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‘The Bachelor’ star Zach Shallcross shares ‘cringe’ moments as his season airs

The past 12 months have been a complete whirlwind for Anaheim Hills native Zach Shallcross, and the bulk of his chaotic journey has been aired on national television.

The 26-year-old tech sales executive was chosen to be the star of the reality series, “The Bachelor,” which is currently airing its 27th season on ABC on Monday nights.

“I find it very difficult to watch myself, but I do watch everything,” Shallcross said during a recent video interview from his temporary home in Los Angeles. He’s currently splitting his time between a home in Austin, Texas, his family home in Anaheim Hills, and L.A. as he continues to fulfill filming obligations.

“I’ve watched every episode, every interaction and it’s like, ‘Huh? I sound like that?’ or ‘Wow, I say that word a lot,’” he admits. “You pick up on every little thing because everyone is their own biggest critic. It’s painful. I don’t like to watch with anybody, I just watch because I have to see how the show plays out episode to episode, but I do not enjoy it by any means. My family doesn’t even like to watch all of the time, (they say) ‘I don’t want to watch my son or brother be romantic, gross!’”

Anaheim Hills native Zach Shallcross (left) enjoys a dinner date in London, England with potential love interest, Gabi, during an episode of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” which aired on Feb. 20. (Photo by Craig Sjodin, ABC)

Anaheim Hills native Zach Shallcross toasts his love interests on the 27th season of ABC’s “The Bachelor.” (Photo by Craig Sjodin, ABC)

Anaheim Hills native Zach Shallcross (left) poses alongside “The Bachelor” host Jesse Palmer in front of ABC’s “The Bachelor” mansion in Agoura Hills ahead of season 27 of the show premiering on Jan. 23. (Photo by Craig Sjodin, ABC)

Anaheim Hills native Zach Shallcross (right) enjoys a date in The Bahamas with potential love interest Brooklyn during an episode of season 27 of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” which aired on Feb. 13. (Photo by Craig Sjodin, ABC)

Anaheim Hills native Zach Shallcross is the leading man on ABC’s “The Bachelor,” which is currently airing its 27th season. Shallcross was a contestant on season 19 of “The Bachelorette” last year, vying for the love of Rachel Recchia. (Photo by Nino Muñoz, ABC)

Anaheim Hills native Zach Shallcross poses with his potential love matches on ABC’s “The Bachelor,” which is currently airing its 27th season. Shallcross was a contestant on season 19 of “The Bachelorette” last year, vying for the love of Rachel Recchia. (Photo by Craig Sjodin, ABC)

Anaheim Hills native Zach Shallcross poses with his potential love interests during an episode of the 27th season of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” which aired on Feb. 6. (Photo by Craig Sjodin, ABC)

Anaheim Hills native Zach Shallcross is the leading man on ABC’s “The Bachelor,” which is currently airing its 27th season. Shallcross was a contestant on season 19 of “The Bachelorette” last year, vying for the love of Rachel Recchia. (Photo by Nino Muñoz, ABC)

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Shallcross was first introduced to the franchise during season 19 of “The Bachelorette” after being nominated by a friend who had appeared on the show. That season, which aired last summer, found Shallcross vying for the attention of Rachel Recchia, one of the two leading ladies on an unprecedented double-bachelorette season. Though he made it to the final three, he took himself out of the running and left the show during the “fantasy suites” episodes, saying that he felt uneasy about a future with Recchia after she brought up their age difference — he’s four months younger — as a concern.

ALSO SEE: What happened during the first episode of Zach Shallcross’ season of “The Bachelor”

Shallcross was announced as the newest bachelor during the taping of the “After The Final Rose” episode following the finale of “The Bachelorette.” On Jan. 23, Shallcross’ season premiered and he was suddenly standing in front of the Agoura Hills Bachelor Mansion alongside show host, former football player and season five leading man on “The Bachelor,” Jesse Palmer, ready to meet 30 women who’d signed up to be his potential wife.

Saying ‘yes’ to “The Bachelor”

Shallcross said that following his experience on “The Bachelorette,” he was hesitant to jump back into the franchise on “The Bachelor.” After walking away from Recchia, he said he went back to his regular life to process what he’d been through and the sudden fame — for better or worse — that came with appearing on a reality TV show. Producers reached out to say they were considering him; he mulled it over.

