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The Red & Black staff writer Anna Thomas interviews Tyler Cameron at The National in downtown Athens, Georgia on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019. Cameron spoke with Thomas about life after The Bachelorette, charity in his life, and ABC Food Tours’ partnership with Bumble. (Photo/Taylor Gerlach)

Tyler Cameron of ABC’s “The Bachelorette” teamed up with Bumble for a food tour event similar to the events he puts on with his nonprofit, ABC Food Tours. The organization implements “an experiential learning platform for students in NYC living in underserved communities,” according to ABC Food Tour’s website.

The Bumble and ABC Food Tours event started with a public event at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house on Pulaski Street. Five winners and one guest per winner traveled to The Place and The National for appetizers and drinks.

R&B: In an interview you did with Ryan Seacrest, you mentioned that you want to get back into the construction industry and maybe start your own company. What’s the draw for you to construction and taking on an entrepreneurial role in that?

Tyler Cameron: I’ve always been fascinated by it. My dad was in it. He’s a general contractor, my mom was a real estate agent, so I grew up in it. And what I love about construction is it’s tangible. You can get your hands, you get in the mix. I’m not sitting in an office every day. So yeah, it’s like a world I want to get back into. I just built my first house, finished it in February, sold it in May. So, I’m actually applying for my license right now, and I’m looking to qualify two businesses and get the ball rolling.

R&B: In the same interview you mentioned ABC Food Tours [which] you started with your friend Matt, and you’re also in partner with Bumble for this event. Why did you both start ABC Food Tours? 

TC: The reason why we started ABC Food Tours is because when we were at Wake Forest [University] we had a program called Eat with the Deacs. And kids would come in and eat, you know, have lunch with us, and we just talked about whatever. It was kind of a free platform for them to speak however they wanted so we talked about who’s their favorite rapper, what was going on in basketball, pop culture, what was going on at home sometimes. You know, homework, whatever and it’s a really cool experience. When we graduated, we lost that platform and so we wanted to create something to recreate that platform for kids again. That’s kind of how ABC Food Tours started and it’s been a great experience.

R&B: What’s your favorite part about interacting with the “young explorers” [from ABC Food Tours]?

TC: I mean some of my favorite memories from it. I’ll give you two stories. My first story is, we just got done doing the “Cha-Cha Slide” in Tompkins Square Park and we were eating Village Square Pizza. Me and this kid were watching the skateboarders that do tricks in the park and he looked up at me just organically and said, “This is the best day I’ve ever had.” And like, so sincere. When I heard that from him I was just totally blown away. It’s like we don’t understand the impact we’re truly having on these kids. We don’t know what their backgrounds truly are and it was just a very moving moment for me.

My other one was, we were sitting there one day and this kid was wearing cargo shorts and we noticed his cargo pockets were really like thick and full and we called him over, like ‘What’s in your pockets?’ And he opens his pockets and it was all the food from our tour. He didn’t have one bite and he was saving it for his family. He was like, my mom loves chicken so I wanted to bring her this chicken sandwich and he had dessert for his little sister and all these things. It was just like, how selfless these kids are at this young age, you know, thinking about their family. It just teaches us something. We take so many things for granted and for him he’s just trying to feed his family and he’s a fourth-grader. That was such a moving moment for me. It’s on my schedule on Wednesday; we’re doing another one and it’s my favorite day of the week. I look forward to it when it comes up.

R&B: Why did ABC Food Tours partner with Bumble for this event?

TC: We thought it was a fun, kind of organic, way to get together and it would be a great way to have an activation with the students down here and kind of share and show them what Bumble Bizz is. A lot of these students today were seniors and they’re looking for jobs right now. By going on this, it kind of showed them what Bumble Bizz was on the app and they were able to use it. Then I was able to have a food tour with them and show them what we do with our kids. So, it was a fun way to collaborate together and I think we had a great time today.

R&B: Has charity always played a big role in your life? If so, how and why?

TC: Yeah, I mean my mom and dad from the start. They’re everyone’s mom and dad in Jupiter [Florida], My parents kind of helped raise anybody who needed help. So, I’ve always seen them help all my friends who were in need. And even if they were just kids in the area that needed help my parents were always the first ones to find a way to help them. Whether it was us house them, feed them, take them out for meals, whatever, it was just to make sure they get to where they need to go and then help them succeed. It’s something I’ve always adored and wanted to do. One of my favorite sayings is through love serve one another, and that’s kind of how I try to treat my life and whatnot.

R&B: Sports has also played a pretty big role in your life. You played football at Wake Forest University and in a GQ interview, you mentioned you’re still run and play basketball. What’s your favorite part of being on a team and why do you continue sports as an adult?

TC: What I miss most about football is the camaraderie. I miss the locker room. The games are all great but my biggest memories I have are in the locker room [and] us messing around and the stories and all the stupid stuff we would do and the friendships and bonds you would make. That’s why I still play basketball and do this group that runs and all that stuff because it builds community and it builds camaraderie. I’m on a basketball team right now and I got to meet nine new guys and build relationships with them and they’re now my great friends in the city. Sports bring so many things and so many lessons and it’s something I value and I’ll never stop doing.

R&B: Other than the fame, do you feel like your life has changed dramatically since “The Bachelorette”? Why or why not?

TC: Yeah, it’s definitely changed. I mean I get to do so many things that I’ve never been able to do before. Last week, I had my mom and dad and all their friends up in New York. I was able to take care of them. I was able to take my dad and show him so many things. I got my dad and two of my friends tickets to Madison Square Garden to go watch the big fight that they had last weekend. All these things that seemed so far fetched before that I get to share with them. I just took my little brother to Paris and I’m taking my mom to the People’s Choice Awards this weekend. Just like things that I get to share with them that is so cool. It’s life-changing, you know, and I’m super grateful, super happy. I get to do so many cool things with the people I love. That’s what matters to me.

R&B: Have you been to Athens before?

TC: This is my third time in Athens.

R&B: What’s your favorite thing about Athens?

TC: It’s a great community. The campus is beautiful. There’s so much to do. Going to a game is amazing. In between the hedges is a cool deal, you know? [UGA’s] got it going on. It’s a great city. We’ll see how they do the rest of the year in football. The more they win the more fun this place gets I feel like.

R&B: What dish was your favorite from the food tour?

TC: I tell you what, the brie cheese with honey and pumpkin seeds on it [from The National] was hitting and the fried pickles at [The Place] were very good too. So, those are my top two right now.

R&B: What was your favorite part about hanging out with the winners today?

TC: Just getting to know everybody. I got to talk to some who are freshmen and I was like, ‘Look enjoy this freshman year because freshman year was my favorite year and it happens so quick.’ Then we had some that were seniors that are working on landing jobs and some have their jobs already and some don’t have a job secured. It’s like, enjoy this time because you know this is just like the last time that you have a free will. You can kind of live free and not have too much stress. So it was cool to hear everyone’s story and learn about them and share what I went through. And they had questions so it was fun to go back and forth with everybody.

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