How Abbie Chatfield went from “the villain” to a hero

"A year ago I was the Bachelor villain, and now I've won the popular vote."
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Having just been crowned Queen of the Jungle in the latest season of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here Australia!, social media sensation Abbie Chatfield is riding high on all that winning glory. And although some jungle watchers weren’t vying for the 25-year-old to win, the outspoken Queen is the first to brush those nasty comments aside. After all, she has had plenty of practice being pegged as “the villain.” 

WATCH: Abbie Chatfield wins I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! for 2021

We all remember how Abbie got her start on The Bachelor Australia, right?

While the show was airing, the star was at the receiving end of an absolute tidal wave of abuse from viewers.

Yet, the now 25-year-old has managed to claw her way out of that spiral of hate and has come well and truly out the other side as the outspoken activist we all know and love.

But how did she get to where she is? We’ve taken a look back at Abbie’s rise to fame. Starting right from her chaotic start as The Bachelor’s “Gemini girl,” all the way up until her heroic win of I’m A Celeb. 

And, boy, is it a wild ride. 

Abbie Chatfield
She’s the ultimate “villain to hero”. (Credit: Channel Ten)

Abbie first popped onto our screens on the seventh season of The Bachelor as one of the 27 women vying for Dr. Matt Agnew’s heart. And, even before the season had commenced, the then 23-year-old made quite the impression, both on Matt and on Bachie fans.

We all remember that famous Bachelor trailer Channel Ten just looooved to air… and air… and air. In the sneak peak, Abbie approached Matt in a stunning cobalt blue dress on the red carpet for their first meeting.  

After the pair introduced themselves, Abbie posed Matt what seemed like an innocent question. “What do you do?” she asked.

“I’m an astrophysicist,” Matt answered.

“Okay,” Abbie replied. And then… “I’m a Gemini”.

An awkward silence ensued before Matt responded with “I’m a Leo”.

“All the boxes ticked,” Abbie expressed to the camera.

The clip quickly went viral as viewers everywhere laughed at the seemingly ridiculous and off-hand response. And, even though both Abbie and Matt have since explained the star was, in fact, joking, the airy music and edited reactions had already laid the “ditzy blonde” foundations and viewers everywhere took her at face value.

But, as it turns out, “ditzy Abbie” was merely a warm-up act for what soon became an intense “villain Abbie” edit that would go on to tarnish the influencer’s reputation for a substantial amount of time.  

Abbie Chatfield gemini
“I’m a Gemini.” (Credit: Channel Ten)

After “Gemini gate” – which it shall henceforth be called – things went spectacularly downhill for Abbie. The Bachelor star was quickly perceived as a “bully” by her fellow contestants as well as the outside world. 

If we had to pinpoint exactly when the “villain edit” kicked into gear, we would venture a guess it was right around the time Abbie revealed to Matt that some fellow contestants, namely Monique Morley, had referred to the Doctor as a “dog c–t” and a “disrespectful pig”. Ahh, as classy as ever, Australia!

The mansion soon became a flutter with visibly irate women who felt betrayed by Abbie’s loose lips. Even former Bachelor winner Laura Byrne weighed on “Gemini’s” perceived crime on her Instagram stories. And she wasn’t on the snitch’s side.

“Drama drama, this is bad form,” Laura captioned a video on her Instagram stories as Abbie revealed the details to Matt. “It never ends well for the messenger.”

Ooft, now Abbie had Bachelor royalty offside?? Things REALLY weren’t looking great for the then 23-year-old. And things only spiralled further after a certain altercation with recent Bachelorette Elly Miles.  

Matt and Elly
Fellow Bachelor contestant Elly Miles let Matt know she didn’t think Abbie was on the show for the right reasons. (Credit: Channel Ten)

While Abbie was in conflict with fellow contestant Sogand Mohtat for the first part of her Bachelor journey, it was arguably her tiffs with beloved nurse Elly Miles which set Australia firmly against her at the time. 

Elly, who was Australia’s latest Bachelorette and has recently been slammed for her hypocritical actions on Invasion Day, seemed to get a bad vibe from Abbie. And, after keeping her feelings to herself (and Australia) for as long as she could, the influencer eventually felt it was time to tell Matt of her worries.

Sitting him down at one of the infamous Bachie cocktail parties, Elly delivered the sad news that Abbie wasn’t who he thought she was. 

“I don’t like talking ill about people but I just don’t think Abbie is taking this thing very seriously… I don’t know if she has the most pure intentions,” the nurse told the doctor.

“It’s interesting to hear that Elly thinks that Abbie’s got the wrong motivations for being here because Elly’s not the first to suggest that,” Matt pondered to the camera. 

