Judging from the strict secrecy surrounding details about the outcome of next Monday’s Bachelorette episode, host Chris Harrison might actually be telling the truth when he called it “the most dramatic finale EVER.”
But in a media conference call this morning, that didn’t stop reporters from asking Jillian Harris to spill about her probable engagement and final three choices: Ed Swiderski, Kiptyn Locke, and Reid Rosenthal. The Bachelorette obliged… as much as she could, anyway.
Despite the intense drama of this season, and lots of negativity from fans and the media, Harris was chipper and optimistic as ever. One thing she COULD tell us? “I’m on top of the world right now!” But Harris also made sure to stand her ground in two controversial arenas: Wes doesn’t deserve the negative media firestorm he’s now in, and David “Man Code” Good needs a “reality check” when relating to women.
After the jump: the transcript of Jillian’s talk with the media, including more about her overall experience as The Bachelorette and what the future holds.
ON NEXT WEEK’S FINALE:
What is the best quality of all three of the top guys?
I would definitely have to say, Reid, it’s his sense of humor and his quirkiness. Kiptyn: he’s just so genuine and he’s got such a huge heart. And with Ed, it’s his balance between personal and business and family, and he’s just a very well-rounded individual.
What are the specific qualities you’re looking for, now that you’re down to the final two?
Overall, in general, I’ve said I’m looking for somebody who has a good sense of humor, who’s open, who’s honest, who is compassionate, who loves the outdoors, who’s close to their family. When it gets down to the two guys, what am I really looking for at that point? Commitment is important, and that doesn’t mean an engagement, and I’m not even sure that means “the L word,” saying “I love you,” but it means saying, “I don’t want to lose you, and this is important to me. Let’s figure this out together.” What I’m looking for in my life is a partner, a team mate. I need someone to work with me. I don’t want it to feel like I’m always pulling teeth from somebody. That sense of ease and that willingness to say, “Okay, this is bananas, and this is crazy, but let’s figure out how we’re going to make it work.”
Going into the finale, how difficult is it to say goodbye to some people?
In real life, have you ever heard the expression, “He’s Mr. Right, but not Mr. Right Now?” It’s like, the thing is… during this process, well not so much Wes, maybe, but some of the guys like Michael Stagliano and Reid, it’s hard to let them go, even though you know they’re not the ones for you or think they’re not the ones for you. It’s hard to let them go because you’re just not ready. That time’s not done yet. It’s very difficult. It’s very heartbreaking either way.
Thinking back to when you were shooting the finale, do you think you were ready to get engaged? What was going through your head?
I spoke to my parents after the guys met them, and I said to my dad, “I really like both of these guys. I’m crazy about them. I’m falling in love with them. And in a real-life scenario, I wouldn’t be ready for a proposal with either of them. What should I do?” And my dad, it was funny, because he’s very protective of me, he said, “Babe, you signed up for this. Getting a proposal doesn’t mean you’re walking down the aisle right then. Getting a proposal in this scenario signifies (for me) I’m ready, I like you, I love you, I’m happy that we went from 0 to 60, let’s have a proposal, let’s get engaged and let’s start a life together.And a year from now, see where things are at and then get married.” And my dad was right. Was I ready to get engaged after that amount of time? Maybe not, but who really is? But I was not going to accept a proposal from someone I was not madly in love with.
Next week we see your family meeting Ed and Kiptyn. How did your parents feel about this whole thing from the outset, and what can we expect to see from your family in these meetings?
My family is a very liberal family, and that’s probably why I’m so liberal about a lot of things. They’re very, very supportive about a lot of decisions I’ve made. Whatever it’s been, they’ve been supportive. They were very worried about my career, because I’ve always been serious about my career. But my parents want grandkids like you couldn’t believe, so I think they were like, “You know what? Get out there, find a guy, bring him home and have babies!” [Laughs]
Jillian later elaborated on what she meant when she called her family “liberal”: To me, the definition of liberal is just not taking life too seriously, and trying to be a good person. Trying to have a good time, and filling your life full of laughter and being able to forgive. And not over-analyzing things.
How do you sort out the logic between the emotional and the analytical when you’re down to this depth?
