Snezana Wood thought 'desperate women' went on The Bachelor. Then her daughter convinced her to apply.

This is an edited extract from Untold by Snezana Wood, a story of love, motherhood, heartbreak and change. Now available for purchase.  

It was Eve who told me I had to get out more. She'd seen other parents in relationships and coupled-up, and she wanted the same for me. "You need to go out and have fun and meet people," she said. It was pretty humbling getting dating advice from a kid in primary school.

One night, I caught a glimpse of Mum and Eve completely enthralled with a TV show and discussing something intently. Intrigued as to what had them both so engaged, I stopped to see... The Bachelor. They were watching The Bachelor! "Really? This is what you're both watching?" It seemed like the most ridiculous show. "It's a bunch of desperate women!" I said to them.

Mum and Eve attempted to explain what was currently happening on the show, and I laughed as they told me how entertaining it was. But I wasn't interested. It was cute to see them watching it together, discussing what, how and when something happened. It just wasn't my cup of tea. That didn't stop them from watching it – or telling me what was happening in every episode.

One night after enjoying a family dinner with my sister, brother and their families, we'd cleaned up and Mum and Eve were taking pole position on the couch to find out what was happening on their new favourite show. It was Eve who first said, "Mum, you should go on The Bachelor!" She'd seen commercials about applying for the new season.

"You should definitely go on The Bachelor," Lidija echoed. "This will be your last chance, next year you'll be too old," she joked.


Both insisted I consider going on the show. I laughed it off and said, "Seriously, it's a bunch of desperate women fighting over a guy! I don't think so."

"It's the last day to enter to be on The Bachelor," Lidija said one day. "You really should apply for it."

"Yeah, Mum, you have to apply!" Eve and my sister were now both adamant.

"Fine, okay, I'll apply." They had worn me down; I wanted to satisfy Eve's repeated requests, but I didn't take it seriously for a second.

I filled out the application form late that evening at the eleventh hour. I thought applying for the show was silly and I wasn't actually applying to try to get a place on the show, so I wrote some playful answers to some of the questions. I didn't give it any thought at all. A question asked me what I was passionate about, and my response... 'Whopper with cheese!'

I submitted the form just before the applications closed and told my sister I did it. I thought that would be the last I heard of it. End of story.

Days later, a producer called me to say they were holding auditions for The Bachelor in Perth later that week and they'd like me to attend. In complete and utter disbelief I took down the information, still unsure if I'd actually go. When I rang Lidija to tell her I'd been invited to audition for the show, we both started laughing uncontrollably. "Are you kidding me?" she said, knowing how ridiculous some of my answers had been on the form.


"I know, I know," I replied, laughing.

I was still debating whether or not to attend the audition when Lidija said, "Look, just go to see what it's like and what happens, just do it." I'll admit, all this left me interested in what the audition process for a TV show would be like and what was involved. I didn't think I'd be selected to be on the show, but this was my chance to see how things work, so I figured I could go along, have some fun and just see what people who are crazy enough to go on a reality dating show do to get there. And that's how I ended up at an audition for The Bachelor at the Convention Centre in Perth.

The audition process started with the producers getting the applicants into groups. The room was full of girls in their twenties, and I felt ancient at thirty-four. Once we were split into groups, we did some group activities. One activity involved sitting in a circle, turning to the girl on your right and telling her something you like about her, then turning to the girl on your left and telling her what you don't like about her. It was lighthearted fun, really, nothing too serious at all. But then I guess we were shortlisted because some of us then needed to sit through an interview process. A producer conducted the interviews, and he had a great energy about him, making me feel like in that moment I was exactly where I needed to be.

Watch: Snezana shares The Bachelor audition process. Post continues after video.


Video via showandtellonline.

