Sophie Monk’s courage to put herself out there is exactly why we love her

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During the Logies on Sunday, Sophie Monk announced via Instagram that she was the next Bachelorette. There’s no word yet on when the show will air, but Channel Ten had better hope it’s sooner rather than later because, you know, given their dire financial shape, they kinda desperately need the ratings right now.

Monk, who credited her mother with the idea of appearing on the show, uploaded a publicity photo of herself wearing a yellow dress while holding a single red rose, and captioned it with the conflicting emotions we all have right now.

Omg I’m the new @bacheloretteau ?. I’m so excited but wetting my pants. ?❤️❤️❤️❤️#bacheloretteau

It’s what you might call a full-circle moment for Monk, who came into our lives through a reality TV show almost two decades ago. Remember the search for the next Spice Girls, Pop Stars in 1999?

So we know she’s no stranger to reality TV. Indeed, she won Celebrity Apprentice in 2015, so, this venture into the Bachelorette Franchise is… well, I’m going to call it mid-risk.

Let’s be honest, publicly dating around 25 guys in front of hundreds of thousands of viewers is not low-risk. But, yeah, let’s also not forget that these “dates” – i.e: tightly produced, loosely scripted excursions to beaches, hiking trails and boudoirs resplendent with tea-candles – is not exactly high-risk either.

Still. It takes a certain kind of vulnerability for a celebrity to admit that they’re “very single” (albeit on a TV program designed to drum up buzz for the Bachelorette) and that they want “lots of free stuff”. But that certain kind of vulnerability is exactly why Sophie Monk is almost universally adored by both men and women.

She’s hot with an earthy charm, a blokey wit and great ability to laugh at herself. She’s going to call a spade a shovel and be unimpressed by anything approaching pretention.

Monk, 37, is what author Gillian Flynn would call the ultimate “cool girl”. She’s “the woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth… while somehow maintaining a size 2.”

That’s a fairly uncharitable summary which does not strictly apply to Monk, but you get the idea. I should also mention that it’s not for anyone to comment on Monk’s sex life, at least not until the recaps.

Oh, I jest! And yet, it’s a reality show known as much for its raunchy situations as its drama, so maybe I do jest but maybe I’m also making a point about how exactly Monk and the producers will navigate the muddy waters of celebrity privacy…

What does marrying the “cool girl” look like anyway? What happens when you introduce her to your mum?

“Mum, I’d like you to meet Sophie– “

“– Monk. Yeah, I watch TV.”

In the last two Bachelorette series’, rather than being portrayed as complete desperados competing among themselves for a woman’s love, it seemed the men preferred hanging out with other blokes and gaining some new mates. It was a bro-fest.

This is due, in part, to Australian dating culture, where men only roll out the red carpet once they’re dating a woman and not before. Courtship is for Michael Buble, right mate? Generally speaking, Aussie blokes find earnest wooing to be corny.

The bro-fest is also due in part to the fact that – take a breath now! – most contestants on the show aren’t interested in meeting a future spouse so much as promoting their personal brand. Which means that, ordinarily, the Bachelorette just has to be pretty (guaranteed) and able to manifest something that looks like chemistry with the dude to the viewers at home.

The Bachelorette (just like the Bachelor) is essentially a paper doll, a silhouette for the contestants to project their drama onto. The casting of the rose giver, whether you’re male or female, calls for safe, sweet and bland. Someone nobody will think of after the happy couple quietly call off their engagement six months after the bombastic proposal atop a cliff where, for reasons unknown, a helicopter hovers just above.

But with Monk in charge of the roses, those rules change.

Unless you’ve been living on a farm with no access to anything except sheep, (and you can bet one contestant will be just that) you’re aware of Sophie’s celebrity status. So, rather than just landing the hot chick, the dude who wins, also marries up – right into a new social circle. It’s not quite a Princess Mary style of elevation, but it’s not to be sniffed at, either.

How many of these blokes, then, are going to be comfortable being mates with the men she’s shared her candle-lit boudoir with? How many blokes are going to be able to convince themselves it’s their future fame that matters rather than impressing Sophie?

I doubt any of the contestants will be able to maintain a blasé attitude this time. All of which, the producers and Monk, no doubt know, will make for great TV.



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