From student to star, Syracuse alum Ashley Iaconetti's journey on "The Bachelor" ties back to her days at SU

Looking back on her transition onto reality TV, Iaconetti said many of the things she learned from the Newhouse School helped her along the way.

Since her days as a multimedia journalist for Syracuse University's NCC News, 26-year-old Virginia native Ashley Iaconetti has made quite a few different names for herself while being on "The Bachelor:" the virgin, the crier, and self-proclaimed “Kardashley.” But despite the tears and drama, Iaconetti said being on "The Bachelor" was the "best experience of her life."

Representing the Orange on Instagram, Ashley proudly said she will do "anything for Syracuse."

After her dramatic elimination from ABC's "The Bachelor" in the sixth weekall eyes have been on Iaconetti. Appearing on Syracuse media outlets, "Good Morning America," and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," America can't seem to get enough of the Kim Kardashian look-alike.

Known for her fake eyelashes and a perfectly contoured face, Iaconetti said she's just a "normal girl" who was trying to find a job as an entertainment reporter after graduation when the opportunity to be on "The Bachelor" "fell into her lap."

Although Iaconetti didn't get her “happily ever after” with bachelor Chris Soules, the beginning, middle and end of her journey on "The Bachelor" all tie back to Syracuse.

In 2013, when Iaconetti was finishing up her Newhouse master's degree in Washington D.C., she decided to take advantage of her broadcast class's camera equipment to make an audition tape for the show's 19th season.

"I thought, 'let’s make it as professional as possible, and we’ll do it creatively so it’s a big sequence of the events of a regular season,'” Iaconetti said. "We [Iaconetti and her classmates] had a normal rose ceremony, the final rose ceremony and a one-on-one date."

The final product was a three-minute mock season video, which served as Iaconetti's audition tape and what would become the beginning of a journey she has not regretted since.

It wasn't until nine months later, after graduating, completing a six-month internship with the New York Jets and three months of freelancing, that Iaconetti got a call from "The Bachelor's" producers.

"It was so out of the blue," Iaconetti said. "I couldn't believe it."

As someone dedicated to pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, Iaconetti knew there would be people who would accuse her of being on the show for the wrong reasons.

"I would drop my career aspirations in a heartbeat if that’s what it came down to," Iaconetti said. "So, if Chris were the one, I would have to put any type of entertainment reporting dreams on the back burner and I’d be totally fine with that."

Even though life on Chris's farm in Iowa wasn't in the cards for Iaconetti, she loves where the journey has brought her.

"I had a great time with Chris and the girls, so I don't take anything back," she said.

Although Iaconetti might not have had as great of a time with nemesis Poe in particular, she said she will try to take the high road when facing her at the "Women Tell All" special.

During a highly emotional two-on-one date, “Ashley I.” and Kelsey Poe traveled to the Badlands of South Dakota with Soules. When Iaconetti had a moment alone with Soules, she revealed to him that she and many other women in the house thought Kelsey was "fake." In what appeared to be a dramatic turn of events, Soules repeated Iaconetti's words to Poe and she was well, "hurt."

Although it didn't involve hair pulling or punching, the Badlands scene between Iaconetti and Poe is perhaps one of the most awkward and tense moments between two contestants on "The Bachelor."

"I left Kelsey off on the note that I really wanted to with a statement that she just couldn’t refute," Iaconetti said. "I’ll be on my very best behavior and I’ll let the other girls talk because I had my words with her and the other girls didn’t."

"Out of the entire season, that was the one moment I was looking forward to seeing on TV the very most," Iaconetti said. "Especially since I said, 'I have my master’s and it’s from a pretty good place,’" referring to her Newhouse degree.

In the end, both Iaconetti and Poe were not given a rose.

Looking back on her experience, Iaconetti attributes a lot of how she handled herself on reality TV to what she learned at Newhouse.

"Because I have my experience at Syracuse, I know a lot about production," Iaconetti said. "I know about editing and how to edit myself and at the same time, I know about sound bites and how to word things in certain ways."

However, even a background in journalism can't save Iaconetti from the inevitable backlash she has experienced on social media.

"One of the most frustrating parts has been seeing comments from people who take opinions and make them facts," Iaconetti said.

But in the words of Taylor Swift, Iaconetti said she just "shakes it off" because the haters are going to "hate, hate, hate, hate."

"What people are seeing with me is almost like a parody of me, like a character," Iaconetti said. "It’s such a small segment of my personality."

One fact about Iaconetti the world seemed to hone in on specifically was her virginity, coining her as "the virgin."

"People have made such a big deal of it and people have tried to swing it in a negative way," Iaconetti said. "One of the things I got a lot on Twitter wasn't just 'she's not a virgin,' but also 'she’s a whore.'”

But Iaconetti turns the other cheek to avoid drama.

"The second you defend yourself, you give in to it," Iaconetti said. "You're never going to win."

Despite all the drama that being on "The Bachelor" encompasses, Iaconetti said she "never wanted to come back home." 

"When you’re on reality TV, it’s actually not reality," Iaconetti said. "It’s a dream world."

With a Newhouse degree and now a season of "The Bachelor" under her belt, Iaconetti said she wouldn't rule out following in the footsteps of Ali Fedotowsky, former 'Bachelorette' turned E! News correspondent.

In the meantime, Iaconetti will appear on "The Bachelor: Women Tell All" special, airing Monday, March 2 on ABC.

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