Meet the ‘Bachelor’ Contestant Who’s Got a Connection to a Country Music Hall of Famer
As fans count down the days until Season 27 of The Bachelor premieres in late January, more details are arising about leading man Zach Shallcross and the group of eligible ladies who will vie for his affections this season — and one contestant has a strong connection to the country music community.
That's Christina Mandrell, a 26-year-old Nashville-based actor and influencer, who hinted at her participation on this season of the Bachelor in a social media post from mid-January.
"It's giving ... the most dramatic season yet," she wrote alongside a headshot, complete with the hashtags "#hardlaunch" and "thebachelor" as well as an emoji of a single rose.
But Mandrell's name is already a familiar one to country fans. Turns out, she hails from country music royalty: She is the niece of Country Music Hall of Famer Barbara Mandrell, who is known for hits like 1981's "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool" and the 1978 crossover classic, "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed."
A Grand Ole Opry member who was named the CMA Entertainer of the Year for two years running in 1980 and 1981, the 74-year-old legend represents an impressive country connection all on her own, but the younger Mandrell's country connections don't stop there. Mandrell's mother, Irlene Mandrell, is also a performer, and another aunt, Louise Mandrell, charted several country singles of her own during the 1970s.
According to ScreenRant, Mandrell's acting credits have landed her in some country music videos, too: She appears in the video for Cole Swindell's "She Had Me at Heads Carolina" and Taylor Swift's "Fifteen," and she's acted in films and TV shows too, including Hannah Montana: The Movie in 2009.
While the Bachelor hopeful will be looking for love on this season of the show, she's already got plenty of life experience under her belt: According to a 2015 Facebook post from Louise Mandrell, Christina has previously been married to Blake Dennis. The two got hitched at the Inn at Fontanel, a hotel set on an estate that was once owned by Barbara Mandrell.
While the couple are, of course, no longer together, they share a young daughter named Blakely May Dennis, who frequently appears in Mandrell's social media posts.
Season 27 of the Bachelor kicks off on ABC on Jan. 23. Leading man Zach Shallcross is already well-known to fans of the show, as he was previously a contestant on Season 19 of the Bachelorette. Shallcross made it to the final rounds of that series, but withdrew himself from competition, explaining that that season's star, Rachel Recchia, seemed to be a different person when the cameras weren't rolling.
"It was just her and I talking, and it felt like she was just, like, not showing her true self. It was very inauthentic sometimes," he explained at the time, according to US Magazine.
Of course, the show is no stranger to the country music community: Several musical stars from the genre have given performances during previous seasons of the show, including Tenille Arts, Brett Young and Chase Rice.
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