, (sponsored by Geojam) or Naz’s virtual Valentine’s Day meeting via HeartBrokenAnonymous.com.

For more from Perez, listen to Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast.

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