Back Story: Robby Hayes

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// photo by Lyndsey Misenar

The Bachelorette hands out her final rose on the ABC reality show August 1. But filming ended way back in May, so 27-year-old finalist and Jax native Robby Hayes is hanging at home in San Marco. We caught up with him there to get the inside scoop on life inside the mansion, though he wasn’t giving up any spoilers.

• Hayes is the eldest of five kids, which may have given him an advantage over his competition on the show. “It helped being brought up the way I was with the great parents I had. It shaped me into the man I am today,” he says. “And when you’re cramped around so many people you have to know when to keep your cool and when to help out.”

• “I love being on the water, whether on a boat in the river or by the beach. My family are members at the Ponte Vedra Lodge. I like it up there, it’s relaxing.”

• Hayes was an All-American swimmer during his junior year at Florida State. He even swam in the 2012 Olympic trials. “It’s a very lonely sport at times. Getting up at 5:15 every morning, I couldn’t go out much. But that helped me keep good grades.”

• Though he loves to stay active, it was a challenge during the show’s filming as there’s no gym in the house and contestants aren’t allowed to leave the Los Angeles mansion. “We’d run laps around the house, do pushups.” But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t fun to be had. “We’d lay by the pool, we’d talk, we’d drink. There was never a shortage of alcohol.”

• “What might surprise people is you don’t really realize you’re trying to date the same girl as a bunch of guys you’re living with until you start to develop feelings for her. Then things get awkward. You wake up and you’re like, ‘I don’t want to be near this guy.’ That said, I made some great friends. I spent the Fourth of July in San Diego with one of the other contestants.”

• “I was not there for fame. I went out there to find love. And whether I found it or not, you’ll just have to keep watching.”