By Mia Weber
Editor’s Note: As Parent Ambassador to the LA Baby Show, Ali Fedotowsky will be cutting the ribbon on the first day of the Show on Saturday, November 5. For more information about the LA Baby Show, click HERE!
We all know the old adage of “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage.” Of course, these days, the path to a happy family is far less traditional for many. Just ask Ali Fedotowsky—the TV personality and fashion blogger who is most well known for her appearances on “The Bachelor” (as a contestant) and “The Bachelorette” (as the titular “Bachelorette”) in 2009-2010. In her case, it was more like: “First comes almost-love on one reality show, then comes not-meant-to-be love on another reality show, then comes a new friendship, then comes true love, then comes baby, and then comes marriage—if there’s time to plan the wedding while also taking care of baby!”
We joke, but in truth, Fedotowsky—who did indeed become engaged on the season finale of “The Bachelorette”—knows full well what the popular opinion is when it comes to reality TV romances, and she also has a graceful sense of humor about the unique path she’s taken in her personal life.
“Everyone always tells me: ‘Oh you must have realized that you can’t find love on a TV show after doing ‘The Bachelorette’—don’t you realize that now?’” she says with a knowing laugh.
For those of you not hosting #BachelorNation viewing parties every week with an empty seat reserved just in case Chris Harrison shows up, here’s a quick synopsis: Fedotowsky made her franchise debut as a contestant on Jake Pavelka’s season of “The Bachelor,” only to depart of her own accord to focus on her job at Facebook after making it to the final four contestants (the infamous “Hometowns” episode). She later became engaged to her chosen “Bachelorette” suitor, Roberto Martinez, but the relationship ultimately did not end in wedded bliss.
But, for Fedotowsky—now 32 and a happily engaged new mom—her experiences as part of ABC’s 14-years-and-counting reality romance machine simply paved the way for other opportunities in television that lead her to her current fiancé, Kevin Manno, a popular LA-area radio show host.
“I [tell people]: ‘Um actually, I met my fiancé on a TV show!’ I didn’t meet him on ‘The Bachelorette’ but I was doing a travel show for NBC called ‘1st Look’ and he came on the show…as a co-host for one episode,” she explains of how she and Manno met. “We were pretty good friends right away and then we were friends for a long time and eventually he moved out to LA and a romance started.”
It turns out that their meeting on TV was the perfect catalyst for their own, unique happy ending. Fedotowsky calls Manno her “best friend” and the pair welcomed their first child together this past July (adorable baby daughter Molly, now almost 4 months old) and are planning a California nuptial celebration slated for early 2017—a task that’s not always smooth sailing while caring for a new baby in the house.
“I work from home and I write a fashion blog, and it’s a full-time job, and having a baby is a full-time job, so doing both of those things and trying to plan a wedding at the same time? It’s near-impossible,” she explains. “I find myself running in circles in my head just trying to get everything done, but slowly but surely I’m getting little things done. I’m trying to keep it simple though, because the simpler it is, the less I have to worry about.”
While balancing work, wedding planning, and motherhood may be exhausting and frustrating sometimes, Fedotowsky—who grew up the middle sibling of three in Williamstown, MA—wouldn’t have it any other way, and she seems to be truly enjoying the new-mom experience.
“I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it’s been,” she gushes. “To look at this tiny little human and see yourself and see the person you love, also in that little human, is so incredible.”
On the flipside, Fedotowsky has no hesitation in acknowledging the challenges of new parenthood. For every sweet and silly moment she and Manno share in trying to make Molly laugh, there’s another in which Fedotowsky just cannot seem to get her to stop crying. Luckily, Fedotowsky is an avid reader and consumer of all info mommy- and baby-related (she swears by the sleep-training book Babywise), and she and Manno are equally committed to building a strong parenting partnership.
