Last year around this time, The Bachelor Season 15 viewers were just getting to know Shawntel Newton, the funeral director and embalmer from Chico, CA. Brad Womack said goodbye to Shawntel after her hometown date — in which she mock-embalmed him, not sexy! — but at some point during the airing of The Bachelorette Season 7, she seemed to have developed a crush on Ben Flajnik... which seems to be the basis for her return to The Bachelor in Season 16, Episode 3.
As ABC revealed in a promo video, Shawntel is the mystery woman who caused much drama with Ben's beauties when she crashed the cocktail party in the January 16 episode. It's pretty ironic since Shawntel was so mature, grounded and un-dramatic on The Bachelor that we thought she'd be a great option for the Season 7 Bachelorette. (But that gig went to fellow Season 15 contestant, Ashley Hebert. And then Emily Maynard for Season 8! Oh well.)
If you’re not familiar with Shawntel (or need a refresher on the gal — it’s been awhile), here are a few more facts about the hottest funeral director in Bachelor Nation.
1. She’s all about family (and dead people)
Shawntel seems to be the heir presumptive of her family's business. Her dad kind of gave her heat for leaving to shoot The Bachelor Season 15, since she wasn’t around to help with the biz. However, Shawntel probably should’ve put her foot down and said no to taking Brad to the mausoleum during her hometown date. It's not like Ashley Hebert gave him a tour of the dentist's office. Also during Shawntel's hometown date, we met her younger sisters, Destiny and Vanessa. Her sisters are the ones who signed her up for The Bachelor to begin with. She had never even seen the show before! Interesting side note: Destiny is actually dating Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers.
Watch Shawntel’s hometown date here:
2. She's emotionally open
It's a bold move to just show up three rose ceremonies into a show and say "I'm here to date you!" It's a major leap of faith. But Shawntel is comfortable doing things like that, without ever coming across as over-confident and cocky.
During her post-elimination conference call last year, Shawntel was asked if she had any regrets in telling Brad or her family that she was in love with the Bachelor. “No, I have no regrets at all telling Brad that I was falling in love with him. It was already an uncomfortable situation telling him that I was not only falling in love, but then at the end after meeting my family, that I’m in love, because I know that he can’t say that back to me. And that’s uncomfortable for a woman or a man to be in a situation like that, but I put myself out there and I said, ‘You know what, I want you to know this is how I’m feeling’ and that’s who I am. I’m very comfortable with my feelings and telling people how I feel and I wanted him to know.”
3. She has a book coming out
As Shawntel explained on Twitter on Jan. 8, she has a memoir coming out soon about what it was like growing up in the funeral industry. (So... Bachelor meets American Horror Story?)
4. She may become the *third* Bachelor 15 contestant to date Ben
Shawntel seems to be good friends with San Francisco resident Britt Billmaier, her fellow Bachelor 15 contestant. At one point the news came out that Ben and Britt were seeing each other. Both Ben and Britt shot down the rumor that they were dating, but isn’t it interesting that, after Ashley and possibly Britt, now Shawntel is entering the Ben mix? Call him the anti-Brad.
5. She has a Bachelor admirer of her own!
When we talked to Kirk DeWindt of The Bachelorette Season 6, he confessed a bit of a crush on our Shawntel. There was a time when Kirk was under consideration to be the Season 15 Bachelor instead of Brad. When asked which lady he might’ve picked in the end, he said he probably would've gone with Shawntel, based on the time they've spent together. "We don’t really have a history but we have spent some time together ‘cause she’s been in my hometown [for Green Bay Packers games to see Aaron Rodgers]. ... So she’s come back for games and we’ve hung out when she’s been back home near me [in Wisconsin] and that’s gone well. So she’s the only one I’d be curious about. ... She’s so great. She’s the most fun little hottie that you could ever ask for." Sweet!