Unfortunately, I don’t think I was thinking that smart at the time. When I was down to the final two guys, most of the time I was just emotion. Most of the time I was like, “How do I feel about these guys? How do they make me feel?” and that’s what got me down to the final six guys, even four guys. But then, that’s when I started to get analytical, being like, “Okay, I love this person, or I feel like I’m falling in love with them. But how is this going to work? And how do they treat me in this situation?” Wes is the easiest picture to paint. I like the guy, I’m attracted to him, but am I attracted to him because our friendship or relationship is a trainwreck? How would this work in real life? So when it came down to the final four, I started to over-analyze everything. You know, where would we live? Would I love Chicago, or San Diego, or… all of those things. There’s a lot going through your mind. You don’t think about anything else when you’re doing this. You just lie in bed, thinking about everything that could possibly go wrong or right in a relationship after it’s over.
We saw that Reid is coming back in the promo. What can you tell us about his return?
I can’t tell you anything, actually! I’ll tell you that when I watched the tease for the finale, even though I was there and I experienced everything, they did a very… it is a great, it is an exciting episode, and it was a crazy day. But I can’t tell you really who comes back, and… it’s all very dramatic, unfortunately. [Laughs]
How did it make you feel when you were watching the episode and you saw Reid say that he wished he had told you that he loved you?
I had felt that from him on the bench, so it wasn’t really a surprise to me. It’s always hard to hear somebody regretful for the things they did or didn’t say. The show, as we were taping, was very emotional for me, and very hard on me. Now that the taping of the show is over, and I’ve made my decisions and I’m happy with them, watching it play back to me is just television. There are times I get emotional. But I have no regrets from this season. Part of me wishes I maybe had let Wes go sooner, part of me wishes I had been a bit harder on Dave for being so crass and so rude, but those aren’t really regrets. I don’t regret anything. Put it this way: if I regretted anything, I would… there’s no regret you can’t change. So if I regretted something, I would go back and see if I could make it work a second time.
Meghan, BuddyTV: What did you think of Ed’s short-shorts in Hawaii?
I loved them! I’m a total fashion girl, and I’m aware of all the different trends and styles, and short shorts are huge in Europe right now. It will probably be another 6 months to a year before they’re popular here. To me, I thought they were really cool and fashionable, so I was a huge supporter of those shorts.
What can you tell us about that mysterious night with Ed, that seemed edited in certain ways to suggest certain things?
A bottom line is: whatever is shown on TV is what you get to see. You can assume, and anything can be insinuated from that. Because a lot of assumptions from that episode were very specific, I will just paint the picture of what that day was like: we were both stressed out. I think Ed was almost on the verge of a nervous breakdown just from all the stress of what he was going through. His parents were there, we both got sunburns with blisters the next day. That day I was nauseous, and there was no A/C in the room, because the A/C in the room makes noise so they have to shut it off. It was probably in the 90s or the 80s in that room. It was sweltering hot. And I was talking to him about ex-girlfriends, and this really uncomfortable conversation. And I think he was ready to throw up. And when I was rubbing oil on him, they made it look really sexy, but at the time, I’m telling you, there was nothing sexy about it. It was aloe vera, and we were both so awkward. And by the time the cameras left, we just both passed out. In the morning, I think we were both just very nervous, or not nervous, but stressed out that we hadn’t used our time to see if we had a physical connection. I think people will always assume what they want to assume, and that’s just the nature of the beast.
ON HER EXPERIENCE AS THE BACHELORETTE:
When you were on The Bachelor, you only had one person to focus on and have feelings for. Being the Bachelorette, were you surprised by how many guys you ended up caring about?
I’m not sure if I was surprised, because I’ve always been a very loving person, and I’ve always been very affectionate. I’ve never fallen in love with more than one person. So when I started to have romantic connections with the final six guys, it was very confusing for me. I wasn’t surprised, because I knew it could happen. I’ve just never been that lucky to have that caliber of guys in my life before. It was overwhelming.
Now that you’ve been through this experience, what kind of whirlwind is it to date so many guys at once? Was it hard to keep them straight?
It’s not so hard to keep them straight. At this point, there’s two guys, so obviously their unique personalities are completely defined, and they’re obviously separate individuals. At the beginning, it was very hard to separate them. But even when you’re down to 13 or 15 guys, all their unique personalities come through. It’s really easy to identify with them and separate them. What’s overwhelming is, don’t try to date 30 guys at once, especially if you’re doing it within two months, because there’s no days off. It’s constant. If you’re not going on a date with a guy, then you’re staying up until 6 AM giving interviews talking about them. And so that gets a little bit draining, believe it or not.
More towards the beginning, did you have any goofs with their names or information you thought you knew about one person, but it was really about another?