As the interview wrapped, I stood up, thanked them for their time and walked out of that room assuming that was the end of the line for this gal, but I was thankful for the experience because it was something I might otherwise have never had the opportunity to do. As I was walking out, a member of The Bachelor team directed me to go and see another team member. I was handed an envelope. "You need to take this and leave now, don't talk to anyone about this... Congratulations, you're in, they loved you!" she whispered to me. "Now go."

In complete shock, I took the envelope and walked out bewildered. Smiling from ear to ear, not because I was successful in getting a place, but at how insane it all seemed. "What the hell is going on?" I thought to myself. "What on earth is happening?" I let out a little laugh.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever applied to be on a reality show, let alone now be cast as a contestant. I wasn't meant to get the call. I wasn't meant to get the audition. I wasn't meant to get the envelope. I was the oldest woman in the room, which is quite crazy considering I was only thirty-four. But the universe put me exactly where I needed to be, I just didn't know it.


As I left the building, I rang my sister to let her know what had happened, and we both burst out laughing again. "What do I do now?" I asked her. "What do I do, we didn't plan for this."

I had a huge decision to make. To go on the show, or not? I really didn't want to go on reality TV to meet someone, especially when I thought reality TV was such a joke. I didn't think it was going to work for me. I felt my whole situation screamed that I wasn't a good fit: I was a European–Australian single mum in her mid-thirties. Really?!

However, that wasn't even the main obstacle in making the decision. My biggest concern was leaving Eve. I'd never been away from her, not even for a day. Going on the show would require me to leave her for a period of time. I thought perhaps I would last a week or two before I was sent home and I didn't like the idea of that; it was a long time to be away from Eve.

"Evie, Mummy applied and got on The Bachelor!" I told her when I got home. She was so excited for me and I had to calm her down and explain that to be on it would mean going away for a couple of weeks. "I won't be able to see you or talk to you," I said.

"That's okay, I'll be here with Baba and Dedo, you have to go on the show!" she said. Eve was really excited. There was no doubt she wanted me to do this, even though it meant being away from each other, something new and foreign for both of us. I wasn't sure she completely understood what that meant. Was she just caught up in the moment? Every day for a week I kept asking her and explaining that I'd need to go away for a short time, but her response never changed.


Eve was utterly supportive, and so was my sister, who told me she'd visit Eve with my nieces in tow every day, and her husband would be back from work to help out, too. My baby brother, now married, thought it was hilarious and demanded, "Don't embarrass us!". Kristina, my sister-in-law, loved the idea and supported it 100 per cent. My parents, on the other hand, weren't as excited about it. They thought it was the most ridiculous thing they'd ever heard, as I had to begin with.

Even though Mum loved watching the show, the thought of me being on it was mortifying. "You can't go on something like that," she said. "Your life will be on display. Everybody will know everything." Mum did have a valid point. When my dad found out he said jokingly, "What? You must be nuts!"

After contemplating it for a while and thinking about my situation with Eve, I decided that this wasn't even a choice anymore; it was something I had to do. I wanted to show Eve that you need to take chances in life and sometimes do things that make you uncomfortable. We both needed to step outside our comfort zones – these are the experiences that will make you grow and build strength and resilience. Not to mention, it might be fun. Just like the application and audition process, it could be interesting to see what happens behind the scenes of a TV program. And besides, I might meet the man of my dreams. I doubted it, but it was worth a shot. Perhaps that's exactly what I needed – producers choosing my next partner because God knows I seriously sucked at choosing them.


I had to tell my boss I needed to take a couple of weeks' leave. "I'm just going away for a little bit," I told him because I wasn't allowed to tell anyone where I was going. The day that I left to head to The Bachelor mansion in March 2015, my mum still wasn't keen on the idea of me going on a TV dating show, but she had definitely come around a little and was now joking, saying, "I can't believe you're doing this," while shaking her head at me.

I playfully joked back, saying, "Yep, I am!"

Dad just laughed. He officially thought it was bloody hilarious.

