By Mariah Smith
Aug 21, 2018 @ 4:45 pm
Craig Sjodin/Getty Images

Subject: Jubilee Sharpe

Age: 27

Occupation: Army Vet

With each passing episode, Bachelor in Paradise devolves into a montage of childish antics at the hands of Jordan the model, and Chris the jerk. But one bright light shines in the darkness: Jubilee Sharpe. Joining BiP as late in the game as she did almost promises you a one-episode arc, but against all odds, Jubilee won Venmo John’s rose at the end of last night’s episode. As an alum of Ben Higgins’s season and season three of Paradise, Jubilee has been unlucky in love during her visits to this most perplexing Bachelor Nation. But, why? In addition to being obviously stunning, she’s smart (more on that later), interesting, and has faced more adversity than most reality TV contestants and come out being empathetic and open to love. Her life is so fascinating on its own, it’s a wonder why she even joined the franchise in the first place. But she’s here, and we need to get to know her better.

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Jubilee’s past is hard to believe. She touched on her tragic childhood during Ben’s season, revealing that her entire biological family had died in her native Haiti. But it wasn’t until after the show that she really opened up about it; Jubilee was six when her parents and her three brothers passed away, a series of events whose details she’s still trying to work out. After their deaths, Jubilee has said, “My 4-year-old little sister and I went to live with my grandmother, but she had leprosy and was dying and too sick to take care of us. So she put me and my little sister in an orphanage.” Jubilee was adopted by her American father, who was in Haiti on a relief mission. “He tried to adopt my sister, but after they went through the medical process, they found out she had an incurable disease and wasn’t able to be adopted,” said Jubilee, who later tried and failed to locate her sister. “The person who did my adoption told me she was probably dead … That’s where my guilt had come from.”

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Jubilee spent the rest of her young adult life growing up in Ashland, Oreg., and is now 27. She’s a military vet who took a break from serving to be on The Bachelor (apparently even the Army has Bachelor fever). And after being eliminated from Ben’s season during week five, Jubilee returned to finish out her service, completing four and a half total years as a computer and radio programmer. Yes, that means that when she told John he had the best body of any programmer she’s ever met, that was high praise — she herself is a programmer, and she’s worked with many more who had to be fit for their jobs.

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While Jubilee’s story should be made into a biopic one day, she’s strived and succeeded to be more than just her backstory — she’s also a person who fully embraces the joy in her present-day life. She spends a lot of time at the beach and at the gym (and, yeah, influencing us to subscribe to FabFitFun and the 310 Shake). She seems reflective when it comes to her childhood but pretty comfortable with how her life turned out. Two years ago, Jubilee found a baby duck that was the only surviving member of its 16-duck family, so Jubilee named the duck — what else? — Jubilee. Heart-wrenching.

 

Then let’s talk about what being a black woman on the Bachelor franchise really means. As much as the casting has evolved, it’s hard to ignore that women of color rarely progress to the final stages of Bachelor Nation’s competitions. So while my heart aches for Caroline, whom John was also vibing with, it was nothing short of empowering to see that rose go to Jubilee. That’s just a small part of why everyone on the Internet is shipping this couple hard. Take it from Evan Bass, a fellow Bachelor alum who's been stanning Jubilee — even if she shaded him with a “new phone, who dis?” when he recently texted her:

Here’s to rooting for Jubilee to leave Paradise with John by her side (or at least many more sweet endorsement deals).