It all started with Ashley Heber, a UPenn dental student and contestant on the fifteenth season of ABC’s “The Bachelor.” While she won the hearts of the viewers, she did not win the heart of Brad Womack, so she went on to star in season seven of “The Bachelorette.” The second time was a charm. This dentist found love in a hopeless place: reality TV. After completing a residency in pediatric dentistry, Ashley, now Dr. Ashley Rosenbaum, plans to open an office in Manhattan.
This season, we had the pleasure of meeting Mike Ross (pictured), a D4 from Baylor searching for love with Desiree Hartsock. Even though his stint on “The Bachelorette” was brief, dental students across the country were cheering him on. I caught up with Mike, the current D4 ASDA representative and SPEA President, to hear about his experience.
How did you end up on The Bachelorette?
My little sisters have been fans of the show for a while and mentioned that I should go on the show. I watched the show sporadically, but did not really watch a full season until I went back and viewed Brad Womack’s Bachelor season, since I was originally casted for Emily’s season (season 8). The application process is lengthy and consists of many on camera/video interviews to find out who you are, what you’re all about, and your love life. The farther along you go in the process, the more on camera interviews you have until the final cuts. My process was different for this season since I was already casted for Emily’s season the previous year but could not attend due to my school schedule. I already knew the producers and casting directors and they were kind enough to invite me back.
Did you have to put school on hold?
I did not have to put school on hold because I completed my third year requirements in the fall semester. My patients were fantastic and treated me well, allowing me to move rapidly. Essentially, during the spring semester I was earning credits for my 4th year in clinic. For didactic courses, I had to take two midterms ahead of schedule before I left, therefore, I didn’t miss any tests during my absence. I would not have done the show if it had compromised my schoolwork.
Was the administration supportive?
The administration at Baylor was absolutely amazing. I was honestly scared and slightly embarrassed when I had to set up meetings with my deans and course directors. Baylor is known for being a conservative school; I was worried that the faculty would think that I wasn’t taking my academics seriously. To my surprise, the faculty supported me 100%. With their support, I was able to leave and not feel guilty about my absence. Some of the faculty are big “Bachelor” fans!
The first night you met Desiree, you wore your white coat and later you weren’t offered a rose. Do you regret it?
I’ve gotten this question a bunch. Yes and No. For one thing, the white coat gimmick is definitely not my style. I’m more of a cool, calm, quietly confident type of person. I try not to “stand out” or be “flashy” on purpose usually because it seems unnatural and insecure to me. I try to be very humble and under the radar in everyday life. [When Mike stepped out of the limo to meet Desiree, he offered to be her "McDreamy" for the night.] Additionally, the Grey’s Anatomy reference was about 6 years too late, and I’m only a senior in dental school, not a brain surgeon, and I’m definitely not worthy of a Patrick Dempsey reference. However, the first night is about letting go and stepping out of the box. It’s supposed to be dumb, silly, funny and embarrassing. Therefore, I don’t really regret wearing the white coat and looking silly. It was just about the experience and not being afraid to be in the moment.
How have your classmates reacted to the show?
My classmates were very supportive and are such a great group of people. We have so many different personalities in our class that it makes every day exciting and different from the next. I still get a lot of McDreamy jokes, but it’s all in good fun. I don’t have much shame and embrace the humor at my expense. I was shocked by how many of the faculty watched the show! I honestly thought when I left I would be able to sneak by; I was definitely wrong.
Can you tell us any “behind the scenes” secrets?
Secrets? What secrets…?
Would you do a reality TV show again?
I would definitely do a reality show again. The experience is one thing, but I think people don’t realize how many people it takes behind the scenes to make the show happen. I have never met a more eclectic mix of people. I always had a blast with the producers, casting directors and the rest of the crew. They are all outgoing and fun; they might just have more fun then the contestants on the show! I can’t speak for all shows, but Bachelorette/Bachelor has a close knit family and genuinely love what they do, and it shows. I’ve met a lot of great friends. Most people I’ve talked to had a similar experience.
What are your plans after school?
I’m currently applying to orthodontic residencies this application cycle. I started networking with entertainment dentists in California a few years ago. My goal is to build a brand to blend fashion, entertainment and dentistry. This all sounds very vague, but it will make more sense in the near future. I am very excited about graduating, pursuing orthodontics and taking advantage of other opportunities in entertainment after graduation. There will be more surprises to come, so be on the look out in 2014!
Have you found love?
I have not found love yet, but I’m happy to say I’m finally in a great place now and will be ready for it. I’ve been meeting some great people recently and I am excited to see what the future holds.
~ Megan Guthman, Alabama ’14, contributing editor