SARASOTA, Fla.- The long awaited new season of The Bachelor premiered Monday night on ABC. And one of the Suncoast's very own is competing to win the heart of bachelor, Juan Pablo.
"She is so lovely. When you first meet her, she's so pretty, but then she's so sweet and she's so helpful and when her son comes in here you just love to watch them,” says Robin Turner, her co-worker at ERA Waterside Realty.
32-year-old bachelorette, Renee Oteri, lived in Martha’s vineyard for 12 years before moving back to Sarasota with her son. She works as a real estate agent at ERA Waterside Realty in Siesta Key. Her co-workers had nothing but kind words when describing her to ABC 7.
"She's very energetic, loves to be in the in the water. Loves the beach; loves to go paddle boarding,” says Steve Severino, her co-worker at ERA Waterside Realty.
Renee and her 8 year old son, Ben, seem inseparable. She also has a love for photography. Her website shows portfolios of her work and her bio describes her passion for capturing unique moments in people's lives.
"I'm so excited for her. I love it. I watch it every week. Addicted, total addict,” says Sylvia Echols, with Michael & Co. Jewelers, located next door to the realty firm.
ABC's contract with bachelor contestants and their families do not permit them to go on camera until after the show is completed.
But former Sarasota contestant Elyse Myers, from season 16 with Ben Flajnik, gave us a behind the scenes look on how it works, and she says sometimes it's really more about the experience.
"I knew there was nothing there, but it is kind of like a competition that you want to stay there because I did have so much fun with the girls and I got to travel,” says Myers.
"Renee's real down to earth. She's easy to get along with; she's understanding,” Severino.
But will she be so understanding when more than 20 women are vying for Juan’s heart as well. There is bound to be drama.
"Renee is really comfortable and confident with herself,” says Turner.
Those close to Renee say, she's perfect for Juan Pablo.
"Match made in heaven," says Severino.
The 2-hour premiere starts Monday night at 8 p.m. on ABC. Renee and her family will be having a special viewing party with family and friends.