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Meet the Man Who Keeps ‘The Bachelor’ Stars in the Spotlight

After the cameras are off, Paul Desisto knows how to keep the opportunities coming

A year after former Bachelor Chris Soules broke her heart in grand fashion on reality TV (is there any other way one's heart can be broken when viewed by millions?), Jade Tolbert, a contestant from Season 19, is doing just fine.


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The cheerful brunette and onetime Playboy model has lots of new relationships — with brands, mostly. And when she's not promoting products on her social media pages or taking meetings in New York City and Los Angeles, she's working on her own brand. First there was the organic makeup line, Naturally Jade, and soon she'll launch a collection of pool floats in partnership with subscription box company FabFitFun. (Yes, this summer you'll be able to float around the pool in an inflatable donut with Jade's name on it.) And of course, there was the high-profile wedding to another reality TV star from the Bachelor franchise, Tanner Tolbert, a massive party that included a performance by Seal and was aired on ABC this past Valentine's Day.

So, like I said, she's doing all right. And for much of that (the falling-in-love-part being the notable exception), she has just one man to thank: Paul Desisto, a talent manager in New York City who's become the go-to person for Bachelor Nation alumni looking to stretch their 15 minutes of fame.

"I can relate a lot to the Bachelor clientele," Desisto tells Racked. "Most of them are around my age; I'm 27."

It's a niche Desisto is particularly suited for. He got his start early in the entertainment industry, working as a DJ while in college in New Jersey, establishing connections at nightclubs and music venues in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, and later working for Billboard, where he rubbed elbows with celebrities amid the boom of social media stardom. His social media pages alone offer insight into the life he lives, and lives for, abundant with celebrity snapshots: "With Ruby Rose." "With Pauly D." "With Ke$ha."

If you follow anyone from reality TV on Instagram, maybe you're already familiar with Desisto's work: all those stars hawking cotton-candy-blue SugarBearHair gummies as their very own secret to strong and shiny hair, or Flat Tummy Tea as a surefire trick to slim down ("veggies like broccoli make me feel a little bloated," Jade admits in a recent post). But while product endorsements on social media are an increasingly common way for reality TV stars to earn some cash after their show ends, it's not the only option.

"Each client is different," Desisto says. "Some do appearances, some like social media endorsements. Some want to work full-time and some don't. Some want to go further into the entertainment industry. I ask them: What do you want to do with your life? How can I help, as an agent, a manager, or a friend? It's just a matter of listening."

Others, like Jade, are eager to move past promoting other companies' products, and start their own collections €— of makeup, clothes, accessories or whatever they're into. Desisto is working with another reality TV star on a sunglasses line.

In other words, there's no typical day on the job. Desisto's goal, in a nutshell, is to take the people reality TV produces —€” whether they're alumni from Vanderpump Rules or Real Housewives, or people who sought love on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette— and find a way to keep the momentum (and the cash flow) going. And he's very, very good at it.

That there is a market for this at all is a sign of the times, certainly, but it's also big business. Jade and Tanner (lovingly known as Janner among fans) are reportedly on track to earn $1 million this year from social media endorsements, according to an US Weekly report. (Desisto shared the news but said Central Entertainment Group, the agency where he works, was not the source in the story.)

Central Entertainment Group recently rolled out a campaign with HelloFresh, which involved getting its celebrity clients to post Instagram snaps of the food delivery service, also a client. "A family that cooks together stays together," wrote Teresa Giudice in a recent post, clad in a HelloFresh apron and clutching a fistful of asparagus.

It's "100 percent, absolutely" possible to make a living from sponsored posts alone, Desisto says, especially for women who already have big followings on social media and are interested in working with hair, makeup and skincare brands. That's why you see Emily Ferguson, one of the twins from Ben Higgins' recent season of The Bachelor, posting discount codes for Bombay Hair curling wands, and Amanda Stanton sharing a selfie of her and her daughter both wearing a TruSelf Organics facial mask.

