The sting of Valentine's Day still fresh in their unattached hearts, the would-be bachelorettes queued up Sunday in high heels and makeup, outside a Vancouver boutique hotel, undeterred by the chill in the West Coast air – or the stiff competition.
"I just want to try it out, be brave, and if something finds me, then it finds me," said Samantha, Aho, 24, who tends bar at a pub called Woody's, where she's met "a lot of the wrong ones, for sure."
It was the first casting call for The Bachelor Canada, which will ultimately see 25 women compete for the hand of an as-yet unnamed bachelor.
The attire of choice? Think prom, plus a few years – and minus a few inches.
"I'm wearing my Vegas dress," said Noel Hoffman, 23, sporting a leave-nothing-to-the-imagination red dress. "The only place it's really appropriate is Vegas." Hoffman arrived with BFF Angela Waterberg, 24, whom she met waitressing at Moxie's in Langley, where they both live.
"We both got dumped," said Hoffman, Katy Perry blasting from a speaker out on the sidewalk. "The guys were jerks."
Upstairs in the penthouse Halo Suite, a single red rose bloomed in a bud vase, and casting producer Heather Muir outlined the ideal bachelorette.
"I'm looking for the ones who can be genuine on camera and are genuinely looking for love."
How does she know?
"It's a gut thing."
Offering a different take was a producer who worked with the Bachelor franchise in the U.S.: "They're looking for crazy," said the producer, who asked not to be named. "They're looking for just crazy enough for good TV. They don't want axe murderer crazy but they want ... trampy crazy, insecure crazy, bossy crazy. Father issue/mother issue crazy. Fame crazy."
Shivering in her sleeveless pink ruffled plaid blouse, black micro skirt and Jessica Simpson booties, Jesson figures it was all for a good cause. "I'm definitely looking for my soulmate and I'm hoping that the Bachelor will be the one," she said, trying to warm up with a grande soy chai with whipped cream and caramel drizzle.
Jesson, 22, flew over from Nanaimo Sunday morning, after about three hours of prep time. "5:30 a.m. the alarm went off and I started getting beautiful," she says.
A marketing executive for a gardening magazine, Jesson says she has a lot to offer a potential soulmate. "I'm really giving. I truly believe that a relationship should be equal, but I'm such a lover. I just want to give, give, give."
The educational assistant was first in line at casting call Sunday, arriving two-and-a-half hours before the designated start time.
"I'm here to find love and try something new, says Steele, 25, who works with special needs children in kindergarten.
She has been a fan of the Bachelor franchise from the beginning, and says her favourite all-time bachelorette is Canadian Jillian Harris (of course). But Steele's overall reality TV role model is Kim Zolciak of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. "She's just really positive."
Steele knows she'll have to be careful about her behaviour, should she win one of the coveted Bachelor spots. "I'm definitely going to have to keep it classy."
Shakespeare, 23, is a real romantic. Her fantasy first date? An outing on a yacht, followed by a candlelight dinner on the beach, with roses and chocolate. (Someone's been watching The Bachelor.)
She is also, she confesses, "addicted to shopping on Victoria's Secret" (online). She arrives at the casting call wearing a lacy silver-coloured Victoria's Secret top (although the visible, matching bra underneath is from La Senza) and carrying a Victoria's Secret tote bag.
Her favourite work by her namesake playwright? You guessed it: Romeo and Juliet.
So what did they think of her romance obsession in the casting interview? She's not sure. "I don't think that came up."
You might think Brittany Vazzaz has the ultimate job when it comes to meeting men, working as an administrative manager at a Vancouver yacht club. Not so, she says. "They're all older and married. And I'm not a home wrecker."
Vazzaz, 26, has tried online dating, has met people through friends, and has also met potential dates walking her Shiba Inu, Sadie Mae Miso. But it's been about two years since her last serious relationship.
Hoping to change that, Vazzaz showed up Sunday in a light pink silk chiffon dress ("my Valentine's Day present to myself/Bachelor audition dress"). The intention may have been to look hot, but cold was the order of the day. "If I start talking funny," she said, "it's because my chin is frozen."
Tracy De Medeiros
Eleven days before the Bachelor auditions, Tracy De Medeiros celebrated her 28th birthday with friends, who convinced her to try out for the show. So on Saturday, she took the ferry over from Victoria, where she is doing her Master's in counselling psychology, on her way to becoming a relationship counsellor.
Something on her dates always goes wrong.
One guy seemed to have real potential: good looking, well-established, made her muffins, massaged her feet. Then they kissed. "It was like a baby bird was pecking at me."
When Kristen Maclean, 29, told her mother that she wanted to audition for The Bachelor Canada, her mom balked. "She told me I needed to get my brain checked."
But mom came around. On Sunday morning, she was ironing her daughter's shirt, helping her pick out boots, and asking her mock interview questions.
The previous day, Maclean, a labour and delivery nurse based in Kelowna, risked her life, she says, driving to Vancouver through rain, fog, snow and more rain, to get to the audition.
"Ideally, I would like to be the runner-up, and be on The Bachelorette, so I'd have 25 men," she says. "Better odds, that way."