Saying goodbye to Eve was excruciatingly painful. I told her to be good, listen to her family, and do her homework and that I loved her more than anything in the world. I kissed her repeatedly and hugged her so tightly that it may have slightly squished her. Then with one final kiss and hug I told her I loved her again, and I’d see her very, very soon.

(Left) Snezana with her daughter Evie, 2016. (Right) Snezana with her daughter Evie, 2024. Image: Instagram.


I made my way to the airport with zero idea of what I was getting myself into. I'd never done anything like this before, I was completely out of my comfort zone – but I do believe that's where the magic happens. After I landed in Sydney I was met by a producer and was taken to a location where we had to all gather in a hotel conference room to sign in and hand over some of our belongings – keys, phones, passports, wallets, laptops and other electronics. We were only allowed a pre-loaded iPod shuffle. It was like we were checking into prison but with nicer surroundings. Any medication also had to be checked in and would be allocated as needed. We then spent a couple of days settling in at some random hotel/apartment – to this day I have no recollection of where it was. We weren't really sure what was going on. We weren't given an itinerary – it was all very secretive and quite exciting. We were just told to be packed and ready to go at a certain time. We were taken to another large convention room which was buzzing with activity. It was set up with hair and makeup stations at one end and a large makeshift dressing room at the other. It was somewhat of a production line of girls having their hair and makeup done while others were being fitted for various outfits. I was looking around, taking it all in. The room was filled with a mix of excitement and nerves, and we spent the entire day preparing for what was going to be the night our adventure began.


We were filming the first episode where all the contestants get to meet the Bachelor and make their first impression. It was nerve-wracking, and I had butterflies in my stomach the entire day. "Oh my god, what the hell have I done? What am I doing here?" I thought to myself. It was now my turn to try on some dresses for that first meeting. Thank goodness they had dresses like this, because I hadn't brought much with me. I was oblivious to how this all worked. They found the perfect dress for me, a long, black, almost gothic-inspired dress with a full skirt. I loved it. If I was going to embarrass myself, at least I'd look good doing it!

I kept trying to tell myself it wasn't that bad, but I was terrified. I figured I would just take the lead of the other girls, who all seemed so sure of themselves. It felt like they all knew what was going on, and I had no idea. I was just going with the flow. When we were all ready – hair, makeup and wardrobe – a producer pulled me aside. "You're going first," they said. I just about died. "Ahhh, oh really? That's okay, someone else can go before me," I quivered.


"No, the producers want YOU to go first, so you need to get in the limo now," they insisted. Was this really happening!?

My heart was racing a hundred miles an hour. It was my worst nightmare come true but I couldn't let it show. A sound guy walked up to us, explaining that we needed to get me mic-ed up. I didn't even realise that was something that had to happen. Great, perfect, so this meant the sound crew would be able to hear everything – my nervous pees would be recorded, fantastic. This was getting better by the second. But I still played it cool.

I didn't know what to expect when things started rolling. I didn't know what I was meant to say or do when I stepped out of that limo. A lot of the girls had planned 'memorable' first greetings, practising them while we were getting ready. But not me! I didn't want to do any of that. I was just going to get out there and pray that I wouldn't fall flat on my face when I stepped out of the car. As I've said, I'm very clumsy. "Please don't fall, don't fall, walk carefully," I kept saying to myself. Whatever came out of my mouth after that would be anyone's guess.

I walked like what seemed an eternity down a path and as I neared the house, I remember thinking how beautiful it all was, with flowers everywhere, covering the hedges, and hundreds of fairy lights and candles. It was like something out of a fairytale (or a reality TV dating show). Then I saw a man standing in the distance. It was him, the Bachelor, and he was tall, dark and handsome. Thank god for that. As I drew closer, I stopped overthinking and stopped panicking. All of a sudden it was just the two of us standing there face to face (... well, it kinda was, there were also the five cameras I could see, not including the ones hiding behind the bushes with all the sound crew, oh, and the producers watching it all unfold live on screens in the production room. But other than that, it was just the two of us!).