Yeah, I called Jesse “Josh” twice, actually, so that was a little embarassing. And I noticed around Spain I was asking questions, and the guys would say, “We’ve already talking about this.” And I’d say, “Oh, you’re right.” I knew we’d talked about it, but I just couldn’t remember who it was with. I felt a little bit guilty about that, but I’m sure it’s normal. I remember Jason, I talked to him about surfing about three times, and on the fourth time he’s like, “Oh, you surf?” And I was like, “What? We talked about this already!” There’s just so much going on, there are certain things you forget.
What was the most surprising thing about the show?
I’m not going to complain, because I’m so happy I did it, but the most surprising thing was how draining it was. I think because I was so serious about it, but I did have fun and I stayed awake late. But I also was very emotional, and there are so many highs and so many lows. I expected… in normal life, I feel like I deal with emotion really well. But on the show, I was just so exhausted that the simplest conversation would sometimes get me teary-eyed. So the stress of it surprised me the most, and how I dealt with it. Other than that, it was every girl’s dream!
Many people would have cracked under the same amount of pressure.
I do believe that I sort of cracked under the pressure. But it’s funny, I feel like when I talk about that, it’s like a movie star or a model complaining about their long hours, and it’s like, “Well whatever! You get riches, or you get to travel!” So I’m not complaining about it, but that was the one thing… I always thought that being The Bachelorette, I would wake up at 10 AM with a bluebird on my shoulder and somebody serving me bacon and eggs. But it didn’t really go down like that.
You mentioned you never had a day off. Do you have some great tips for how to deal with hangovers every day?
Yes! Coconut water! I only drank really hard three of the nights: the first Rose Ceremony, the second Rose Ceremony, and the skadooing date… or the snowmobiling date. The other days, the times that I looked really tired, I wasn’t drinking coconut water. It’s like drinking ten Gatorades but with no sugar. I’m a huge fan now. I’m hooked.
Is there anything, looking back, that you wish hadn’t made it to TV?
Well, I cringed when they showed that aloe vera scene with Ed. The scene where I was rubbing aloe vera all over Ed. That was… interesting. I’m a pretty liberal girl, and I signed up knowing that my love life would be on display, and that there would be assumptions associated with that, so you know what? No, I don’t really have any other things I wish had been concealed.
When you see Jason and Molly so happy, such a solid couple moving towards marriage, what do you think?
I think good for them! 80 or 90 percent of the people who watch my show love me and support me, and are behind me all the way. But even that 10 percent who are critical, it just tears me up. It is so hard for me to deal with that. I want to reach out to every one of them and tell them, “I’m a nice person, please be nice to me!” How Jason and Molly dealt with that, and they’re still together is beyond me. If you can get through something like that and still be a team, I think that’s a good indication of strong characters.
Wes has recently come out and said he had a bad edit, and that he didn’t say he had a girlfriend. Does any of that change your opinion of him?
My opinion doesn’t change of him. I’m a super stubborn girl. The opinion that I had of him when I was on the show is the same that I have of him now. You know, girlfriend or no girlfriend, career/no career. I didn’t let him go because of my suspicions about why he was there. I let him go because we weren’t a good match. And because there was always too much conflict and too much drama, and I don’t want that in my life. I am so disappointed by the amount of negative stuff out there on the Internet and in the media about Wes, and even me. There’s lots of great stuff, too. It is so stressful seeing negative things about yourself on the Internet. No matter what Wes did or why he was there, nothing can prepare you for the feeling of people talking about you that way. He deserves to be happy, I hope he finds himself, I hope he never signs up for a reality show ever again, and I hope he learns now that words are very powerful. Whether you mean them or you don’t, you have to be very careful about what comes out of your mouth. And all I want for everybody, including the people who say negative things on the Internet, I just want them to be happy. And with Wes, that includes Wes. I think he’s got a big heart, he just needs to put that forward and put the rest behind him.
Are you going to buy Wes’s first single?
I’ve already downloaded it. His whole CD. Honestly, I’m not gonna lie, I love country music and I think the guy’s a great singer.
ON THE NEXT BACHELOR:
Besides Ed, Kiptyn, or Reid, of the other guys, who do you think would make the best Bachelor?
I think Michael Stagliano and his brother would make great Bachelors! They have such great energy and they’re ready to be married. They’re ready to have kids. And they’re not big drinkers. I just feel like America and Canada is really looking for some wholesome TV. I think the Staglianos would make excellent Bachelors and would bring back a different level to the show.
ON THE DAVID, WES, AND “THE MAN CODE”:
Meghan, BuddyTV: Can you tell us more about your reaction to the “Men Tell All” and how those guys were really going after each other?