“I think we, luckily, are so on the same page in terms of parenting styles. I mean, our parenting style is learning as we go, and whatever works is what our style is…I do a lot of reading, and I’m constantly on my phone or on apps and buying books about different parenting philosophies and different things to do to help your baby sleep more and things like that,” she says. “And in terms of splitting our responsibilities, we are totally 50/50. Sometimes people will ask: ‘Oh, does Kevin help you?’ No! Kevin doesn’t help me, we help each other… That’s not helping, that’s just being a dad! So we really try to avoid using that phrase because I feel like it’s very stereotypical [about] the roles for men and women in a baby’s life.”
To match her thoroughly modern partnership and take on parenting, Fedotowsky also brings a fresh and entrepreneurial take on managing her professional goals and projects, namely her fashion blog Ali Luvs (aliluvs.com), which she started on her own three years ago.
Fedotowsky, an alum of Clark University, may have built up a respectable resume post-“Bachelorette, including stints with Fox 5 in San Diego, the E! Network, NBC, and more, but her interest in style writing came more naturally to her. Simply put: She was seeing tons of great clothes that she loved, but they were rarely affordable and they were almost always shown on size-0 women.
“My whole plan…[is that Ali Luvs] shows women affordable clothes,” she says, noting that she sometimes includes her splurge items on the site, but that most picks are under $100 and a good handful are under $50. “And I’m a more average-sized body. A lot of the fashion bloggers I follow, too, are a size 0 and look good in everything… I’m a size 6 and I weigh 142 lbs. I’m a very average-sized girl and I wanted to showcase that on my blog.”
These days, when readers land on Ali Luvs, they are greeted with a sweet petal pink color scheme and plenty of style and shopping content, as well as a lifestyle category and—to the delight of “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” diehards everywhere—a category labeled “Bachelor Nation,” where she dishes her thoughts on the show’s current season and even posts selfies with other former “Bachelorettes” like Jojo Fletcher, Desiree Siegfried (née Hartsock), and Kaitlyn Bristowe. And now that she’s a new mother, Fedotowsky is eager to bring a new dimension to the site as she writes for an audience of fellow moms. Her site includes sub-categories for “Breastfeeding Friendly Fashion” and “Maternity Fashion” and she posts many sweet shots of her daughter as well.
“I first realized the mom-audience when I was pregnant and posting pregnancy fashion…there’s just such a need for more bloggers to showcase pregnancy fashion because I was looking for cute clothes and was having a really hard time finding them. I realized that moms-to-be were really interested in that,” she explains. “Now that I’m post-partum and have my little baby, it’s also changed what clothes I can wear… For the most part, in my everyday life, I need to wear clothes that are breastfeeding friendly. So that’s been a mission of mine—to find cute outfits that have easy access so Molly can eat.”
Dressing for her post-baby body is something she’s been open, honest, and good-humored about: “My stomach is just not the same. I have this layer of fat over my stomach that wasn’t there before and it’s weirdly jiggly… And sometimes when I wear my normal jeans, it just sort of flops over the side and I have this weird, jiggly muffin-top,” she says with a laugh. “But I realized that if I wear high-waisted jeans it keeps all that in. And it’s funny because the ‘mom jeans’ that everyone talks about are these unflattering high-waisted jeans, but nowadays, high-waisted jeans are super-cute, so it’s like: ‘Oh, there’s a hot pair of mom jeans! I need to tell my followers about these mom jeans!’ It’s definitely been fun to find new ways to dress my new body and dress for my new lifestyle.”
As she expands the reach of her blog (eventually, she’d love to bring on a team to assist her in expanding the site) and continues to uncover new joys (fun playdates with Fedotowsky’s friends and their babies) and challenges (anxiety about applying to competitive preschools) with Molly every day, Fedotowsky hints that she is also in talks for a few TV shows. For the moment, however, she is dedicated to putting her family first as she continues to look for the right balance.
“This is the first time that I’ve felt it was okay to put my career on the back-burner,” she says. “I have a few things potentially in the works, but nothing signed off on yet—but if I’m going to take a job in hosting again, it’s got to be so worth it that I believe it will lead to a better life for Molly in the long run…I’m not going to sacrifice spending every day with her unless it’s totally worth it.”
To learn more about Ali Fedotowsky, visit aliluvs.com!