Written by Micah Johnson, Young Alumni Council member
She may not have received the final rose, but earlier this year, Clarksville, Tenn., native and University of Tennessee graduate Kacie Boguskie
won over the hearts of millions on ABC’s hit reality TV dating show, The Bachelor
. Dubbed “America’s Sweetheart” by many, Kacie’s down-to-earth personality and Southern charm proved to be refreshing during a season of much controversy.
A former majorette for UT's Pride of the Southland Marching Band, Kacie took her baton from Shields-Watkins Field to the streets of Sonoma, Calif., in her quest to win over the heart of bachelor Ben Flajnik. From Sonoma to Belize, with many other world adventures in between, Kacie found fresh perspectives on life, love and what it means to her to be truly happy.
Since sharing her personal eating disorder experience while on the show, today Kacie serves as a role model to women of all ages, something she hopes to continue in the future. She lives in Knoxville where she works as an independent skin care consultant for Rodan and Fields, teaches baton classes, and donates her time to various charities. Kacie’s sister, Allison Boguskie, is also a UT graduate.
You recently won over the hearts of millions on ABC's hit show The Bachelor. How did you decide to apply for the show?
Well, that's a funny story actually. I never in a million years thought I would be where I am today. I've watched The Bachelor/Bachelorette
off and on since season one, and my friends had always told me I would be "great" on the show. My response was, it's not about being entertainment, but about being in a place in your life you're ready to take that step. I randomly decided to look online one day and see what the process was to get on, and I filled out a short online application. Eight months later they called me, and the rest is history.
Tell us a little bit about the application and interview process.
The interview process is quite thorough. I started with an online application, which lead to submitting an audition video, a background check and then out to LA I went for a finalist casting weekend. I honestly didn't do anything at all to make myself stand out, I was just myself and if that's what they were looking for then that's what they would get. I believe you always have to be true to who you are and what you believe.
A lot was made this season about your hometown date in Clarksville where you took Ben to the high school football field named after your grandfather. What did Ben and the crew think about their experience in Tennessee? Do you think the visit was accurately portrayed after final editing?
I think that Ben was a little shocked in the South, but seemed to love it. By that point in the process, it was great to be back in Tennessee, where things were familiar, people wore overalls, and I was able to squeeze my family. I think that the visit on television made it all seem very serious, which I'm not a very serious person, but we actually had a good time. They showed the parts that were most applicable to the visit and the process.
Has being on the show changed your outlook on life and love?
Being on the show opened my eyes to so much. When I was taken out of my comfort zone and had to adapt quickly, it made me realize how much is out there that I haven't experienced yet and still want to do. As far as love and relationships, it makes you really stop and think about what you are looking for in a partner. I want to be with someone who makes me want to be a better person, and completely understands me. You should be happy on your own, but be with someone who makes you your happiest.
If your best friend told you she was planning to apply to be on The Bachelor, what would you say? Would you do it again yourself? Would you ever consider being on The Bachelorette?
If I had a friend going on the show, I would tell them to just be themselves and to not get caught up in everything going on there. Remember the real reason you're there and pray for guidance along the way. Looking back, I would do it again. I have no regrets and only great things have come from it! However, I think I'm hanging up my heels on trying to find love on television.
Why did you go to UT? What did you study?
I went to UT because I live in Tennessee and bleed orange! I had always wanted to be a part of such a prestigious university with such a great history. I was a Communication Studies major and originally wanted to be a sports reporter when I came to school.
In addition to being a member of the Pride of the Southland Band, what other extracurricular activities were you involved in?
In addition to being a majorette, which I did my freshman and sophomore year, I was also a member of Orange Pride my junior and senior years, and I worked in the football recruiting office. I wasn't lying when I said I loved sports!
What was your favorite thing about being a majorette at UT?
I loved knowing that every Saturday all of the practice would pay off when the crowd was cheering and you got that rush on the field!
What was your overall favorite memory from your time at UT?
Goodness, there are so many, but the most rewarding was when I walked across the stage in Thompson-Boling Arena to receive my diploma.
What are your future plans?
Right now, I'm just enjoying life and the many opportunities that have come my way. Big picture, I want to work with young adults who have eating disorders, share my life experience with them and show them that life is worth living. Other than that, every day live my life for the Lord and make a difference.
You've been dubbed "America's sweetheart" and the fan favorite from season 16 of The Bachelor. It seems you've done a great job of staying grounded since your time on the show. What advice would you give current students or young alumni about staying true to their roots as they face life after college?
First of all, my faith in God is what I keep at the center of my life. I've also realized that even when things may seem crazy and that your life isn't what you expected it to be, it's the people around you that you should value the most. Your true friends will be there, and at the end of the day, relationships and the simple things are what make this life worthwhile. Everything else fades.
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