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Jan 23 2017
by Jessica Vuong

Meet the College Students Behind this Viral 'Bachelor' GoFundMe

By Jessica Vuong - Jan 23 2017
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If you’re an avid watcher of ABC's The Bachelor, have a Bachelor fantasy league or just keep up with pop culture, you should have heard about Corinne Olympios and her nanny, Raquel. Corinne is a 24-year-old contestant on The Bachelor and is soon going to take over her daddy’s multimillion dollar company. Along with her fabulous life in Miami, she has a nanny, Raquel, whose job consists of cutting Corinne’s vegetable slices, doing Corinne's laundry and ensuring that Corinne's bed is made every morning. Not only that, but Raquel makes Corinne’s favorite cheese pasta and lemon salad with exactly the right amount of lemon, oil and garlic salt that Corinne likes. Although Raquel had maybe two seconds of on-screen time handing Corinne her bowl of cucumber slices, America has become fascinated by her. In fact, people are so intrigued that a couple of college students at Penn State have created a #FreeRaquel2K17 Go Fund Me! Find out why Mark Chandley and Jillian Gonzalez decided to start this viral fundraiser and what responses they’ve gotten.

Why did you decide to open up this GoFundMe campaign? Was there a specific part in an episode that prompted you to do it?

Mark said, "I’ve never watched the Bachelor before the last episode. My roommates asked me if I wanted to and I thought I might get a good kick out of it. I was treating it as a comedy show, essentially. Then I was introduced to Corinne and I was floored by the way she was portraying herself on TV. She definitely knows what she wants and goes for it. But I was really shocked when she started casually talking about how she had a nanny and how she does all these basic things a 24-year-old woman should know how to do. Like make cheese pasta. Macaroni and Cheese? The directions are on the back of the box! As she just kept saying these ridiculous things, I couldn’t help but think 'what an entitled brat.' I was sitting with my friends and someone joked that it would be funny if we started a campaign to save Raquel, the nanny. So I rolled with that, and the rest is history!"
Jill answered, "Honestly it was all a joke. We were sitting watching The Bachelor and Corinne started talking about how she has a nanny while she's 24 and I lost it! That's when I stated sarcastically, 'Let's make a GoFundMe to save Raquel.' I just thought it was ridiculous that you're on a show to get married to a 36-year-old man and you still have a nanny at 24."


What kind of feedback have you gotten from your peers, family members, strangers, etc.? What type of responses were you expecting?

Mark said, "For the most part, the responses have been largely positive, people took it as it was — a joke. People think it’s hilarious. It’s funny because my mom watched Entertainment Tonight and saw it there, and thought it was super funny. Of course there are those out there who think I’m a scammer or they’re upset because they believe we should be raising money for legitimate causes. As I’ve said over and over, it was never my intention to divert attention away from those who are working hard every day to raise money for real reasons, I respect those people immensely and I wish them the best."
Jill commented, "Honestly, my friends thought it was hilarious! Totally something I would do...but the reaction from strangers was 50/50. We either had strangers being all for it, thinking it was hilarious and donating or the other way around and bringing other issues into the mix when obviously this was all a joke."


What's it like to go viral?

Mark answered, "It’s honestly insane. I never expected any of this to happen, I’m just as shocked as anyone. It’s pretty cool that I was covered by the likes of CNN, Entertainment Tonight, E!, Us Weekly, Refinery29, the Hollywood Reporter and so many others. As of right now, we have 50 thousand shares on Facebook and close to a million page views. I walk around on campus and my friends are like 'Mark, you’re famous.' I’ve gotten messages from people I haven’t heard from in forever and strangers are asking me to donate the money to them for a variety of reasons, but I feel like it’s mostly that my GoFundMe is viral and not me as a person, but I’m fine with that. I’m just happy that I didn’t get any negative press from this. However, fame is fleeting and the campaign has definitely lost some steam; the Inauguration kicked me out of the news cycle."
Jill said, "VIRAL?! I'm still in shock. It was one thing when it said 2k shares...I was freaking out, then it's all over Twitter and the next thing you know, we have over 200 dollars and Corinne even posted it on her Instagram. It's just crazy to see what the internet can do, especially with something like this!"


You've raised quite a bit of money so far. Has there been any luck contacting Raquel? How do you think Raquel might be responding to all this publicity?

Mark said, "Almost $400 raised and I never expected to even raise $1. I have not been able to locate or contact Raquel, I imagine that I probably won’t be able to. My only hope is that this hasn’t affected Raquel negatively; none of this was a knock at her profession."
Jill responded, "So Mark is the one whose name is attached to the account so he's been talking to GoFundMe about how we HAVE to give the money to Raquel. So we have to find her, we have no choice. But I'm not sure how she's feeling about this publicity. It's obvious Corinne is not happy...but hey, I mean, more spotlight for her."


If you're unable to get in touch with Raquel, what do you plan on doing with the money you've raised?

Mark answered, "All money will be returned to the donors. I suspect that since I stated that in the description, that’s the only reason we’re getting donations in the first place, because people know they’re getting their money back."
Jill said, "So we have to find Raquel somehow, maybe Chris Harrison will help us or even Nick Viall himself...but we have talked about either giving the money back or donating it to a charity, we haven't decided yet. But GoFundMe says we have to find Raquel, so Chris Harrison hit us up!"


On a final note, who do you think will win The Bachelor?

Mark responded, "I hope it’s Danielle M! She’s such a sweet and down-to-earth girl. She deserves to win! Hope Nick sees that!"

Jill answered, "Honestly, this is a difficult one. I'm really tied between my Jersey girl, Alexis, and Danielle L., but I'm gonna have to say Danielle L. is gonna win it all the way!!! How can she not?"


As Corinne carries on in her pursuit of Nick Viall's heart, hopefully the donated money will find its way to Raquel.

Lead Image Credit: #FreeRaquel2K17 GoFundMe Page

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Jessica Vuong - University of California, Davis

Jessica is currently attending UC Davis and majoring in Managerial Economics. She was vice-president of teensReach, a community service organization, and has competed in several SJPL art & design contests. She loves coffee, sarcasm, and rainy weather. Follow her on instagram: @jsscvng | pinterest: jessvjess | VSCO: jessvjess

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