Internet loves to hate BSU grad on ‘The Bachelor,’ but she has at least 1 staunch defender

From left to right: Krystal Nielson, Nathan Fast (Dancing with the Stars) and Michelle Heart.
From left to right: Krystal Nielson, Nathan Fast (Dancing with the Stars) and Michelle Heart.

Boise already has a “Survivor” champion in Ben Driebergen. Will it also be able to claim a winner of “The Bachelor”?

Krystal Nielson, 29, is a contestant on the 22nd season of the show, which began Jan. 1. Nielson and a handful of other women are vying for Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s hand in marriage.

Nielson, originally from Montana, currently resides in San Diego as a fitness instructor. But Nielson received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boise State University in January 2011, according to the school’s registrar.

Every season of “The Bachelor” has a so-called villain or two. Thus far, Nielson is being portrayed as this season’s. The Baltimore Sun refers to her as “hated,” while a fellow contestant has said Nielson is “playing Arie ‘like a fiddle,’” according to People.

Much of the internet shares similar sentiments.

Nielson has at least one staunch defender, however, in Michelle Heart, who worked with Nielson at Peak Broadcasting. Heart, now a morning host and assistant brand manager at 107.9 LITE-FM, remembers, “a kind person” with drive and passion.

“(Nielson) was one of our promotions techs that would always stop through the station just to see if anyone needed an extra hand with something and was really great at interacting with our listeners and making them feel welcome at our station events,” Heart told the Idaho Statesman. “We went through breakups of long term relationships at the same time and she was one of my girlfriends that I could count on to be there for me if I needed an ear, some advice or insight.”

Heart said she was surprised to see Nielson portrayed as a villain, though she admits the two haven’t spoken in a few years. Heart is not, however, surprised with Nielson’s desire to win.

“Krystal is driven. If she sees something she wants, she's going to find a way to get it one way or another,” Heart said. “She showed that in the Treasure Valley by starting her own YouTube channel to cover local events/businesses when she was trying to break into broadcasting and being persistent in asking for an air-shift on KISS FM. She eventually got the opportunity to do weekends there a few months before she moved away.”

You can catch ‘The Bachelor’ at 7 p.m. Mondays on ABC.

Michael Katz: 208-377-6444, @MichaelLKatz