Ryan Chenevert had just completed his last exam in his senior year at LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center and was at his doctor’s office waiting to be called for his annual physical when a representative of Cosmopolitan magazine called to say that he had been chosen as Cosmopolitan’s Bachelor of the Year for Louisiana.
“Some woman on the phone was so excited,” Chenevert said. “I thought it was a joke. I thought one of my friends was playing a joke on me.”
The whole adventure started in March when Beth Burris, a friend from undergraduate school at LSU, asked Chenevert if she could enter him in the competition. He agreed, especially when he learned that the grand prize was $10,000.
Burris, who is in film school in New Orleans, wrote a couple of paragraphs about Chenevert and submitted two photos, a headshot and a shirtless shot.
Chenevert forgot about the contest until he was called two months later by the excited woman who explained the guidelines for the national competition.
Rule No. 1 was that he could not have a girlfriend until the competition was over. “I said not to worry about that,” Chenevert said. “I said I’m pretty bad with girls, and law school for the last three years consumed my life. I hadn’t been on the dating scene for a while.”
The second requirement was that he could not tell anybody about his state title or put anything about it on social media sites until Oct. 1.
Early in the summer, a representative from Cosmopolitan called Chenevert for a phone interview. “It was about an hour of a girl going through a bunch of very revealing questions, some very personal questions,” he said. “It was the first interview I had ever done.”
Chenevert, who is deeply religious, said he could not honestly answer some of the questions, especially those about his sexual experiences. “I explained to her that I am saving myself for marriage,” he said.
In July, Cosmopolitan flew the state winners to New York for a photo shoot. It was an exciting trip for Chenevert, who had only been to New York once before. “They drove us out to the Hamptons, where a man lent out his phenomenal multimillion dollar house to Cosmo for the photo shoot,” Chenevert said.
The state winners had hair and makeup done and clothes selected for the photos, which are running in the November issue of Cosmopolitan, now on newsstands nationwide.
“It was just like you see in the movies,” Chenevert said. “The photographers set up screens getting the right light and were directing you on what they wanted you to do. I had never modeled. I don’t know how to do any of that stuff.”
On Wednesday , Cosmopolitan is flying all of the finalists back to New York. That afternoon, they will have media training and on Thursday will appear on several media outlets including “Today” and “Entertainment Tonight.”
Since Oct. 1, people have been voting for the state winners. The 10 state winners receiving the highest number of votes will be the finalists. The editors of Cosmopolitan will select the national winner from the finalists.
“You are not guaranteed to be the winner even if you get the most votes on the website,” said Chenevert, who is the only attorney in the competition. “They are trying to get the total package, an all-around good guy who also has votes.”
On Thursday night, the national winner will be announced at a huge bachelor party. Chenevert has his fingers crossed. He would love to win that $10,000.
“I definitely have some student loan debt I would like to pay down,” he said. “I have definitely carved out a sum I would definitely give to a charity.”
One of his recipients will be a new organization, Tigers Against Human Trafficking, started by a group of his friends. “Baton Rouge has the third highest rate of human trafficking in the nation. It’s modern-day slavery. It’s actually a pretty big issue in Baton Rouge,” he said.
Chenevert, who is 25, grew up in Baton Rouge and graduated from Parkview Baptist School. His parents are Darrel and Peggy Chenevert.
As an undergraduate at LSU, he was involved in student government. He was a student senator and president of the E.J. Ourso College of Business. He is active with Grace Life Fellowship and Antioch Community Church, a startup church made up of college students and young professionals.
“Ryan is all about faith, family and friends,” Peggy Chenevert said. “He’s smart, considerate, loving and funny.”
Ryan Chenevert graduated from law school in May and is presently clerking in Gonzales for 23rd Judicial District Judge Ralph Tureau.
He has no intention of turning his newfound fame into a career move. “I have no aspirations to be a model,” he said. “This is something fun and goofy to do. I said this could be a journey, so I will just enjoy the ride. When it’s over, I’ll go back to being my shy, awkward self and having a law career.”
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