Warwick Reider

Warwick Reider of ‘The Bachelorette’ is Our Sleepy Meme King

This Japanese American heartthrob is ready for love—and a nap!

Warwick Reider

Courtesy of The Bachelorette

If you’re keeping up with Charity Lawson’s current season of The Bachelorette, you’re already familiar with Japanese American contestant Warwick Reider—a construction manager from Oxford, Ohio, now based in Nashville, Tennessee—who recently had an iconic elimination from the show that fans are not sleeping on.

Reider melted the hearts of viewers from the moment he stepped out of the limo during the show’s 20th season premiere.

His introduction on the show in pursuit of Lawson’s heart included him giving her a one-way ticket to his hometown, an introduction Lawson herself said was her favorite out of all the men’s first introductions with her.

Unfortunately, the potential couple’s one-on-one date at a San Diego boardwalk ended with him getting sent home. Incredibly relatable to those of us with a low capacity for social engagement, Reider grew increasingly tired as the date progressed, stunting his ability to fully engage in conversation with Lawson. After deciding to part ways, and while Reider was in a limo for an exit interview following his elimination, an iconic moment in Bachelorette history was born—Reider fell asleep during the interview, instantly making him trend on Bachelor Nation social media as the fandom’s newest sleepy king meme.

Following the airing of his iconic elimination, I spoke with Reider about his time on the show, what it meant for him to be a part of the very few representations of Asian people on the franchise, and his thoughts on the online reception of his departure. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Andre Lawes Menchavez: So, tell me, what inspired you to apply to get onto the show? Were you a fan of the show previously? What were you expecting when you got the call that you’d be on?
Warwick Reider: My friend’s girlfriend and my close friend both nominated me to go on the show. I had recently moved to Nashville and since I was single, they both believed that participating in the show could be a good chance to experience finding love in a way I had never considered before. While I was familiar with the concept of The Bachelorette, I had only watched a few episodes here and there. I was definitely intrigued by the idea of finding love in such a unique and intense environment. 

It was a mix of disbelief but also excitement when I received the call that I would be on the show. I knew that the experience would push me out of my comfort zone and challenge me on various levels. I was excited about the possibility of forming a meaningful connection with the Bachelorette, but I was also aware that there would be moments of vulnerability, which definitely made me nervous.

ALM: Well, ultimately, I found you to be a great addition to the season! I’ll touch on the iconic elimination in a later question, but at the core of your casting is this incredible moment of you being an outstandingly charming, attractive, and relatable representation of Asians on television. How’d it feel like for you to represent the Asian community in this season?

I began to understand the magnitude of the show and that my presence on a national platform had the potential to impact a wider audience. It was an honor to be seen as a representation of Asians on television, especially on a show that doesn’t typically cast many Asians.

WR: Being given the opportunity to represent the Asian community on the show was a deeply meaningful experience for me. Growing up in a rural town, there were not many people that looked like me or shared a similar cultural background. I’ve always felt that I was somewhat of the Asian representative, in any cohort really, until I got to college [at Miami University]. I definitely felt a sort of responsibility, knowing that my actions and presence would be viewed across the nation and in a way that could affect perceptions of my culture.

When the filming started, I felt even more responsibility when I began to understand the magnitude of the show and that my presence on a national platform had the potential to impact a wider audience. It was an honor to be seen as a representation of Asians on television, especially on a show that doesn’t typically cast many Asians.

During my time on the show, I wanted to be as authentic and true to myself as possible, which also meant embracing my cultural background. Receiving positive feedback and support from viewers who saw me as a representative of the Asian community was incredibly humbling, even down to the opportunity of sharing my experience with you, here. While my time on the show may have been short and—maybe not so—sweet, I am proud to have been a part of a season that showcased diversity.

