'Winter Games' Alum Lily McManus Creates Surprise Twist in 'Bachelorette New Zealand'
A season of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" hardly feels complete without a major plot twist, and the international versions of the show are no different.
"The Bachelorette New Zealand" began its inaugural season this year with Dr. Lesina Nakhid-Schuster at the helm handing out roses. She met 22 men (including one inside man who posed as her mole) that first night at Te Hihi Estate in Auckland and began her journey to love.
Everything changed within a few episodes when Lesina announced she had been harboring a big secret, calling it "a big help to me moving forward." As it turns out, this "big secret" happened to be the arrival of Lily McManus, and thus, another Bachelorette!
Lily appeared on "The Bachelor New Zealand" Season 3 and made it to the top two, but failed to receive Zac Franich's final rose. She went on to compete in "The Bachelor Winter Games" and fell in love with Courtney Dober, who was on "The Bachelorette Australia." Lily and Courtney left "Winter Games" as a couple but parted ways in August 2018.
Now, Lily is back looking for love on "The Bachelorette" and shaking up the entire show. Both women emphasized that they will not be competing for affection because they want two very different endings. At 23, Lily isn’t looking to settle down or have kids immediately. Lesina, on the other hand, is 32 and expressed concerns from the beginning that she had a 12-year age gap with some of her suitors. Lily explained to a group of men, "Half of you guys had been cast for me and the other half for Lesina."
After making her first appearance on "The Bachelorette," Lily posted a long note on Instagram about why she accepted the gig and her mentality going into it.
She began, "When I was asked to do this show, woman empowerment was always a main priority of mine. The show had to be about two women raising each other up and supporting one another through such a wild experience. Lesina is a GREAT mate of mine and the amount of support we have been able to offer each other throughout this makes my brain melt in the best possible way."
Lily added, "There are so many different ways of being a woman in this day and age and to me that is the most exciting thing. It’s amazing to see this franchise represent a woman like myself who isn’t ready for marriage and kids and show that a relationship without these things is still worthy and valid."
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The 23-year-old affirmed, "No matter how this show is edited I can assure you there is no man worth getting in between mine and lesinas bromance."
She noted towards the end, "Our route is defiantly unconventional, yet I still wouldn’t have had it any other way."
Lily opened up about her decision to go on the show during an interview with the New Zealand website Now to Love. She explained it was "important" to meet Lesina beforehand to make sure they were "at different life stages so we're not competing for the same guys."
The "Bachelor New Zealand" alumna had only nice things to say about Lesina, noting, "She's a great person and just radiates niceness." The two of them make sure to "have mature conversations about our emotions, which means there's never drama or negative feelings forming."
Here's to hoping Lesina and Lily both find their happily ever after!