I was actually super disappointed. I was waiting in the trailer, and I was supposed to be in the trailer for an hour. Four and a half hours went by, and I was losing my mind, like, “When am I going to get out there?” That’s when I was told that they had been bickering this whole time. I was like, “Ah, c’mon you guys, this is your one chance to redeem yourselves, and to show that we’re adults.” I was very shocked by how hard they were on Jake. I was very, very shocked on David and his attitude. I didn’t get to see them. I got to see the show live like you guys did, but I didn’t get to see the guys interact before I went on stage. Knowing that, I would have been a lot harder on Dave. That is the one person I believe says and has some views on life that I think are completely inappropriate. I just… I do not like how he treats individuals, and I think he needs a reality check.
Before you met Dave and were on the show, had you ever heard of a Man Code before?
Sort of. I’m sort of a tomboy and I hang out with guys a lot, so I’ve heard of this “Man Code” before, but I’ve always bashed it.
Is there a Girl Code, and if so, what are some of the rules?
I think with girls, girls stand by each other. I think they’re very protective of each other, and if they see a guy cheating or flirting or doing something inappropriate, nine times out of ten, the girl will find a way to let her girlfriend know. Don’t hit on your friend’s boyfriend, that’s for sure. I think it’s just to be honest and to be a good person.
Going back to the Man Code, and the idea that the other Bachelors were bound by the code from telling you about Wes. What did you think about that? Did the producers have an obligation to tell you, or kick him off once it became apparent that he lied to get on the show?
I still don’t think that he lied to get on the show. He came on the show to promote his record, and he thought, you never know, he could fall in love. I personally think that the sort of people I fall for are people who are creative, and are driven, and try to promote themselves in a unique way. To me that wasn’t an issue. As far as the producers, I think that if it got down to the final two, I’m sure they would have told me more about Wes. But Jesse said it best at the “Men Tell All,” I am a smart girl. People keep on saying that I have a bad judge of character because I kept Wes so long. I kept Wes out of principle, I kept Wes because I was defensive of him, because I wanted the world to see the Wes that I saw. Maybe Wes signed up for the wrong reasons. Maybe I kept him for the wrong reasons. We’re not perfect. As far as this “Man Code” thing, I think it’s a funny thing, providing that it’s not disrespecting any individual. I think David has a skewed vision of what Man Code is, and sometimes it’s disrespectful towards women. If someone is cheating or is disingenuous, or whatever, and somebody like Jake wants to come and tell, then he should be allowed to do that. That being said, I’m kind of contradicting myself, going back to what Jesse said at the “Men Tell All,” I had already figured it out at that point. So Jake coming back to tell me just made me more frustrated. Part of me was like, “I know this already,” and I was trying to let him go my own way. But I know that Jake had a big heart in doing that.
ON THE FUTURE:
You seem really comfortable on TV. Have you ever thought about dovetailing TV with your design work?
It’s not my biggest priority right now. I know my friends and family are itching for me to get back on TV to do something with fashion or design. The decision I made at the end of the show is really my biggest priority right now. After that, I will see if there’s an opportunity. I’m an opportunist. If something comes my way, and I know that the other important things in my life aren’t going to suffer from doing that, I would definitely take it on. But for now I’m going to pursue my own company.
Growing up, did you have a dream wedding? Is it still the same picture?
Totally the same picture! I have this dream wedding of being somewhere in the Canadian Rockies or the Okanagan, in a field, and there’s mountains all around us. And there are gingham tablecloths, maybe white and red gingham tablecloths. There’s a live band, hopefully the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. And tons of people, but nothing really fancy. I’m talking cabbage rolls and ham that my Auntie Becky would probably make, and lots of kids running around. Down to earth and nothing really over the top.
Are you going to keep in touch with any of the eliminated Bachelors?
I would love to. I didn’t really get a chance to talk with them as much as I would have liked at the “Men Tell All,” but there’s a lot of them that I believe would either make great friends or are just unique characters. Michael Stagliano is definitely one of them, Tanner P. I would love to check in with Wes to see how he’s doing with all this chaos, because he’s somebody that I do respect as an individual, whether or not people think he deserves that, I do.
Are you engaged?
Oh my gosh! I can’t answer that. You can send a check for $5 million, make it out to “Jillian Harris,” and then I’ll tell you who it is.
But you are happy?
That is one thing I can definitely say. I am on top of the world right now. I am very happy, and I can’t wait for next Monday so everybody can see why.
-Meghan Carlson, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Images courtesy of ABC