ALM: I’m glad you mention the diversity of the show because, I’m sure you’ve seen the Simu Liu tweets asking for an Asian Bachelor one day. I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are on people wanting to see an Asian lead on the U.S. franchise one day. Would you ever be open to being the Bachelor yourself in the future, or even taking a shot at love in Bachelor In Paradise?
WR: I am truly grateful for the overwhelming support and kindness I have received from fans of the show. The idea of having an Asian lead in the franchise is something that would be great to see and I have no doubt that the show’s fans would give the same level of enthusiasm and support to an Asian Bachelor. As for myself, I would for sure be open to the possibility of being the Bachelor one day or exploring the chance to find love in Paradise. If so, hopefully next time they’ll let me take naps in between filming scenes!

ALM: I would love to see our sleepy king back on TV again! But while we talk about Asian leads and representation, what do you think is the importance of having Asian people on screen—not just as one-dimensional characters but as real people from different backgrounds, with different personalities, and in different positions of power, like being a lead?
WR: As I mentioned before, growing up in a town where not many people shared the same cultural background, it is incredibly empowering to see individuals who look like you and share your heritage and experiences, being portrayed as real people with depth. Historically, Asian representation in TV and film has been limited and often stereotypical. I grew up seeing Asian characters only as the role of the sidekick, or the "smart Asian" or the "sporty Asian." These portrayals have failed to capture the richness and diversity within the Asian community.

There has been a positive shift in recent years and we have seen notable milestones with Asian actors like Simu Liu, who resonate with audiences worldwide. Seeing someone who represents us and who embodies strength inspires our community…Films like Crazy Rich Asians have also been groundbreaking in showcasing a wide range of Asian characters and narratives, and this film presented a different view from the usual stereotypes on such a large scale.

ALM: I agree that it’s incredibly important to represent a wide range of Asian cultures, backgrounds and personalities. Speaking of, do you think your culture as a Japanese person has influenced your pursuit of love, on and off the show? Has your background and culture taught you anything about love?

It was always “Did you eat?” or “Are you hungry?” and was then followed by catering to their needs. Showing up, spending time with each other, and eating together as a family—that has always been my version of love.

WR: My Japanese culture has taught me invaluable lessons about love! In my parents’ household, love has always been something that you nurture with acts of service and quality time, on repeat. While words and communication are essential, I have learned that showing love through actions and shared experiences is equally significant. 

Growing up, my family didn’t always say “I love you” or show tons of affection. Instead, it was always “Did you eat?” or “Are you hungry?” and was then followed by catering to their needs. Showing up, spending time with each other, and eating together as a family—that has always been my version of love.

ALM: Okay, but speaking of, I have to ask about your elimination and the time you spent with Charity on the boardwalk! Our introverted king! I was rooting for you!  So, it hurt to see you go so soon. The elimination, however, was iconic, I can’t even lie. How’d that date feel like for you and how’d it feel like to get eliminated after? Were you surprised at the outcome of the date?
WR: The entire experience, including the iconic elimination, was truly unbelievable. The date on the TV was mostly an accurate representation of how it went in reality. Charity is a wonderful person, but romantically, we didn't have that strong connection. It goes to show the importance of dating until you find the person who is the right match for you. You can't force something that isn't there, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to have explored the possibility of finding love. 

To be fully honest, I wasn’t surprised at the outcome of the date and my elimination. There were multiple factors that contributed to this result, all of which boil down to us being on different pages and seeking different things in relationships. While I was sad to go home, I understood that it was a natural outcome given our differences. Even though I was eliminated, it didn't overshadow the incredible experience I had on the show. I had the chance to meet and connect with so many remarkable individuals and the friendships and memories I made are unforgettable.

ALM: I’m glad you’re walking out of this with your head held high and having great memories to look back on. But how has it been for you to see it all play back on TV and see those absolutely hilarious Bachelor Nation tweets and memes of you? What have your thoughts been on the fan reactions online to your iconic sleepy elimination?
WR: The fans' reactions to my iconic sleepy elimination have been what relieved my anxiety about how awkward I was on the date! I never thought my yawning face would be plastered all over the Internet for everyone to see. The memes have been hilarious, especially to my friends who know I have a low social battery.

