A self-professed nerd, Gryffindor, and “every Jewish mother’s worse nightmare,” there is much more to Lacey Mark than the girl who went home on episode 2 of Nick Viall’s season of The Bachelor and spent the entirety of Bachelor in Paradise crying. She didn’t go on Paradise for “the aftermath”—as she refers to the sponsored posts that fill many ex-contestant’s Instagram feeds—but for the experience. As Hermione Granger would be proud, Lacey believes that “you don’t have to be that picture-perfect Barbie doll that the Bachelor wants you to be. You can be a little bit weird and still make it.”
A true romantic, she bought into the concept of the Bachelor franchise: that she could actually meet her person on the show. While that didn’t happen (now she’s on JSwipe, disappointed by the offerings), she reflects on her accidental journey into the Bachelor world and her status as Queen of Jewish Geography:
Are you happy you went on Bachelor in Paradise?
Yeah, oh my god—I had the best time. Obviously things turned out, you know, the way they turned out, which sucked, but while I was there, I had the best time. I really, really did.
How did you end up on the Bachelor in the first place?
It actually started out as a joke. I applied originally for Ben Higgins’ season. If they don’t cast you for that season, they just keep you in mind for the next one. When I applied for Ben’s like two years ago, I had a boyfriend. We were in a fight and instead of being a normal functioning adult and talking to him about our problems, I applied to the Bachelor to piss him off. The irony is that he thought it was so unbelievably funny and hilarious that he wasn’t even mad. We ended up breaking up for other reasons a few months later, but that’s how I applied.
Did you even want to be on the show?
I was never trying to get on the show! I literally just wanted that confirmation e-mail so I could send it to my boyfriend and be like “this is what happens when you make me mad.” When it came time for them to start casting for Nick, they called me and it took me a minute because I almost didn’t remember that I had applied. They were like, “We’re calling from ABC’s The Bachelor, are you still single, are you still interested in coming on the show?” I paused, and I was like, wait when did I apply for The Bachelor? And then it clicked, and I was like, Oh. My. God. But I was like, “You know, sure, why not,” so I went through all the rounds of casting and it kept being a joke until it was no longer a joke.
What was your experience like on the show as a Jewish contestant from the tri-state area pursuing a Christian lead from the Midwest?
I think maybe some of our values were a little different. But outside of that, I’m not particularly religious. For me, being Jewish is more cultural than religious. So, when it came down to that type of stuff, it didn’t really affect me at all. I’m like every Jewish mother’s worst nightmare because I’m not that girl who [thinks] “I have to marry someone who’s Jewish.” I just want to marry someone who’s a good person. I don’t care if they’re Jewish or Catholic or whatever. So for me, it didn’t really make a difference at all. The only thing is, I wore my star of David all the time.
After The Bachelor, why did you decide to go on Paradise?
I was in between jobs and it kind of just seemed like it would be something fun… I didn’t really get to experience a lot of the “Bachelor world” the first time because I was on it for such a short time period. I liked the track record of [Bachelor in Paradise]—you know, the Carly-Evan-Jade-Tanners of the world—and I just kind of felt like there were better odds. Like, more men to choose from and the whole round robin system of how it all worked. [Paradise] just kind of seemed like a better recipe for success than The Bachelor. I’m that freak who did it for love! I know it sounds ridiculous and absurd, but [I thought] maybe I could actually meet my husband this way. Cause you know, trying to meet them on JDate isn’t working.
Are you on JDate?
I refuse to pay for it. So I’m on JSwipe. [But] my JSwipe experience has not been great… I don’t think that’s selective to Jewish men, I just think it’s men in New York in general. The dating scene is impossible, you know? It’s like every man is living their own version of The Bachelor. They’re dating 15 women at a time, and I’m so not okay with that. I’m very traditional and old school! I want to be the only one you’re dating, even if it’s like a second or third date. I want you to court me, I want you to woo me… I wish [today] was like dating in the ‘50s. Where you give someone your varsity letterman jacket and that means you’re pretty much engaged.
How did you feel about the “you’re Jewish” pick-up line that Iggy used on you in Paradise?
I took it as Iggy was trying his best to relate to me, but to also keep it interesting for TV. It seemed like making a light-hearted situation out of something that is relatively important to me. If you looked at my face during that scene, my jaw just kind of dropped because I didn’t really know how to react, to be honest. And then I [thought] this is actually really funny, he’s actually legitimately trying to do something that he knows is part of my life. It was all in good fun.
