News & Politics

Here’s What to Know About the Rockville Golden Bachelor Contestant

Joan Vassos is one of two local contestants competing in the spin-off.

Golden Bachelorette Joan Vassos is from Rockville. Photograph courtesy of Ricky Middlesworth/ABC.
Photograph courtesy of Ricky Middlesworth/ABC.

Truly, the DC area is experiencing an embarrassment of riches: There is another local contestant on the Golden Bachelor. Yes, we have Nancy Hulkower, the 60-year-old Alexandria interior designer, but we also have Joan Vassos, a 60-year-old private school administrator who appears to live in Rockville. (Vassos’s ABC bio credits her as living in Rockland, Maryland, which is just a smidge outside of Washingtonian’s usual range of coverage. However, according to the chyron in the first episode, she actually lives in Rockville.)

The Golden Bachelor, which premiered last week, is a spin-off of the Bachelor franchise where all the contestants are older adults. The women are competing for the affections of the perfectly seasoned, 71-year-old Gerry Turner, a retired restaurateur who likes to play pickleball and go four-wheeling. And, yes, that also includes Maryland’s own Vassos. 

Photograph courtesy of Craig Sjodin/ABC.

Here’s what we know about the local contestant:

She has a big family

The Rockvillian has four children, all of whom appear to have attended Montgomery County schools, according to a 2011 MoCo360 article about Vassos designing her daughter’s bedroom. Vassos’s husband, John, died from pancreatic cancer two years ago, according to his obituary. Additionally, Vassos has two grandchildren. 

She works at Landon and has a lot of Maryland history

Vassos works in alumni relations at Bethesda’s Landon School, according to her LinkedIn. (She is also an interior designer, as is Hulkower, our other local Bachelor contestant. Design face-off, anyone??) It also appears Vassos has some strong local roots—she attended the University of Maryland, and it seems she and her husband had an Ocean City vacation home together, according to a 2013 Washington Post article.

She seems fun to hang with

The Joanster has posted some fun, meme-y content over on her Instagram, which leads us to believe she and Turner would 100 percent be the kind of couple who makes TikToks together. Plus, according to her Golden Bachelor bio, she loves burgers, listening to Elton John, and dancing after a few glasses of wine. Same, Joan, same. 

Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.