The announcement of the first Bachelor Winter Games cast earlier this week inspired plenty of questions. Where is Bachelorette heartthrob Peter Kraus? How are some international contestants only 21? Perhaps most direly, who the heck is Michael Garofola? The former Bachelorette contestant makes a return to Bachelor Nation as the token long-forgotten castmate who makes you wonder why producers went to him for the opportunity. Michael on Bachelor Winter Games is totally a random casting choice, but I'm here to break down everything you need to know about him before Winter Games premieres on Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
The 37-year-old is the oldest Winter Games contestant, first entering the franchise on Season 9 of The Bachelorette with Desiree Hartsock. I don't know about you, but Desiree's 2013 season is quite the blur. She ultimately married her Final Rose pick Chris Siegfried, which is always a major achievement, but their televised romance was overshadowed by third-place contestant Brooks choosing to leave and sending Desiree into a meltdown. To this day, a mention of Desiree's season just sparks my memory of her sobbing on a tropical island.
Michael may not have made Desiree cry, but he definitely left an impression on her. The Lindenhurst, New York native finished fifth after butting heads with villain Ben earlier in the run. The two clashed when Ben interrupted Michael's private time with Desiree at a cocktail party despite him already having a rose. Hmm, sound familiar?
In a classic Bachelorette move, Ben and Michael were selected for a two-on-one date together to angrily flare their nostrils at each other. OK, so Michael actually questioned Ben to the point of the latter getting upset and being sent home. For Michael, the rest of the season was fairly uneventful, but it was enough to send him to Season 2 of Bachelor in Paradise two years after Bachelorette.
Anyone who keeps up with Paradise knows that Season 2 was the year of Jade and Tanner, who were engaged on the show and later married. I'd ask Michael if he saw something special bloom between those two early on, but he was eliminated in Week 2. Thus, he plunged into the Bachelor pool of obscurity for a few more years. So, what has he been up to since then?
The New York City-based attorney has over 17,000 Twitter followers, which is modest for a Bachelorette alum (Dean Unglert, from the most recent season, has about 94,000) and proves that he was part of the franchise way before involvement guaranteed some kind of social media deal. If you scroll through his page, he seems like any other Long Island bro who made it in the big city, addressing Donald Trump's tweets from a lawyer's perspective and sharing his struggles with Manhattan dating.
His New Year's Eve Instagram post recapped his 2017, revealing that he had traveled and just accepted a new job after some professional challenges:
Thankfully, I ended the year by accepting a position at a great law firm in midtown, where I am excited to build a practice in 2018 and beyond. Ultimately, I learned a lot in 2017, about myself and others, and I yearn for the new beginning and the hope that a new year and a fresh calendar always promise.
So, essentially, Michael is #blessed.
While the rest of his pictures usually consist of his dog and the city scenery, he posted a pic of his September appearance on an ABC red carpet alongside Jared Haibon from Kaitlyn Bristowe's Bachelorette season. Cute, I guess? Random, but cute.
Although he clocks in at the same age as Nick Viall, Michael definitely never needed the perennial fame of Bachelor Nation to satisfy him. According to his LinkedIn page, he attended University of Notre Dame for undergrad and then received his law degree from Fordham University. Michael is seriously intelligent, and although he may not bring in the big ratings, I think I may have found my new favorite on Bachelor Winter Games.
Good luck to him and the rest of the cast when the games begin!