I have tons of memes saved to my camera roll, and they really capture how creative the Internet can be. It was pretty cool to see what people were coming up with, and how many people could relate to my sleepiness! The support and humor from Bachelor Nation have helped me to not take myself too seriously and I’m glad my experience is relatable to at least some people!

ALM: You are 100 percent relatable, I can’t imagine the anxiety I’d get having basically a first date with someone I like in front of a camera crew, knowing it’d be broadcast to the whole country! But anyway, I also wanted to ask another thing that I’ve asked all the Bachelor/Bachelorette Asian contestants I’ve spoken to before: What did your Asian parent think about you being on the show when you told them you were gonna be casted? I’ve always been intrigued to know because I know my Asian parents would be confused, concerned, and judgmental of me!
WR: I love this question! When I told my parents, especially with my mom being Japanese and neither having seen the show, their reactions were quite interesting. My sister had to explain to them how the show worked, and like almost everything else in my life, my parents were in full support!

My parents met in an untraditional way, so they were open to the idea of me exploring different avenues to find love. They were in full support of me giving the show a try and trusted that I wouldn't make a fool of myself…maybe an oversight on their part! Having their support meant a lot to me and their trust and openness definitely made a significant impact on my experience.

My parents met in an untraditional way, so they were open to the idea of me exploring different avenues to find love. They were in full support of me giving the show a try and trusted that I wouldn't make a fool of myself…maybe an oversight on their part!

ALM: Well, I’m glad you did end up going on the show. But with your time coming to an end and that elimination becoming a part of your legacy on the show, I’d also like to know, what’s something about yourself you feel the show didn’t get to portray about you? On the surface level, a regular viewer who didn’t look up your social media or speak with you would see that you’re just an incredibly hot guy who gets a lil sleepy sometimes—but what more is there about you that you’d like viewers at home to know about you?
WR: I appreciate the compliment! I guess I'll have to start accepting that from now on that I’ll be known as the “sleepy guy from The Bachelorette.”

But one aspect that I feel the show didn't capture, and even completely turned 180 degrees, is my ability to hold a conversation and connect with people on a deeper level. Talking about myself in such an intimate setting, but also in front of a bunch of cameras and knowing the size of the audience, was super intimidating. I wish I had been able to be more comfortable in that setting and show that I can actually have a good conversation. I promise I’m not typically as awkward as the show portrayed!

I hope that the show’s fans can recognize that behind the sleepiness, there is a person who values authentic connections and can have fun on a date—just only if it ends before 9 p.m.!

ALM: People really do forget that this is a television show and I bet you all had such long filming days in so many different locations! I’d get sleepy too, for sure. But, for a final question, although your time was cut short—and I personally feel like you deserved so much more time—what do you think this has taught you about yourself, about love, etc.?
WR: I really appreciate that, but I genuinely believe that everything happened for the best! The end goal of the show was for Charity to find her best match, and as we all could see, I wasn't the right fit for her. It was important for me to recognize that and not prolong the process or waste anyone's time. Although my time was cut short, I trust that it was the right decision.

Being on the show has taught me so much about who I am in a romantic relationship. One of my main takeaways was the importance of improving the way I communicate my feelings, no matter what situation I’m in. As someone who tends to internalize issues, I realized that openly communicating my emotions, even in tough situations, is essential to foster a healthy and strong connection. 

And I learned that amusement parks make me tired, I have to take a nap before I go on a date, and that I must start drinking energy drinks!

Published on July 25, 2023

Words by Andre Lawes Menchavez

Andre Lawes Menchavez (he/him) is a Filipinx, Indigenous and queer community organizer who uses journalism as a tool of activism, constantly seeking to lift up marginalized communities through his work. He received his bachelor of arts degree in law, societies and justice at the University of Washington and his master of arts in specialized journalism—with a focus in race and social justice reporting—from the University of Southern California. Find him on Instagram at @itsjustdrey.