Pop Culture

Tyler Cameron: The Real-Life Diet of the Undisputed King of the ‘Bachelor’ Universe

Even for those fully immersed in the niche pseudo-celebrity fan culture that fuels the Bachelor franchise’s enduring popularity, explaining the Tyler Cameron Phenomenon to the uninitiated is not an easy task. After all, Cameron, a 26-year-old contractor with a penchant for dancing shirtless through the hallways of half-completed homes, was only one of 30 contestants to appear on the most recent season of The Bachelorette, which concluded in dramatic-as-ever fashion in July. He didn’t even win the competition for the titular lead’s heart; instead, as he stood across from Hannah Brown, diamond ring in hand, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, millions of people watched his face crumble as she tearfully decided to bestow the season’s final rose on someone else.

But by the time his runner-up status became official, Cameron had already eclipsed the sort of middling social media influencer fame typically reserved for Bachelor veterans. His athletic résumé—four years of college football at Wake Forest and Florida Atlantic University, and a brief stint with the Baltimore Ravens—afforded him easy crossover appeal. During his on-screen interactions with Brown, Cameron came across as good-natured and earnest, rather than flippant (like many contestants), thirsty (like nearly all of them), or fawning (ditto). “I want you in your highs, and I want you in your lows. I’ll take whatever I can get with you,” he assured her during a particularly tumultuous week of romantic intrigue. “If I’ve got to pick you up, I’d be happy to pick you up.”

Perhaps most importantly, whenever Brown wasn’t around, Cameron endeared himself to viewers by remaining wholly unbothered by the usual inter-contestant drama, reacting to each testosterone-fueled flare-up with some combination of scorn, bemusement, and boredom. His appeal, in other words, is that he behaved the way everyone imagines they’d behave if they were on the show: like a normal person.

It’s only been a few months since the Bachelorette finale, and it seems as if Cameron is still figuring out what he plans to do, exactly, with his budding celebrity. (Few were surprised when he reportedly turned down an offer to be the next Bachelor lead, since the universal consensus is that the gig now is beneath him.) His following on social media rivals Brown’s, and he’s been spotted around town in the company of rumored paramour Gigi Hadid and her circle of very famous friends. For most members of the Bachelor extended universe, the whole point of going on TV is to try crossing over to mainstream stardom afterwards. From this perspective, Cameron—despite his apparent disinterest in putting in the effort to do so—might already be the show’s most successful alumnus.

Since moving to New York, Cameron has become involved in ABC Food Tours, a food-and-fitness mentorship program for kids in New York City public schools. As part of this initiative, Cameron and a college teammate, Matt James, have put together a fledging community of runners—open to cardio enthusiasts and Tyler enthusiasts alike—who meet at Tavern on the Green for group runs through Central Park. What began as a casual hobby has morphed into a serious one: In October, Cameron plans to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon alongside a few Bachelorette pals, and then will come home for the TCS New York City Marathon the following month.

Before he embarked on his latest Central Park expedition, I spoke to Cameron about Bachelorette food hacks, pickup basketball scouting reports, and the professional wrestling career that could have been—although if he decides he wants to chase that dream one more time, at this point, I’m pretty sure he could get Vince McMahon to take a call.

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