Single, successful and bilingual—meet Sarasota's Daniel Volz, the newest star of Der Bachelor, the German spinoff of The Bachelor, the cult-adored American reality show that has run for more than 20 seasons.
Volz, a 32-year-old real estate agent with Premier Sotheby's International Realty, is originally from Germany. He moved to Sarasota as a teenager in the late '90s and after a spell elsewhere moved back in 2012. He applied for the Bachelor gig on a whim when friends from back home suggested he give it a try. "Long story short, next thing I know I'm standing in Miami and I'm the Bachelor," Volz says.
The first episode of the show aired last week on German television. The new season includes nine episodes that run for about an hour and 45 minutes apiece, with 22 female contestants vying for Volz's affection. We caught up with him last Thursday to find out what it's like to be "Der Bachelor."
What was the tryout process like?
It took quite awhile. I started talking to them in the middle of the summer. As they narrowed down their choices, we were talking on a weekly basis. I was in line to fill my sandbags for Hurricane Irma when they called me, saying, "We've got great news!" I was like, "That's great, but I've got this hurricane to deal with." It was a typical Florida hurricane day.
Even though it's a German show, they filmed it in the U.S.?
It opens in Miami and then we travel throughout the world. Bachelor is probably one of the primetime shows in Germany, so they pull out all the stops for the locations.
Does it follow the format of the American version?
It's pretty much the same. You've got 22 single ladies who are fighting for my affection. You've got one-on-one dates, group dates and as you go through, you start giving people roses. One of the big key differences is, unlike the American version, it doesn't end in a proposal. It's more casual. It's easier on the nerves. You don't have to meet someone in two months and marry them.
Were you a fan of the show before being picked?
I'd watched the previous seasons. You want to do your homework.
Are all the women from Germany, or do they come from other countries, too?
There's all kinds of cultural backgrounds. A couple moved there at a young age or are originally from other countries. The show itself is broadcast in all German-speaking countries.
The first episode just aired. Have you been recognized at all?
I can't tell you how many Facebook friend requests I've gotten, how many people have reached out to me. But I walk down Main Street here and it's, "Oh, it's just Daniel." That's a part of the attraction to the whole scenario. If it bombs, I can go back to Sarasota, where no one knows me.
Are you doing lots of media interviews?
Yeah, I've got about six or eight a day, probably—anything from newspapers to magazines to blogs. There's a lot of interest—"Who's this guy who lives in Florida who wants to take one of our women?"
Are your friends excited for you?
I had to keep it a secret until a week ago. It's funny because everybody was wondering, "Where did Daniel go?" Most of my guy friends are like, "That's cool," but it's their girlfriends and wives who are like, "This is amazing! You're the Bachelor!" I'm not someone who likes the limelight a bunch, but my family, they used to all act in Germany, so I'm used to people coming up to my grandpa asking for an autograph. So, in a way, I know how to deal with the attention. But it's a weird experience. It hasn't quite sunk in yet.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity. If you happen to speak German, you can watch clips of Der Bachelor featuring Volz and Sarasota online.