But clearly, not even Elly’s cautions were enough for Matt to send Abbie packing. And it was Elly that didn’t receive a rose long before “Gemini Girl”.

With fan-favourite Elly out of the race and Matt clearly infatuated with Abbie, Australia shook their fists and slammed their fingers to their keyboards as the “hate Abbie” club gained more and more momentum. 

Matt and Abbie
Bachie fans were enraged to see Abbie and Matt’s PDA on the beach. (Credit: Channel Ten)

The next bone the Australian public had to pick with Abbie was her braisen display of sexuality. 

Remember that particularly steamy beach date Abbie and Matt shared that absolutely scandalised Bachie viewers everywhere?

It involved the pair having a particularly raunchy pash on the beach. And, although the entire premise of the show is to… you know… date… this PDA seemed to be far too much for many viewers to handle. And, even though it takes two to tango, the general consensus was that Abbie was 100% at fault for the “beach pash” and poor Matt was merely an innocent bystander. 

“Do we really need to keep seeing Abbie grind on Matt on a beach every 60 seconds though?” queried a Twitter user at the time. 

Well, imagine these enraged viewers’ disappointment when it was Abbie that made it to the final two – along with Chelsie McLeod. Heck, even Matt’s closest pal Kate (who gave Abbie quite the frosty reception during hometown visits) was stunned. 

“I’m surprised you’re still here,” Kate told Abbie directly, “because I think that you and Matt have different values”.

Abbie Chatfield Bachelor
Runner-up Abbie left Matt in the dust with the most iconic Bachie concession speech to date. (Credit: Channel Ten)

Yeah, as it turns out “villain Abbie” wasn’t so bad in Matt’s eyes. And the astrophysicist… sorry… Leo… struggled to make the heart-wrenching decision between chemical engineer Chelsie and “Gemini girl” Abbie. 

Spoiler Alert… he chose Chelsie. And Abbie’s concession speech after placing runner-up remains one of the most iconic rejection reactions in reality TV history. 

As Matt and Abbie stood face-to-face in South Africa and the doctor delivered the heartbreaking news that his heart belonged to someone else, Abbie gave an unorthodox, not to mention incredible, response to the camera in the classic “Bachie car ride of shame”. Except, Abbie had none.

“I feel fine,” she told the producers. “I’m honestly just mad about the flight home now. I couldn’t even cry if I wanted to right now. Maybe I didn’t love him.”

From here, viewers saw another side of Abbie. A young woman who wouldn’t cop any wishy-washy behaviour, none least from a man. And finally, Abbie’s public redemption arc started to kick into gear. 

Abbie Chatfield
Abbie’s liberating Insta dances continue to strike a chord with fans everywhere. (Credit: Instagram)

After the show had ended and fans got to see Abbie’s true colours, in interviews and on social media, it was like the nation did a collective 180 and suddenly “Gemini girl” was a liberated and outspoken feminist and activist that all young girls could look up to.

From here, Abbie continued to grow her personal brand and started an intensely popular conversational-style podcast called It’s A Lot, where the 25-year-old discusses anything from dating dramas to the vivid details of her sex life with nothing but a glass of wine and few pals.

What’s more, her knack for dancing in her underwear on Instagram stories further struck a chord with young women across the country. And, now, the social media influencer is heralded as an unapologetic woman who is owning her sexuality rather than a “ditzy and villainous Gemini” who should be ashamed for “grinding on Matt Agnew” on a beach.

Abbie is also constantly speaking out against sexism, racism, body shamers, and more. Her loud and proud activism and ability to laugh at herself saw her Instagram following grow and grow and, now, the star has almost 250,000 followers to her name.

The 25-year-old’s maintained relevancy no doubt lead to her recent inclusion, and eventual win, of I’m A Celebrity. 

Abbie I'm A Celebrity
The once “villain” was recently crowned “Queen” of the Jungle. (Credit: Channel Ten)

During her time in the jungle, Abbie proved she’s got more guts than people have previously given her credit for. Bravely tackling each tucker trial head on, even when it resulted in a brutal snake attack, Abbie eventually secured her place in the finale. Only this time, she didn’t have to make a concession speech. 

That’s right, this past Sunday night Abbie’s runner-up days were over as the 25-year-old was crowned Queen of the Jungle… and it was all thanks to the power of the people.

Speaking to TV Week about her incredible victory, Abbie admitted that having the public on her side during a reality show was a most welcome turn of events. 

“I really couldn’t believe it. Like a year ago I was the Bachelor villain, and now I’ve won the popular vote,” Abbie said.

And although there is always bound to be a swarm of naysayers within a sea of adoring fans, it’s clear Abbie has enough practice to handle herself against any past, present or future haters. 

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