The untold truth of The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez

As Bachelor Nation fans and now presumably The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez know, with each new season of The Bachelor comes a new crop of contestants to love and loathe, and, well, everything in between. Of course, it wouldn't be The Bachelor without a little (or a lot) of drama, and Peter Weber's season proved itself to be quite the rollercoaster of emotions within its first three episodes alone. 

As longtime Bachelor fans have realized, each season the franchise undoubtedly features at least one contestant reportedly that's there "for the wrong reasons." Unsurprisingly, Weber's Bachelor season is no exception to this unwritten rule. In the third episode of Season 24, fans watched as Weber struggled with his feelings for contestant Alayah Benavidez — the former Miss Texas USA who found herself at the center of drama when multiple contestants expressed doubts to Weber regarding Benavidez's intentions. 

Ultimately, Weber made the decision to send the beauty queen packing. However, if spoilers are to be believed, Benavidez could end up becoming a major player in Bachelor Nation. Here's the untold truth of The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez. Warning: this article contains spoilers

The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez cites her grandmother as her biggest influence

The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez may not have received Peter Weber's first impression rose, but the Bachelor Nation contestant did make an incredibly memorable and sentimental entrance

During Weber's Bachelor season premiere, fans watched as Benavidez greeted Weber in front of the famous Bachelor mansion bearing a special gift. "Family is something that's super important to me," Benavidez told the Bachelor. Handing Weber a letter, she continued, "I have this for you. It's from my Grandma Rose." Later in the episode, Weber read Grandma Rose's letter. "You'll have to be on your best behavior if you want to impress her," Benavidez's grandmother wrote (via MySanAntonio.com). She continued, "Be real, because she is."

In a 2016 interview with Lady Code, the former Miss Texas United States called her grandmother her biggest inspiration. Benavidez revealed, "Growing up I always looked up to my grandmother. She was, and still is, such a strong woman of faith." The Bachelor contestant continued gushing about her Grandma Rose, saying, "She's my counselor, my fashion adviser and my prayer warrior. Anyone who has met her would agree that she is inspirational."

The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez describes herself as a "tomboy with fierce lashes"

As many Bachelor fans have likely noticed, multiple women cast as contestants on the show have beauty pageant experience. Hannah Brown, a contestant-turned-Bachelorette, won the Miss Alabama USA title in 2018. Brown's rival on Colton Underwood's season of The Bachelor, Caelynn Miller-Keyes, was Miss North Carolina USA in 2018 — walking away from the Miss USA 2018 pageant as first runner-up. 

Alayah Benavidez isn't the only pageant gal on Peter Weber's season of The Bachelor, as fellow contestant Victoria Paul won the 2019 Miss Louisiana USA pageant. However, Benavidez doesn't want to be viewed solely as a typical beauty queen. While she might look the part, there's much more to this Bachelor contestant than what meets the eye. 

In a 2016 interview with Lady Code, Benavidez revealed that she loves the outdoors just as much as the pageant stage. "If it's outdoors I am down to do it," the pageant queen exclaimed. The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez continued, "I'm actually kind of a tomboy in my free time... a tomboy with fierce lashes!"

The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez didn't start competing in pageants until high school

Fans of Peter Weber's Bachelor season will likely not soon forget the drama that transpired between Alayah Benavidez and her fellow contestant Sydney Hightower. During the third episode of Weber's Bachelor season, viewers watched as Hightower, visibly unimpressed with Benavidez for what she perceived as disingenuousness behavior, confronted the Texas native by questioning her pageantry background — prompting Weber to question whether or not Benavidez was there for the right reasons. 

However, while Benavidez might be a pageant winner now, the Bachelor contestant wasn't always been competing for a title. In fact, as Benavidez revealed in an interview with San Antonio Express-News, she didn't begin her pageant journey until high school. 

"It wasn't until I was actually a senior and I decided to compete [in] a small county fair-type pageant, but it had a scholarship opportunity," The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez told the publication. She continued, explaining, "I thought that would be a good opportunity just to get out of my comfort zone."

The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez loves to read

As past Bachelor franchise contestants have revealed, it's required that you remain as detached from the outside world as possible while filming the show. This means no cell phones are allowed, no phone calls back home, and no television. Surprisingly, reading is reportedly also on the list of banned pastimes. In 2017, AshLee Frazier — a contestant on Sean Lowe's season of The Bachelor — told The Verge that only one type of text was allowed. "No phone and no books. They were all taken," Frazier revealed. She continued, saying, "The only book[s] allowed are Bibles."

