Before Hannah Brown became a reality TV sensation with 2.4 million Instagram followers, a People magazine cover and a major role on Dancing with the Stars, she was broke.
The 25-year-old told Marie Claire recently that her bank balance was only $70 when she agreed to star on season 15 of The Bachelorette. Fresh off a stint on The Bachelor, during which Colton Underwood dumped her in an airplane hangar, Brown didn’t have much money. (Contestants on the show do not get paid, and they have to buy their own wardrobes, which MONEY has previously reported can cost them thousands of dollars.)
Brown’s career was messy, too: She’d initially wanted to be a broadcast journalist, but her time was consumed by her Miss Alabama USA duties and an interior design job.
Now, though, she is finally getting her finances in order.
“I still need to hustle and make some money, but I’m doing a lot better than $70,” Brown said.
The Bachelorette gig likely earned Brown about six figures, but 2019 has been a whirlwind for the former pageant queen nonetheless. Not only did she break hearts and famously hook up in a windmill during her season, but she broke off her engagement after learning fiancé Jed Wyatt hadn’t been honest about his romantic past. Single, living in Los Angeles and dedicated to rehearsing for DWTS, Brown said she’s currently trying to boost her credit and determine her next steps.
“I’m excited to be able to just move on my own to a new city and just see where life’s going to take me,” Brown told NPR in August. “And I feel like it’s going to be really good.”
Bachelor Nation stars often take on second careers as influencers after their time on the show. Posting ads can be lucrative — according to Refinery29, a person with 1 million followers can earn $10,000 for each #sponsored post they make.
However, Brown said she’s wary of going down that path.
“I don’t want to be selling SugarBearHair [gummies] and FabFitFun boxes,” Brown told Marie Claire. “It’s been sickening how much money I’ve passed up… because I’m not doing the low-hanging fruit.”
Brown isn’t the first Bachelor/ette to work hard before and after spending time on the show. Travis Lane Stork, the season eight Bachelor, was an emergency room doctor in Colorado and went on to host the talk show The Doctors. Arie Luyendyk is a real estate agent in Arizona, and Ashley Hebert Rosenbaum is a pediatric dentist in Florida.