The Bachelor’s Sydney Hightower Went to High School with Hannah Brown
Photos from their high school yearbook resurfaced on social media after Monday's episode of The Bachelor
Following Monday night’s three-hour episode, photos began circulating online that showed that current contestant Sydney Hightower attended the same Alabama high school, at the same time, as Brown.
And during the episode, Hightower, 24, opened up to Weber, 28, on their one-on-one date about her high school experience, claiming that she was severely bullied.
Numerous photos of Brown and the retail marketing manager from their high school yearbook were shared on Reddit, Twitter, and Imagr.com. One shot depicted both girls standing right beside each other while posing for a group picture, while a video on Twitter showed their senior year photos just a few pages apart.
The photos also showed that, like Brown, Hightower competed in pageants as a teen, which led some fans to question the authenticity of her story about being bullied in high school.
“Ate lunch in the bathroom everyday of highschool” #bachelornation I’m selling my yearbooks for $200 a pop, who wants the tea,” one Twitter user wrote, with four photos of Hightower from her pageant competitions.
When addressing the resurfaced photos on Twitter, Hightower said that while she did indeed participate in pageants, she was still a victim of “racial bullying.”
“Feels ridiculous I even have to address this,” she said. “But correct I did win a beauty pageant my senior year of high school. That was voted for by 5 judges. Not by my peers. Winning a pageant based off of outer beauty does not take away the racial bullying, and isolation I’ve been through.”
“I was also on the cheer team in middle school and in many clubs in highschool,” she continued. “You’ll do anything you can to fit in, and I tried. I won pageants because of my ‘looks’ and I was in clubs because I wanted a scholarship to get into college. Not because I was accepted by my peers.”
In her next tweet, Hightower elaborated on the bullying she faced as a teenager.
“Anyone from my highschool want to pull out the videos of girls stuffing my locker with Oreo cookies, vandalizing my home, shoving me in the hallways?” she wrote. “Teachers literally referring to me as a halfbreed? Calling my mother the worst names I’ve ever heard in my life? I doubt that.”
PEOPLE is out to ABC for comment.
Following the Jan. 20 episode, Brown revealed on an Instagram live that she was familiar with several of Weber’s women this season.
“I actually know a bunch of people on this season, which is kind of weird, in some form or fashion,” she said after Weber sent home Alayah Benavidez. “And I think maybe it’s just her personality, and sometimes personalities rub people the wrong way. But I can’t tell just yet.”
However, neither Brown nor Hightower mentioned knowing each other when Brown briefly appeared during the season premiere to potentially rekindle things with her ex.
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The Bachelor continues with a new two-hour episode on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.