Airline pilot to ubiquitous reality TV show contestant may not be the most obvious career choice, so find out how Jake Pavelka used “The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love” to land a "People" magazine cover and an extended fifteen minutes of fame.
Originally from Dallas, Texas, Pavelka was born in 1978 and found his love of planes early, starting flying lessons at twelve. By 23, he was flight instructor. While working as a pilot for a small airline (Atlantic Southeast Airlines), Pavelka also pursued the camera with local modeling and TV commercials in Texas. In 2009, he was cast in the fifth season of ABC’s "The Bachelorette." Though he may have only had middling results in winning Jillian Harris’s heart (he was eliminated in the sixthepisode), his willingness to show his sensitive side and winning smile brought an invite from the producers to be the star of the reality tv show “The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love,” which premiered in January 2010.
That scandal-plagued fourteenth season of the long-running series included an eliminated contestant hooking up with a show producer. Pavelka selected the least popular of the 25 women hoping for roses, Vienna Girardi. Vienna’s good-girl rival, Tenley Molzahn, was the crowd favorite. Rumors of trouble in reality paradise quickly surfaced before the rose petals had a chance to wilt, but he kept smiling through the photo shoots as Jake Pavelka headed to his next reality show.
The tenth season of ABC’s popular “Dancing with the Stars” put Pavelka in competition with camera magnets Pamela Anderson, fellow reality star Kate Gosselin and bad girl Shannen Doherty. With rumors already swirling that he was gay, a show centered on tight clothes and spangles may not have been the best choice. Pavelka was eliminated in the sixth week and earned the unfortunate distinction of being named No. 4 on E Online’s list of “Top Nine Reality Stars We’re So Sick Of” in March 2010.
Soon enough, there was more Jake Pavelka to be sick of when “The Bachelor” couple returned to the entertainment news cycle with their very public breakup. With accusations of cheating on Vienna’s part and refusal to have sex on Pavelka’s part, the former sweethearts opted to air their differences on a special episode of the “The Bachelor” in the summer of 2010.
Still hoping for camera time, Jake Pavelka has recently scraped together a few more screen credits, with guest spots on lesser-known series such as “Drop Dead Diva,” “Party Girl Plus One” and soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful.” If Andy Warhol is right about those fifteen minutes, it might be time for Jake Pavelka to dust off those pilot wings.