Credit: © 2011 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Photo: Gia Allemand Arrives at the Bachelor Reunion and Bachelor Pad Casting Event in NYC on January 29, 2011

She didn’t win The Bachelor Season 14, Bachelor Pad Season 1, or Bachelor Pad Season 2, but Gia Allemand definitely won our hearts as Bachelor Nation’s sexiest sweetheart.

The beautiful (soon to be retired?) swimsuit model was born on December 20, 1983 — making her 28 years old today.

Why do we love this Bachelor babe? True, she cried a lot and strategy was never really her thing, but she’s a loyal friend and passionate defender of The Underdog — from the uncool crowd in Bachelor Pad Land, to Vienna Girardi during The Bachelor, and Jake Pavelka after The Bachelor. She loves animals, loves her fans, and loves her new honey, basketball player Ryan Anderson.

Today, she showed why she’s still a fan favorite in a sweet note on Twitter: “Thank you all sooo much for the bday wishes! Every single one of you has made me smile this year! I still can't get over how many wonderful people I have in my life. Love you all!”

Love you back! And we know Jake still loves her too — as a good friend. In fact, earlier this year the former Bachelor said he wished he had picked Gia over Vienna. Here’s a short clip of Gia dancing with the future Dancing With the Stars Season 10 contender, illustrating their cute friend zone chemistry (and his lack of dance skills):

Credit: YouTube Photo: Jake Pavelka Dances With Gia Allemand

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