If the "no books" rule still applies, The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez likely found herself a bit bored during downtime while filming the reality TV show. After all, the beauty queen has admitted to being a huge bookworm. 

In a 2016 interview with Lady Code, Benavidez revealed, "I am so thankful that at an early age I discovered a love for reading." She continued, saying, "Little did I know that all those hours of escape were building a foundation for the years ahead."

The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez thinks of the pageantry world as a sisterhood

There's no doubt that The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez found herself at odds with multiple women competing alongside her for Bachelor Peter Weber's heart. The drama she had with contestant Sydney Hightower led to other contestants expressing their doubts about Benavidez's intentions, and the pageant queen made an even bigger splash amongst Weber's group of women when she made a surprise return after being eliminated to dish about contestant Victoria Fuller and her rumored relationship with country star Chase Rice. 

However, while she may have made one or two enemies during her time on The Bachelor, Benavidez has been vocal about the love she has for other women in her life — especially the women she's met through pageantry. "[People] might think [pageant contestants] are catty, objectifying, or women who need validation. But that couldn't be further from the truth," Benavidez told AlamoCityMoms.com in a 2019 interview. She continued, explaining, "It's kind of like... a sorority in terms of how we feel about one another." 

Added Benavidez, "It's a sisterhood in that we all hold each other up in respect and love."

The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez doesn't like to be "pitted against" other women

Despite what fans of The Bachelor witnessed during her run on Peter Weber's Bachelor season, Alayah Benavidez is adamant that she's not one to compete with other women in real life. 

In a 2019 interview with AlamoCityMoms.com, Benavidez opened up about why some pageant contestants opt to unfollow pageant fan accounts on social media or, in some cases, delete social media apps from their phones altogether. According to Benavidez, she and her fellow pageant competitors did this so that they, quote, "did not have to see this hyper-analysis from the fans."

The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez continued, explaining to the website, "Of course we are competitors, but we are not rivals. Yes, we ask to be judged and are in the spotlight, but we are not asking to be pitted against one another." Added the Bachelor contestant, "Criticizing my pageant sister's dress is the same at taking a stab at me because I love her. Even though we are public figures, we are humans and have emotional and visceral reactions to these things."

The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez FaceTimes her dog

One look at Alayah Benavidez's Twitter profile, and you'll find the Bachelor contestant sums herself up nicely with a short, sweet, and to-the-point description. "Addicted to traveling, iced lattes and love," Benavidez's Twitter bio reads. Added the pageant queen, "I post a lot of dog tweets."

And post a lot of dog tweets, she does! There's no question The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez is a dog lover — however, her favorite dog is undoubtedly her very own dog, a doberman named Titan. In March 2019, Benavidez posted a cute Instagram pic of herself and her pup, captioning it with a heart emoji and the words, "Sundays are for runs in the park with Titan."

During the onstage interview portion of the 2019 Miss Texas USA pageant, Benavidez was asked, "Aside from necessities, what is one thing you could not go without for one day?" Benavidez quickly responded, "My dog!" Explaining how difficult it is to go without seeing her "110 pound doberman," the beauty queen revealed, "Actually, when I'm out of town, I usually try to FaceTime him."

Her Bachelor drama aside, we're betting Benavidez and Titan were happy to finally be reunited when she returned from filming!

Alayah Benavidez's pageant experience likely helped her prepare for The Bachelor

As hardcore fans and longtime Bachelor franchise viewers likely know by now, the contestants are largely shut off from the outside world during filming. 

"It's kind of shocking because for the first few days you're going through withdrawal of everything in your life," former contestant Melissa Rycroft revealed to ABC News. She continued, saying being a part of The Bachelor or Bachelorette "definitely feels like a bubble."

Fortunately for The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez, her experience competing in major pageants likely helped prepare her for being cut off from the outside world for a while. In an interview with AlamoCityMoms.com, Benavidez revealed she was "surprised" at how "quarantined" she and her fellow contestants had to be. "We had full security detail around us at all times," Benavidez said. She continued, "Contestants had family members come all the way to Reno for added support, but we could not see them except at designated family breaks, which were only about 5–10 minutes a day, although we were able to speak to them on the phone and see them through FaceTime."

The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez is dyslexic

She might be a beauty pageant queen, but life hasn't been all sunshine and roses for The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez. In a June 2019 interview with AlamoCityMoms.com, the Bachelor contestant opened up about the struggles she faced as a kid, which continue to impact her life today. 

"I faced a lot of isolation and feeling that I wasn't worthy when I was younger," Benavidez told the website. She continued, "I'm dyslexic and I didn't understand that when I was in [my early years of] school. I wasn't diagnosed until high school." 

