Reality television may seem like an orchestrated drama and a choreographed reality on camera, but audiences tend to forget that cast members are real people, living real lives under the spotlight. The Teen Magazine had the incredible opportunity to interview Chris Bukowski, a Bachelor Nation alum, on his business ventures, sports coverage and life beyond the “lights, camera, action.” It was my chance to meet the mystery man behind the elusive rose.
20th Anniversary Coverage of Major League Lacrosse
Chris is currently covering the 20th anniversary season of Major League Lacrosse in Annapolis, Maryland with the Denver Outlaws, the team for which he is also the Director of Sponsorship. Doing one-on-one player interviews and immersing himself in the game, Chris credits his incredible experience to the "team camaraderie, the chemistry between the players and the opportunity to see competitive sports live," which during the current COVID-19 pandemic, is now a rare chance. When asked if he would pursue sports reporting as a career post-MLL, after all the years spent being the one interviewed, he hints at the possibility of it happening "someday down the road," since he has loved the repartee he has built with the team, as well as "the insights these players have, both on and off the field." On his love of sports, Chris says:
I’ve been an athlete ever since I could pick up a baseball bat. My first job after college, I worked for the NHL (National Hockey League) and the New York Islanders. I’ve always been intertwined with the sports world and I’m a competitive guy by nature. Being able to relate with the players on the Denver Outlaws from a competitive standpoint and increasing my background knowledge of sports, specifically lacrosse, has been extremely helpful.
The Business Mindset and Entrepreneurship
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A notable characteristic of Chris is his investment into his degree in hospitality and business management, whether it be opening up an eatery, doing media consultation or working sponsorship deals for a sport's team. But, ultimately, three seemingly different business ventures are tied together. Chris opened The Bracket Room, a popular sports lounge and eatery in Arlington, Virginia in 2013 and during the early days of inauguration, he realized the need for online marketing and digital advertising to make his eatery the one-stop destination for locals.
And thus came KCM Create; a low key passion project turned full-time business started by Chris and a few friends. KCM Create works to revamp the online image of businesses and startups, with web development and support, social media strategies, and content creation. KCM Create has landed some big clients over the years, such as Light Nightclub, Las Vegas, and Forte, a streaming platform for fitness studio classes.
Chris is a longtime friend of Lauren Foundos, the founder and CEO of Forte, and KCM Create has worked with this online fitness platform for six years. "This company has really flourished during this pandemic as it's a game-changer with a lot of public gyms being closed due to COVID-19. It's a female founded business and I'm proud to be working with them." Even with his relationship with the Denver Outlaws, Chris has had previous experience being in a business partnership, which influenced his decision to join.
With his success in the hospitality sector, Chris has some carpe diem advice for young entrepreneurs:
It is always scary when you're younger, but that's when you have the ability to take on more risk. My advice is if there's something you're teetering towards or are unsure about or if it's something you are concerned will be a set back and not a path forward, take that risk because you won't always have the opportunity to take the plunge and make it. For the young entrepreneurs out there, take a leap of faith and if you really believe in what you do, why not? Go for it.
Life Lessons from being on The Bachelor
Finale night tonight! To say that I’m not anxious, excited, nervous and every other feeling would be a lie. I made the decision to come back to Paradise to be able to embrace all these feelings and I’m so glad I did. Thank you all for the continued support over the years and riding this rollercoaster ride with me. ❤️ #BachelorInParadise
Chris holds the record for the most number of appearances on The Bachelor, a successful American dating show where through first impressions (the Rose), group dates, and one-on-one time, the matchmaking process and romance algorithm leads to finally finding "the one." To have his long term, behind-the-scenes perspective on the "glitz and glamor" of the reality television world was truly insightful. Chris started on the show when he was 24 years old, and nine years later, looking back at how much he has grown since then, he has used "that time to learn about who I am and how I need to work on myself."
A lot of reality t.v. is all “Me, Me, Me”, and having to direct the spotlight upon yourself. But at the same time, you have the opportunity to help other people out if you use your social platform and your public voice in the right manner and it’s probably what I’ve learnt the most over the past 9 years.
Chris talks about the reality of online bullying faced by cast members on the show, and the difficulty in dealing with harsh criticism and being in the limelight of public scrutiny:
Bullying is extremely real online. I know of previous cast members who struggled facing the brunt of online bullying. It's something we signed up for but it wasn’t something we could prepare for unless we’ve done it numerous times. It’s hard to shield that stuff out and it’s tough because you can’t mentally prepare for it. It’s a struggle and everyone thinks it’s this glamorous, awesome reality and while the attention is flattering for a certain amount of time, it goes away.
I posed an interesting question that I had always wondered while watching The Bachelor and other reality t.v. shows: Is life as dramatic off screen as it is on screen? Chris agrees that real life can have "pockets of drama, sometimes extremely stressful and intense," such as when he was opening up The Bracket Room. But The Bachelor is next level drama, mostly for entertainment purposes and to keep its audience hooked.
Chris's Quarantine Lifestyle
Since he is currently working out in Annapolis with the Outlaws, Chris may be getting a little "stir crazy" in his hotel room but instead of winding down, he prefers to amp himself up with a lot of exercising, specifically running or walking up to 6 to 8 miles a day.
At the beginning of the pandemic, assuming this was short term, people preferred to lounge about and watch movies. I think a lot of people were able to realize that it was an opportunity to take a load off everyday stress, workout more, eat healthier and clear your mind.
Overall, with his ambition and work ethic, Chris Bukowski has proven himself to be multi faceted professionally and I wish him the best of luck for the success of his future ventures in the industry, be it on screen, or behind the scenes, adding to his impressive resume.