Bachelor Nation

The Bachelor's Kendall Long Wants to Help You Stay Connected During COVID

The fan favourite on her new book of questions 'Just Curious,' how she's keeping relationships thriving in quarantine and whether or not she'd become the Bachelorette

It’s not every day that a Bachelor contestant sticks out in your mind for something other than a memorable kiss or embarrassing mishap (cc: Peter Weber’s “Champagne-gate”), but it’s also not every day that a Bachelor contestant asks the lead if they’d ever eat human meat (cc: Kendall Long). The California native, who first appeared on Ari Luyendyk Jr.’s season of The Bachelor and later found love on season 5 of Bachelor in Paradise (Long dated former Bachelorette contestant Joe Amabile until January of this year), quickly became a Bachelor Nation fan favourite during her time on Luyendyk’s season. Fans applauded her thoughtfulness and maturity on the show, traits that were apparent during a heated confrontation with fellow contestant Krystal Nielson, an interaction that Long handled like a pro. Her inquisitive nature was also evident in the questions she asked, to both her potential love interest and fellow contestants, as well as the way she chose to connect with the lead, writing and performing a song for him on her ukulele. (“I was a bundle of nerves,” she says of night one in the mansion). Oh, and she’s also super into taxidermy. (A fun and pretty unique hobby, TBQH).

Two years out from her first appearance on The Bachelor, Long is taking the thoughtful and inquisitive nature that fans came to love her for and sharing it with the world, releasing her first book Just Curious on November 18.

FLARE chatted with Long from her home in California on everything from the inspiration behind her book,  how she’s spent her time in quarantine and whether or not we’ll see her as a future Bachelorette lead.

Kendall’s book, Just Curious, has been years in the making

Bach Nation first became privy to Long’s deep life questions on season 22 of The Bachelor when she quizzed Luyendyk during a one-on-one from a notebook of unique questions, including asking the race car driver, “If you were in a tribe and their tradition was to eat someone after they died, would you ever eat human meat?” But Long began collecting—and asking friends—these questions years before her time on TV. “It started as far back as college,” she says of her trusty notebooks. “I always would carry a notebook with me. [In some] I would collect quotes, others I would collect doodles, and then I had another [notebook] where I collected questions, and I thought it’d be fun to bring on first dates, to parties, with friends and family.” And eventually, to the Bachelor mansion. While Long says that while she decided to bring her notebook of questions onto the show as something to pass the time with the other women in the house, she ended up bringing it on one of her first dates with Ari. “I really thought it was a way to stand out and get to know him a lot more and to ask questions that were really fun and kind of poked at curiosity with each other.”

Read this next: All the Couples to Come out of Bachelor Nation

But while it didn’t work out with Luyendyk in the end, Long’s questions did stir something in Bachelor Nation. After her questions went viral on the show, she says, “People were saying, ‘this is something that I really want to bring on first date. This is something that I want to bring to my group of friends.’ So that was the first time that I realized I should share this. It’s helped me so much in my life and on my first days of getting to know people. And I want to share that with everybody else.”

And a pandemic won’t stop the mission of Just Curious

Which doesn’t mean that the road to publication has been necessarily easy, or free of anxiety. Like with most new experiences, it’s exciting to leap into the unknown—but it can also be incredibly frightening. Because, what if people don’t like it? While Long says she’s looking forward to seeing how people receive the book, there are obvious nerves. “This book is extremely personal because it helped me so much with relationships, not only romantically, but with my friends and family as well. So I’m sharing the personal with everybody. And it’s the first book that I have published so you never know; are people going to like it? Are they going to connect you with it as much as I have and people around me have?”

Not to mention the fact that said book—which is predicated on the idea of forging connections with strangers, even on a public bus—is launching in the middle of a global pandemic, at a time when talking to new people on the bus is pretty much the *last* thing on our minds. But Long is optimistic that the book, and its questions, can still be applied in the way they’re meant to, by helping readers make more meaningful connections with those already around them.

Read this next: Clare Kisses (Possible) Fiancé Dale Moss In New Promo

“It’s a time when I think people are craving connection so much because we are separated from people around us. I feel like because we can’t see our close friends and family whenever we want, this is just a more creative and fun way to spark that connection.” While you may not be asking strangers on your bus route home some fun and kooky questions, that doesn’t mean that you can’t hop on the phone or a Zoom call with your BFF across the country to pose a query or two. “It’s a way to kind of get to know the people that are close in your life even more,” Long says. “You know, challenge those relationships in a time that almost caters to you pushing them away.”

Ultimately, Long says she hopes the book helps readers gain an “arsenal of curiosity.”

“I hope that it teaches people to be curious,” she says. “Be curious about the people around you and you’ll be really surprised at where your relationships go.”

Kendall has been staying connected during COVID by getting outside

As for how she’s been keeping her own relationships thriving during the COVID-19 lockdown? A lot of time outside. In addition to reading and reflecting inward during this time, Long says she’s been doing a lot of open air, park hangouts with friends (she does live in sunny Los Angeles, after all) and enjoying exploring the city. “It’s been really great to see some of the outside areas of L.A. be so much more utilized,” she says. “There’s such a need to come together, and I see so much of that outdoors.”

Read this next: Bachelor Contestants Fall In Love In Two Months—How Realistic Is That?

She’d like to write another book—but don’t rule out seeing her on-screen again

While Long says that she sees more books in her future, that doesn’t mean that we can entirely rule out seeing her on our screens again sometime soon. An avid Bachelor and Bachelorette fan herself (she’s obviously rooting for Dale Moss on this season, with a tiny bit of skepticism), “I love The Bachelor world. It’s given me so much creativity and insight and it inspired the book,” Long says. “I feel like I’ve loved being a part of that, and we’ll see what happens in the future. But I’m really grateful for everything that the show has given me.”

We’re keeping our fingers crossed!