According to Benavidez, as much as she's always loved to read, her dyslexia made English class difficult and confusing for her. As the Texas native revealed to AlamoCityMoms.com, her experience with dyslexia is what inspired her to start her Read the Way campaign. "[Read the Way] is a way to communicate with my community that reading is important," said Benavidez. She went on, "If a child is not reading on grade level by the third grade, their chance of ever graduating from high school decreases sharply." Added Benavidez, "Literacy matters, and it affects children's outcomes."

The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez has been a victim of bullying

Unfortunately, her experience as a contestant on The Bachelor wasn't the first time Alayah Benavidez had found herself the object of someone else's disdain. 

In a 2016 interview with Lady Code, Benavidez opened up about her past experience with bullying. "In middle school and even in high school I felt bullied," Benavidez revealed. She continued, saying, "Sadly, I think most people are faced with some sort of bullying in their lives." Added the Bachelor contestant, "When I was able to look in the mirror and see myself as perfectly imperfect and embrace those imperfections I was finally able to face those bullies with confidence."

The pageant queen addressed her experience again during Miss Texas USA 2019, responding to an onstage question regarding "digital cruelty" and bullying. "People just need to reflect on how it made you feel when you were the victim of the bullying," The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez said. She explained, "I know that I would never bully someone and I would never put somebody in that position because I know how hard it was for me when I was faced with [bullying]."

The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez is a hardworking gal

As a contestant on Peter Weber's season of The Bachelor, Alayah Benavidez quickly found herself on the wrong side of fellow contestant Sydney Hightower. Annoyed with Benavidez for "turning it on" for the camera and not being her real and genuine self for Weber, Hightower made the decision to confront the pageant queen about her behavior. First, however, Hightower prodded Benavidez about her employment history. Approaching Benavidez, Hightower asked, "Do you, like, work at all?" Laughing, Benavidez responded, "I have three jobs." And while Hightower certainly seemed skeptical about the pageant queen's reply, all signs point to Benavidez being a hardworking gal. 

According to the official ABC bio for Benavidez, the Texas native is an orthodontist assistant. However, as evidenced by her Instagram, the Bachelor contestant is also a co-owner of Three Bees Boutique, which she owns and operates with her mother, Cynthia, and sister, Isabella. 

While the specifics of her third job are unclear at the time of this writing, Benavidez could be referring to her work as a model. However, no matter which way you slice it, The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez certainly seems to be a busy worker bee. 

The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez wasn't disliked by all of her castmates

The third episode of Peter Weber's Bachelor season saw the pilot struggle with his feelings for Alayah Benavidez, largely due to contestant Sydney HIghtower's claims that the pageant queen wasn't being genuine. After hearing from both Hightower and Benavidez, Weber decided to question a few other contestants about Benavidez, many of whom echoed Hightower's sentiments. Unable to fully trust Benavidez's intentions, Weber decided to not give her a rose during the next rose ceremony — though he admitted to regretting his decision soon after Benavidez left the mansion. 

While it appeared The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez was far from the most popular woman amongst Weber's contestants, Jasmine Nguyen — who competed alongside Benavidez for Weber's heart — had nothing but nice things to say about her fellow Bachelor contestant. In a January 2020 interview with People, Nguyen revealed, "When I say Alayah has been nothing but kind to me, she has." Nguyen continued, explaining, "There's nothing about her personality, there's nothing about even the way she speaks that I find bad."

Added Nguyen, "She wasn't even one of my closest friends in the house, keep that in mind."

The Bachelor's Alayah Benavidez and Victoria Paul have a history

While contestant Sydney Hightower was the first to raise concerns about Alayah Benavidez to Bachelor Peter Weber, Victoria Paul also revealed her skepticism about the former Miss Texas USA. According to Paul, who was crowned Miss Louisiana USA 2019, she and Benavidez knew each other from the pageantry world — but Benavidez asked Paul to not reveal as much to Bachelor producers. Still, Paul told Weber she and Benavidez weren't exactly friends, as they had spent only about three hours together before Bachelor filming commenced (via Entertainment Weekly).

Weber ultimately eliminated Benavidez at the end of the third episode, but the pageant queen made a triumphant return in the season's fourth episode, explaining to Weber that she and Paul had hung out for much longer than three hours. In fact, the two once took a trip to Las Vegas together. Steve Carbone of Reality Steve fame posted multiple pictures from said Vegas trip to his Twitter, writing, "Plenty of photographic evidence out there of this Vegas trip from January 2019 that Alayah & Victoria P. were on together." 

It certainly seems like these two have quite the history!