Just when you thought The Bachelor was done with beauty queen contestantsMariela “Mari” Pepin walked in and took Matt Jamesbreath away. See her hometown, job and more below!

Where Is Mari From?

The 24-year-old’s hometown is listed as Odenton, Maryland, but she was born in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. Her dad’s career in the United States Army brought her family to Germany and Hawaii before they settled in Maryland when she was a teenager. It’s clear she has a lot of state pride and even attended Towson University. 

Mari’s Beauty Queen Days

In 2014, the brunette beauty won the title of Miss Maryland Teen but did not go on to win Miss Teen USA that year. Her pageant career hit an all-time high in 2019 when she was crowned Miss Maryland and placed in the top 10 during Miss USA. Mari is one of only six women who was crowned both Miss Teen Maryland and Miss Maryland. 

Who Is Mari Pepin on 'The Bachelor'? Former Miss Maryland Matt James Contestant
ABC/Craig Sjodin

“There are a few people I would like to thank for helping me along the way, believing in me and making this possible! The first, of course, goes to my family and friends. I love you all, and I’m so grateful to have such a strong foundation,” Mari wrote on Instagram at the time. “And to Maryland, my Maryland, I’m ready! I’m so excited to continue serving my state with this title and putting it to work. I’m determined to immerse myself in the community and do as much as I can this year!”

What is Mari’s Job Now?

Mari thinks of herself as a “career-focused woman on the go,” according to her ABC bio. She has been the marketing director for Maryland Plastic Surgery & PURE MedSpa since 2018 and is a program coordinator for Make a Veteran Smile.

Who Is Mari Pepin on 'The Bachelor'? Former Miss Maryland
ABC/Craig Sjodin

“Mari loves her job and says it’s very important that she have her own thing going for her,” her bio explains. “She also loves that she can work completely remote because she can’t wait to have kids and wants to be a working mom that shows young women they truly can have it all!”

Her achievements don’t stop there. She is a native Spanish speaker, studied French for seven years and knows American Sign Language.

What Kind of Guy Is Mari Looking for?

“She says that as a partner, she is very nurturing and thoughtful and hopes to find a man who values her and gives her the same,” Mari’s bio reads. “She describes herself as a romantic, thoughtful, ‘all-in’ partner and loves to make her significant other happy by cooking for them, planning small surprises and giving massages.”

Mari Has Some Off-Camera Drama 

After Mari was announced as a contestant, some gossip outlets claimed to receive reports about the former beauty queen competing strictly for clout. There were some claims she was dating a guy in the military before she left for the show. The contestant has not responded to any of the negativity and gushed on Instagram that there were “many magical moments” with Matt. 

Good luck, Mari! If you want more, click here to see season 25 spoilers