If you’ve been watching Bachelor in Paradise, you’ve most likely declared Michelle Money as your spirit animal by now. The witty, warm-hearted Utah native originally appeared on Brad Womack’s season of The Bachelor and later on Bachelor Pad 2. Now, in paradise, this single mom has swept away audiences with her humor and impeccable style (we mean impeccable). On the show, she’s the resident beauty guru, getting the girls beautified for their dates. At home, Money is mom to nine-year-old Brielle and works as a hair stylist while filming her YouTube show, MMandL.
This Salt Lake City lady was determined to find love this time around, even though she was initially apprehensive. But true to her fearless form, Double-M decided to take the leap, affirming, “When they approached me with the show, I was pretty skeptical about going back on TV for a third time, but they presented the format to me as being a lot more realistic in terms of finding a relationship.” Money also admits, “After going on The Bachelor, it was appealing to me to find someone who has had the same experiences that come with reality TV, like being recognized in public and having to deal with the editing.”
When it comes to love, fans still swoon over the heartwarming relationship between Money and Bachelor Pad 2 teammate and ex-boyfriend Graham Bunn, hoping that “MoneyBunn’s” love will prevail. However, the BIP fan favorite insists that their relationship is based on a special bond between friends. “We’ve been through a lot of unique experiences with each other that brought us closer, and it kind of just evolved from that,” she explains. “It’s hard for people to wrap their heads around it because they see how much we love and care about each other, but we just aren’t compatible in a romantic/long-term relationship/marriage way.”
Having your BFF by your side for six weeks is definitely helpful when you’re navigating the unpredictable waters of paradise. In fact, Bunn’s right-hand girl had his back when news came out that his new boo AshLee Frazier had been bad-mouthing castmate, Clare Crawley. Money was also at Bunn’s side when he got sick and had to excuse himself from the rose ceremony. Money admits that she initially thought Frazier would be a great catch for her ex. “AshLee is a sweet woman,” she said, “She was kind to me, and she was kind to everyone. There’s a lot of really sweet things she did for everyone that you don’t get to see.”
But her mind started shifting when she realized that there was another side to the personal organizer. “It was very obvious that when the cameras were on, it was a different version of AshLee,” she says. “AshLee had two different personalities. And knowing Graham the way I know him, that’s not something he’s interested in.” The single mom goes on to explain the type of guy her ex is by saying, “Graham is very compassionate and soft, and he should be with someone who’s consistent, who’s always who they are. It became clear that AshLee wasn’t that girl.”
Protecting her ex and friend Crawley was just the start, the Utah native became a real heroine on the show when she went out of her way to confront Jesse Kovacs about treating Christy Hansen in a less-than-gentlemanly fashion and dishing that he’d hooked up with multiple girls. “For all the women in America,” Money said encouraging Hansen to stand up to Kovacs and herself when he decided to leave the show ahead of time, realizing he wouldn’t be getting a rose. “We have all experienced someone like Jesse in our lives, who makes you feel degraded or disrespected,” Money says. “Sometimes, you want to brush it off, but that just enables them to continue their behavior, and I’m not down with that.” Money knew that Christy had been through a lot in previous relationships and lost her self-respect. “People will treat you the way you let them treat you,” she adds. “Christy’s an amazing woman, but the longer she keeps letting guys treat her that way, the longer it will continue to happen. She needed to know her feelings were valid and what happened wasn’t her fault.”
But while the hair stylist was putting her energy into helping her friends and fancying them up for their dates, an unexpected Cody Sattler arrived on the beach, and the SLC sweetheart finally got to have something of her own to talk about. Sattler, 28, who appeared on Andi Dorfman’s season of The Bachelorette, tore into Tulum and swept Money right off her feet. Their blossoming relationship changed everything for her. “Coming out of the experience with Robert and feeling pretty rejected and sorry for myself and then having this guy come in who was full-throttle was a total contrast of emotions pretty quickly,” she said. “I wondered if he was being serious, being real, and really meant what he was saying to me. But after talking to Graham, my girlfriends, and the producers, everyone agreed that he was genuine.”
Money tells us that one thing we don’t get to see on the show is how genuinely interested and compassionate Sattler is in the fact that she’s a mom and has a daughter. “He loves talking about her and asked me a lot of questions,” she says. “That’s not easy to find.”
Money has not yet confirmed whether the two are still dating and if he’s relocated from Chicago to Utah, as many rumors claim, but the happiness in her voice could be an indication that these lovebirds are ready to fly! So, until next week we’re holding on for the final episode of Bachelor in Paradise to see where the road will take them!
Michelle and MMandL co-host Laura Armstrong have teamed with Emminent beauty to launch a skincare line that can now be found at TheBeautyDestination.com. You can keep up with Michelle on Twitter @MoneyMichelle. Be sure to tune in to Bachelor in Paradise on Monday nights at 8/7c on ABC!