Do you think the way you were on the shows is different than you in real life? How do you reconcile your public and private personas?
I was portrayed very different than I actually am. I think the way my edit turned out, I kind of turned into this crying, whining, little girl who just complained all the time. And that’s not who I am. People might forget because it was on the first episode, [but] my grandfather passed away while I was in Mexico. I left, and then came back. My grandfather and I were very close, and that was a big loss for my family. In addition to dealing with all the emotions that come from that, there’s also all the emotions that come from being in a setting like Bachelor in Paradise. It was the perfect storm to cry a lot; but I promise I’m not that person [laughs] it just looks like I was!
Would you ever use a Jewish matchmaker?
I wouldn’t be opposed to it. I’ve used matchmakers in general, but not specifically Jewish matchmakers. It just kind of happened that [because] I live on the Upper East Side—it’s all like young Jewish people on the Upper East Side. Everybody she happened to set me up with was Jewish—doctors, lawyers, that whole thing. I clearly have not done a good job of meeting men on my own, so I think a little help would be nice. It was unsuccessful. [Laughs] I tried, I tried. I went on two or three dates from the matchmaker, and it just wasn’t working out for me.
What’s your ideal date?
I am a die-hard New Jersey Devils fan. I eat, breathe, and sleep hockey. So, I want to go to a New Jersey Devils game, sit center ice behind the glass, get some nachos and some beer, and just bro out a little bit.
Does someone have to be a hockey fan to date you?
They have to be a hockey fan; they don’t have to be a Devils fan. It is harder when they’re Rangers fans, because there’s such a big rivalry there, but as long as they like hockey, I’m okay with them. I can convert them. [Although] I’ve never actually played [hockey]. I didn’t play sports at all growing up. I had scoliosis, so I grew up in a back brace. But I love watching sports!
What’s your ideal bagel?
I’m the worst Jew ever: I’m allergic to seafood and shellfish so I can’t eat lox or any of that type of stuff. So for me, it’s usually a salt bagel or a whole wheat everything bagel scooped and toasted with scallion cream cheese and tomato. Sometimes I get the salt bagel to make up for the fact that I’m not getting excessive amounts of sodium from the lox.
How did you feel about being ranked #1 in our Jews in Paradise article?
I am the Queeeeen of Jewish geography. I live in New York, I went to Syracuse, I was in AEPhi, I know everybody. You know that six degrees of separation with Kevin Bacon thing? I feel like you could put me in there and it would still work. Between camp, college, where I live in the city… everywhere I go, I bump into someone I know or someone who’s a friend of a friend who knows me via extension. It’s almost annoying.
What’s one thing you wish people knew about you?
That I’m not a crying whiny little bitch! [Laughs] No, in all seriousness, I’m actually a huge, huge, huge closet nerd. I’ve actually run out of space in my apartment for all my books; I read almost every single day. I like school; I was a total brainiac. I was a political science and Middle Eastern studies major. I speak a few languages. I nerd out to the core. Specifically, with Harry Potter. Harry Potter’s my favorite!!
Who do you identify most strongly with in Harry Potter?
Hermione, for sure. She’s a badass, and I think I showed my badassery in the [Paradise] finale. I was channeling my inner Hermione when I was yelling at Daniel.
What Hogwarts house would you be in?
Oh, Gryffindor. Hands down. Oh yeah. There’s this Pottery Barn collection that just came out—called Pottery Barn Teen Harry Potter collection, and I need one of everything. They have a whole Gryffindor set-up and I’m like, “Control yourself, Lacey”
What would your patronus be?
An arctic fox; they love the cold but are smart and sly. Plus they look like puppies!
One last question: Your first appearance on Nick’s season was riding on a camel—was that inspired by Birthright? Did you go on Birthright?
I actually never went on Birthright and, no, the camel thing was not related to Judaism at all. It was more related to the fact that I wanted to make a hump joke because I thought it was funny. When I walked into the mansion after getting off the camel, someone asked me, ‘cause I was wearing my star of David, “Did you ride the camel because you’re Jewish?” And I was like, you know, that’s an interesting thought, but no, I rode the camel because I’m depraved and wanted to make a sex joke.
This interview has been edited and condensed.