I waltzed straight up to him with confidence as he said, "Welcome."

"Thank you," I responded.

"Hi, I'm Sam," he said as we both edged forward and gave each other a kiss on the cheek, neither one of us skipping a beat.

"Snežana," I said simultaneously.

"Nice to meet you." "Nice to meet you."

"That's a pretty name."

"Thank you."

"Where's it from?"

"Macedonia, can you say it?"

He tried to say it...

The moment Snezana and Sam Wood met in an episode of The Bachelor. Image: Channel Ten.


I didn't want to have to do this but... "Can you say parmigiana?"

And that right there was our first meeting, our very first interaction. As I walked away and made my way towards the house, I thought, "That went well, okay, yep, that went well. I hope he was as impressed with me as I was with him."

But then out of nowhere, I don't know what happened, my mind went blank. I forgot the Bachelor's name! In fact, I even forgot what he looked like. All I knew was that I liked what I saw. When the producers pulled me aside to do a vox pop (impromptu interview on the spot), they asked me some questions – questions I couldn't bloody answer!


"So, what do you think? Do you like his eyes? Do you like his salt-and-pepper hair? What about his height?"

I had no idea. I couldn't even remember the guy's name! Let alone what colour his eyes were. I felt like such an idiot. He'd told me his name, and I had explained to him how to pronounce my name, and I thought he was hot, but why did I think this? I didn't remember any of it.

When the producers reminded me of his name later, I felt even more ridiculous. It was a three-letter name. So simple. Impossible to forget. Yet there I was... forgetting it!

I told Sam about Eve later that same night at the first cocktail party. He asked me if I wanted a family, which is when I told him about Eve. I wanted him to know straightaway because if he felt that was something he couldn't;t be a part of, I would have gone home, back to my daughter. I didn't want to waste my time – or his. When I told Sam, he was a complete gentleman about it. Even though I felt our first meeting and conversations went well and I felt strangely at ease when I was around him, I wasn't 100 per cent confident going into those dreaded rose ceremonies. There was that annoying 10 per cent in my mind telling me, "Oooh, don't be cocky, it could be you going home tonight."

I loved being around Sam and I knew he felt the same, and even though there was almost always a producer around, we managed to share some sneaky moments when no one was watching. These moments were reassuring of his feelings towards me. One night at a cocktail party he hadn't spoken a single word to me the entire evening, and through a twist of fate, we passed each other in a corridor. His producers were ahead of him and as he passed he saw his opportunity, and gently put his hand on my waist to pull me closer, whispering, "Sorry I couldn't speak to you tonight," and kept moving along. Another time when we were on a group date and I was downstairs in the bathroom, Sam happened to be passing without his producer (clearly no one realised I was in the bathroom downstairs). We locked eyes, and he immediately grabbed me, pushing me up against a wall as we shared the most passionate kiss, one that wouldn't be appropriate for a 7pm time slot. There was no doubt that we were drawn to each other like magnets.


I enjoyed our one-on-one dates even though it was a little awkward at the beginning, knowing there were so many eyes and ears on us. Funnily enough, though, I did begin to forget the crew were there and sometimes when I did notice them, the fact that we were all working long days together meant I started to build friendships with them. So I felt more relaxed during these moments and as time went on, I even stopped caring about going to the toilet while still wearing my microphone. I just thought, "Brace yourselves, lads!"

My connection with Sam was so strong that an entire date was never aired. I was told there would be no hiding Sam's feelings for me during this date. We attempted to have a magical romantic moment of horseback riding that ended up being a hilarious attempt to control and guide the horses while talking about our future together.


Untold by Snezana Wood. Image: Hachette Australia.

Untold by Snezana Wood is a story of love, motherhood, heartbreak and change. Now available for purchase.

Feature image: Instagram @snezanawood.

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