If there’s any time my friends and I resemble the precision and ritualistic exactitude of a Japanese bullet trail, it’s Monday at 8 p.m. When the clock strikes, we unwrap the cheese and uncork the Cabernet. Then we affix our eyes to the glossy TV screen for two—sometimes three!—hours of romantic mishaps and milestones as The Bachelor unfurls with wildly dramatic abandon and we wine-buzz our way through the entire 120+ minute thing.
On a warm-ish Monday night almost one year ago, just as Season 22 was about to premiere, our routine was no different. Until suddenly, it was. Among the 29 hopefuls competing for Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s love was Seinne Fleming of Newport Beach, who elegantly stepped out of the limo and into our reality-TV-obsessed hearts. As expected of a Newport local, she was amazing.
Well before she uttered a single word, Seinne separated herself from the pack. The Yale alumna—she graduated in 2012 with a degree in economics—spent several weeks in college studying at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro and years before in 2007, won Miss Teen Long Beach.
While some contestants had job titles that read something like “dog lover” or “social media participant,” Seinne worked in commercial real estate, (and still does), flexing her #GirlBoss grit with high-end developers and brokers across Southern California.
But this story isn’t about The Bachelor. It’s about Seinne. Since departing the show, (Arie sent her home during a truffle hunt and pizza-making date in Tuscany), Seinne has bloomed like the rose she never received. She relocated to Los Angeles and found herself a new love, sharing regular life updates on Instagram (@seinnefleming) with her 119,000 followers.
She still dabbles in TV, and appeared on the first episode of The Bachelor this year from a watch party in Lansing, Mich. “I was literally there for 26 hours from the time I landed to when I was back on the plane,” she tells me. “But everyone at the party was really nice.”
All’s well that ends well with Arie, too; Seinne and her beau Doug Fillmore recently traveled to Hawaii for the former Bachelor’s (untelevised) wedding to contestant Lauren Burnham.
With her Bachelor past tucked like an unread fantasy suite card behind her, Seinne can reflect objectively about the experience. “I didn’t go on with any agenda, really,” she says. “If anything, I went on with the agenda to be a positive light and be a good, positive role model not just for black girls but for girls, period. I wanted to show myself in a way that represents me.”
As the season unfolded, Seinne tuned in for every episode. “You know what happened each week and you know who went home and who had the date, but you don’t know exactly what happened on every date and you don’t know how [the producers] are going to edit it,” she says. Luckily, Seinne was satisfied with how producers portrayed her. “There was one time I said something I hoped didn’t go on air and it didn’t. I was OK with my edit,” Seinne explains.
She’s also more than OK with her unedited life in L.A., and says she’d be happy to return to the bucolic, rolling-hills beauty of Tuscany with Doug.
“I studied abroad in Italy,” she tells me. “It’s so funny, when I was in Italy on my date, I made a joke when we first got there and said, ‘Well, If I get sent home, I’ve flown home from Italy once before, I can do it again.’ I’d already created memories there, so it wasn’t like Italy was ruined at all for me.”
Seinne’s sanguinity is like a breath of fresh, smog-less air, and she’s even upbeat when offering advice to singles navigating the romantic quagmire of dating in L.A. and Newport Beach. “Online dating can be a great way to meet people,” she says, adding that her own dating strategy was pretty straight-forward. “Don’t drag it out if you know for sure it’s not a match,” Seinne explains. “When I lived in Orange County, I went on probably three or four dates that were first dates and I let them know, ‘Thank you for taking me out but I don’t think you’re a good fit.’ It’s good for your conscience and karma to be honest with yourself.”
For Seinne, love is important but finding it should never be all-consuming. “You have to live your life,” she says. “Definitely put yourself out there—don’t think your Prince Charming is going to knock on your door—but know that you’ll attract someone when you’re feeling your best and doing the things you want to do.”
Still, Seinne says there’s no secret formula for love, and for those eschewing the online dating game, she recommends having friends introduce you to their boyfriend’s friends.
“Or go on The Bachelor?” I ask her, and she laughs. The sound is warm and bright, without a whisper of regret or remorse.
“Yes,” Seinne admits. “You can always go The Bachelor.”