You may recognize her from season 26 of The Bachelor, but fan favorite and Coastal Virginia native Susie Evans is used to being the one behind the camera. Her love story with Clayton Echard made headlines in the most recent season of The Bachelor, which earned its billing as “the most dramatic season yet.”
Whether you’re a member of Bachelor Nation or could do without the franchise, it is no secret that the popular television series is a cultural phenomenon. In case you didn’t watch, here’s a quick spoiler: After a dramatic fight in Iceland, Evans decided to exit the show, leaving behind two women to continue in the running for Echard’s heart.
After admitting his faults to both and continuing the journey, he ultimately felt it was best to send both women home and go after Evans. In a brutal final rose ceremony, Evans turned him down and they both left the show single—that is until they rekindled off air and shared their love with the world during the live season finale, announcing that Echard was making the move to Virginia Beach to live with Evans.
An avid audience member myself, I recently had the chance to sit down with the happy couple to discuss their experiences, their life post-show and their future aspirations, including details on her business, Susie Evans Media, and Echard’s goals pertaining to mental health awareness and fitness training.
Life for the two following the show could be described as challenging to say the least. Both suffered the kind of public backlash that can often come with reality show fame, but neither have any regrets. They agreed that staying true to who they are, learning patience and acknowledging contradicting perceptions is what got them through.
“Susie stood by my side helping me understand a different perspective,” Echard noted. “You have to accept responsibility for your actions and take ownership regardless of your intent.”
Since then, the pair has settled into Virginia Beach, pursuing their respective career goals, and, of course, ensuring that the bachelor becomes a true Coastal Virginia local. One of his biggest takeaways since moving to the area is the laid-back atmosphere: “It’s hard not to be in good spirits when you have a beach right in your back yard.”
For Evans, it was about returning to a place that she considers home. “There is so much for me here. My family is close, and I know that I ultimately would like to own a home here one day,” she adds.
Evans studied film in college at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri, not realizing that it would one day lead her to starting her own company. “Honestly, I got my start by one of my friends, Tylar, who does photos,” she remembers. “She brought me along to a couple of weddings because I had a video camera, but I never charged anybody.”
When people tried to pay her for her services, she put all the money towards a scholarship fund for girls at her alma mater, Poquoson High School. In May 2021, Evans decided to quit her corporate job, obtain a business license and start her own wedding videography company. After her time on The Bachelor, she received many inquiries about photo sessions, as well, which prompted her to expand her offerings.
Although most of her clients are based in Coastal Virginia, Susie Evans Media has been recognized nationwide, as she recently traveled to the West Coast to film a wedding. Evans explains that she loves “the idea of having a home base, but still having an occupation that allows travel and exploration.”
Being able to witness her in action, Echard has also developed a deeper understanding of Evans’ passion. While mentioning that she goes above and beyond to capture the most perfect moments, he also recalls the incredible amount of joy that the job brings her.
“That is exactly what you want on your biggest day,” he describes. “Someone who is going to give you a video that you won’t just watch one time back but will want to turn it on every week because it is that high quality.”
While Susie Evans Media continues to grow, Echard also finds himself establishing his own career goals and chasing multiple passions. As a mental health advocate, he plans to travel the country to share his own personal experiences, both on and off the show. He hopes to connect with people on a deeper level and crush the stigma of talking about mental health.
Echard recently launched a new fitness website that offers free educational resources and video tutorials on how to properly perform lifts and exercises as well as programs that are designed to help people who are focused on getting in better shape.
As the two continue to navigate their future together, they maintain the shared idea of having careers that allow them to travel and work from anywhere. In the meantime, they plan to stay in Coastal Virginia to continue growing with one other.
To learn more about Susie Evans Media, follow @susieevansmedia on Instagram.
To learn more about Echard’s fitness programs, visit ClaytonREchard.com.
Cover Image Courtesy of @claytonechard on Instagram.
Susie & Clayton’s CoVa Go-To’s:
For Local Coffee: Three Ships Coffee Roasters
For Local Beer: Commonwealth Brewing Co.
For Outdoor Excursions: First Landing State Park or Chic’s Beach
For Nightlife: Chick’s Oyster Bar or Tulu Seaside Bar & Grill
To Work Out: Elev8 Fitness
To Take Pictures: First Landing State Park (specifically by the boat ramp)