“On the bright side, it has worked in the past and there are successful relationships,” he said of the series, which has led to at least a handful of marriages. “I am someone who, if an opportunity presented itself, I’d rather trust it and pursue it than live with regret. There was a lot of back and forth, but I don’t need the show to settle down and find a partner — but what a cool opportunity it would be if it worked. And then you get swept up into it and you never know what to expect.”

With about a dozen women still trying to snag a rose from him on TV each week, Shallcross is unable to talk about who he did or didn’t choose. While we don’t know if he’s found true love, he said he’s learned a few valuable lessons about himself in this process.

“Looking back at how I was feeling in a lot of these crazy moments — like standing in front of the mansion on night one, meeting 30 women, going on these crazy dates, or handling some issues that would arise at times — I feel like, wow, I don’t know if you would have asked me a year prior if I could have handled that or not, or if I felt worthy enough to do something like that,” he said. “I was able to overcome it and be more confident. I have a feeling like I can do more than my mind initially thinks and that all leads to confidence, which is something I did not use to have at all. The show has given me a self-confidence that I’m very proud of and that includes watching myself shower and millions of people watching, too. I cringe, but the fact that I’m not hiding in a ball right now with that thought is a big step forward.”

He’s also trying to curb his use of the word “like” after noticing himself saying it in episodes. Plenty of viewers have pointed it out, too.

“I’ve taken the ‘like’ crown this season and I never realized it,” he said with a laugh. “I attribute it to the fact that it’s nerve-wracking and then there’s alcohol involved and you’re going to have these moments where there will be a handful of ‘likes,’ but I wish that were different.”

Who is Zach Shallcross

Shallcross, or “Zach the Snack,” as his potential suitors have dubbed him on the show, was born in Fullerton and raised in Anaheim Hills. His parents, Chapman and Megan, along with his two younger sisters, Sammy and Payton, appeared on episodes of “The Bachelor/Bachelorette.” In middle school, he played guitar in a rock band that had gigs at talent shows and in friends’ garages.

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“We’d come up with crazy rock names because we wanted to sound intimidating and cool, but that quickly dipped with high school coming around and sports picking up,” he said. “But I hold a soft spot for music always.”

He attended Servite High School in Anaheim and played offensive tackle for the Friars, the school’s football team. He continued to play football at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where he also earned a degree in business administration.

While in college, he worked concert security at shows ranging from a Luke Bryan gig to an EDM festival. The latter inspired him to begin DJing for friends at parties.

“I saw, like, headbanging EDM and I’d see how much fun everyone was having and it was such a party,” he said. “It looked like a blast and I wanted to replicate that because I knew I wasn’t going to be a killer guitar player anytime soon, but maybe I could spin some tracks at a house party.

“I started to try to produce my own music,” he said. “That was a [bad idea].”

What’s next for “The Bachelor”

While Shallcross is soaking up the experience leading up to the finale of the show, he’s still thinking about the future. Although being a reality TV star certainly has its perks and has opened up opportunities, he’s likely to go back to a “normal” life. During his time on “The Bachelorette,” he was able to keep his full-time job back in Austin and just take a leave of absence. When he took the gig as “The Bachelor,” he made the decision to leave since his obligations became more time-consuming, but he’s not closing the door on going back to tech sales.

“I have tons of friends, coworkers and executives that I know there and they’re all welcoming, so when that time does come and I’m able to start up again, I’m going to reach out to them,” he said. “But right now, it’s just dealing with all of these other opportunities and seeing what fits best.”

Fans of the show know that if stints on “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” don’t work out, there’s always “Bachelor in Paradise,” the televised offshoot where former contestants mingle beachside and have another shot at love.

“I don’t know about that one,” Shallcross responded with a laugh when asked if he didn’t happen to find love on “The Bachelor” whether he’d consider paradise.

The Shallcross family, including Zach’s uncle, “Seinfield” and “Rules of Engagement” actor Patrick Warburton, who joined the family during the hometown episode on “The Bachelorette,” have played an important part in his journey. He said they’re all supportive and are tight-lipped when it comes to spoilers, despite being bombarded by other family members, folks online and even people in the grocery store begging them for even the slightest bit of inside gossip.

“They’re iron-clad and won’t say a thing,” Shallcross said with a smile. “They are excited for me and they do like the element of surprise.”

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