But it's not all about the money: sometimes the celebs are paid, but other times they're doing it for the free products, or to establish a relationship with a brand they want to work with more in the future, perhaps opening doors to one day launch their own collection, Desisto explains.

"If women want to do something post-Bachelor, the beauty space is wide open," he says.

That's not to say all of Desisto's clients are women —€” or reality TV stars for that matter. In fact, he says his biggest client right now is Aaron Carter, the not-so-little-anymore brother of former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter. (Although, to be fair, the Carter family did have a reality TV show for a brief while in 2006, and both were on Dancing with the Stars.)

"[We] just clicked right away," Desisto says of working with the pop singer. "He hadn't put out music in the last 10 years; he's gone through some struggles. But I started working with him because I saw so much potential in him."

"He wanted to get back into the scene, back to playing high-end venues where there's thousands of people," Desisto continues. "And I booked him at many of those in the last several months. But I also told him, ‘Aaron, you need a plan. We have to really make this happen.'"

Carter's first single in a decade, "Fool's Gold," launched this month.

"Just getting started again... ;)" the singer tweeted on the song's release day.

Press ALLLL day in NYC

A photo posted by Paul Desisto (@pauldesisto) on

Desisto also works with Chris Soules, the Iowa farmer and star of Season 19 of The Bachelor, and a client who often takes him in a different direction, brainstorming partnerships with farming and agriculture organizations, for example, instead of beauty brands. Soules, who appeared on Dancing With the Stars last year, is now exploring TV projects related to farming.

"Chris is awesome —€” he likes to work," Desisto says. "We invest a lot of energy in him because he has so much potential. He wants to do a lot in the farming industry. We kind of zoned in on Canada, and if you Google it, he did a big campaign with the Grain Farmers of Ontario. We were the ones who came up with that."

Farming endeavors aside, the Bachelor client Desisto just might be the most proud of is Juan Pablo, one of the most controversial bachelors in the show's history. . He also happened to be Desisto's first client in the reality TV space.

"When he came off the show, not a lot of people liked him," Desisto admits. "But venues liked to book him because of the PR that came with him. Press outlets always wanted to interview him. If he went to a nightclub, there would be hundreds of reporters there trying to take his picture."

Club appearances can bring in big bucks, depending on the celebrity.

"If you're Paris Hilton, you're going to charge $100,000," Desisto says. "But there's a limit, too... each market is different and each market has a set rate. You can't charge $100,000 in Arkansas."

The chaos surrounding aspects of the job like these late-night gigs might seem intense, even unbearable, for the average person, but Desisto revels in the attention. Plus, he's used to it.

"I was 21 years old and DJing in Atlantic City and having thousands of people come see me," Desisto says. "I saw how it works at a young age."

The "it" here, of course, being the magnetic draw between a public figure and a fan — a force so powerful it's bankrolled multiple generations of Kardashians. And for reality TV stars, it's exactly what they need to advance their careers and keep the buzz going.

"It's a win-win for everyone," Desisto says. "It's fun; they love doing it. They love taking pictures with their fans. I think it's a great opportunity and everyone should take advantage of it."

"Think about when you were 21 or 22 years old and you fell in love with someone on TV," he continues, encouraging me to really try here. "And you got to meet that person and take a picture with them. Think about how happy that made you."

Sure, it's easy to argue that reality TV stars have a shelf life, but Desisto insists that the possibilities are endless. As long as celebrities are willing to work, he will find them work. Of course, what that looks like is bound to change.

"Let's say [a client] is younger and then a few years later gets pregnant," he explains. "Then you just focus on brands that would want to collaborate with a mother, maybe baby clothing companies ... there's opportunities for any age out there."

The key, he says, is living "a life people love to follow," and having fans who want to know about every marriage or birth announcement, new pet, new house, or new fashion line, for example. That's the not-so-secret secret.

"Reality TV stars are so relatable," Desisto says. "When people see someone on TV, they feel like they're already best friends with them because they know their life story. That's why it works."

It's a hard pill to swallow —€” are we really that fanatical about the people we see on TV? —€” but given the omnipresence of today's celebrity, I know he's right.

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