Yesterday I pretty well summed up my final thoughts on The Bachelor’s resident “villain” of the season, Michelle Money. After her elimination Monday night, my feelings for her, before she so deftly defended herself in this conference call with the media this morning, settled into this order:

Cosmic indifference; followed by grateful amusement her explosions of crazy; followed by a disturbing sense of camaraderie that she, too, seems to “get it” that this show isn’t real so you might as well have wicked fun with it; followed far, far behind by a watered-down form of dislike–the sort you might muster up for a fictional cartoon character, not a real-life person with any bearing on your own life.

With that in mind, I think Michelle handled this conference call about as well as a person in her position could. She’s not filled with vitriol for her negative portrayal on The Bachelor, and she’s impossibly complimentary of her former competition–including the girl she once hoped (jokingly, she would quickly assure you) would die in a freak jungle monkey attack. Listening to her approach each potentially damning question with sweetness and humor, it wasn’t hard to see why Brad fell for her act, if it was an “act.” She’s impossible to pin down, and charming despite everything we saw. I’m not sure if that makes her less or more of a “villain” in the context of the show, but it certainly makes her a more interesting one than we’ve seen before.

If The Bachelor is all just a big game–and it certainly is a game, with elimination ceremonies and all–I can’t escape the twisted conclusion that, even while the audience ended up despising her and she didn’t get the guy, Michelle “won” The Bachelor. Because once Brad finally picks a future wife, Michelle is the one we’ll all remember. And–if, as some suspect, this was her goal all along–I have no doubt the acting opportunities are about to come rolling in.

But enough from me. Check out Michelle in her own words, on everything from her mysterious black eye, to her negative portrayal on the show, to who she thinks Brad will choose, to whether she’d ever come back for Bachelor Pad:

You have been labeled by many as a villain this season. Is that something you expected going into the show?
I never in a million years meant to be the villain. I’m actually really surprised, and was really shocked and upset by it in the beginning. It’s been hard to see just one very small side of me being the only side being portrayed.

What did your friends and family think of your portrayal on the show?
Well, I didn’t watch the show. Once I found out that I was being portrayed as the villain, I was very upset. I didn’t watch the show. All I had to go off of was the reaction of my friends and family. Everyone who knows me was very upset. I would get phone calls every day about different promos being shown and commercials about me. It was very upsetting to everyone who knows me.

Was it planned for you to not show any emotion [after being eliminated]? Were you shocked?
I actually did have emotion shown, and I did have a lot to say, and I wish that had been shown, but it wasn’t. I was bummed out. I really did want that rose. I feel like when I left I was surprised at how kind of relieved I was, but I also would have been really happy to have the rose and have the chance for him to come to my hometown and meet my family and my daughter.

Did you speak in the limo ride?
Yes I did. I talked a lot about my family and my daughter. They asked me what I had to say to the world and how I wanted to be remembered. I said I want to be remembered as a girl who’s loving and forgiving and kind, and a good mother. … Me laying down [in the limo] was actually a result of me being car sick from being on a bumpy road and the lights in my face.

Can you tell us about the conversation you had with Brad [after being eliminated]?
The conversation I had with Brad was very personal and it gave me the closure I needed. It was positive. It was a great conversation and I’m glad I had it.

Where do you think things started to go wrong?
I had a feeling that something was off. Brad and I, even though you didn’t really see it, in Costa Rica, we had a really great conversation. I wish that you guys had gotten to see it. I felt really good going into Anguilla but once we got there, after the photo shoot, I could tell that it was different. In my opinion, I think that’s when he started falling in love with Emily. That’s my guess.

Why do you think only one part of your personality was shown?
Because it’s a TV show. And the viewers want to see some drama. You go into it knowing that’s what people want to see. We all got along so well [in the house] and we were like, “I don’t know what kind of drama they’re going to pull from this.” I kind of think of The Bachelor is like football for women. Women just like to have their favorite girls and their thoughts and feelings on them.

Why do you feel like people misunderstood you?
 I feel like I have a very sarcastic, dry sense of humor. If you don’t get the full spectrum of who I am and that’s not revealed to you, I see how that can come off as very intense. For me, I feel like when you get a small, chopped up version of me being sarcastic, it comes across the wrong way. I do feel like it’s a combination of not having all of my personality being shown along with the fact that I have a sarcastic sense of humor.

Is there one specific thing that didn’t make it to air that you wish people would have seen?
Oh, hundreds and hundreds of things. I wish more than anything people could have seen the kind things I had to say, and the nice things I said about the other girls and about Brad. I wish people could have heard me talk about my love for my daughter and for my family, and that my intentions of going on the show were very true. I felt like I talked about my daughter so much. I spoke about my daughter in every conversation I had with him. There’s a lot that I wish would have been shown, but that’s what you get for signing on to a reality TV show.

Do you wish that you had not been so outspoken to Brad about the other women?
No. A lot of our conversation wasn’t just about the other women. There was a lot of great conversation between him and I. I feel good about that.

A lot of the other girls said you were in it to win it. Were you looking to win the competition?
I was definitely there for the right reasons. I went on the show to find love. I made it very clear that if there wasn’t a connection with Brad, I needed to go home. I was in it to win it based on the feelings I was feeling, and based on the way the way he was feeling about me. I think if you don’t, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.

You were adamant that none of the other girls were right for him, but is there someone you do think could be right for him?
I think of all the girls that are left, the best choice for Brad would be Emily. Because I feel like Brad needs someone who is a little bit more soft spoken and feminine. She’s just that Southern belle, and very ladylike, and sweet and soft. I think that’s the kind of girl that would be best for Brad.

You clashed with Chantal O. on the show. What do you think of her now?
I don’t have anything against Chantal. I think Chantal is a great woman. I think she’s beautiful and smart, and I wish nothing but wonderful things for Chantal. I think it’s unfortunate everyone only got to see the catty side between us. I think a lot of the issue was, for me personally, I think Chantal was very hard to get to know. I feel like I had a connection with every girl at the house except for Chantal. Chantal is kind of like a guy’s girl, you know, she keeps her distance from women, and I think that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. I left the show feeling like if I ever saw Chantal again, I would give her the biggest hug and be so happy to see her. But I still don’t think she’s right for Brad.

What happened with the black eye?
I wish that I had some better story to give you. Truly, I woke up with a black eye. The night before, I wasn’t drunk. It was just a normal night. I washed my face, put my eye cream on, and everything was normal. I woke up and my eye was really sore. I looked in the mirror, and I was like, “You gotta be kidding me!” I sat down with everyone to talk about it. I was so beside myself. I think it was stress related. I have no idea. My answer sounds really stupid.


Do you have any regrets being on The Bachelor?
I have no regrets. When I left the show, I felt very confident that I was true to who I was. At the end of the day, one very small side of me was shown, and that’s unfortunate. I know what really happened and I know the amazing friendships I made, and the amazing opportunity I had to get to know Brad, who’s a great guy. So I’m very glad I did it.

Would you consider going on something like Bachelor Pad or is that too much time away from your daughter?
I don’t think I could leave my daughter like that again. That was really hard for me. At this time, I would say no. I wouldn’t be able to do something like that.

Are you ready to start dating again, and are you worried about how the show will affect your dating life?
I’m not worried about dating at all. I think more than anything, I have a hard time finding people to date in Utah. Being a single mom, it’s hard to get out and travel and meet men outside of where I’m from. I’m hopeful that I’ll meet somebody. I want to get married, I want to have more kids. I want to be in a committed, healthy relationship with somebody.

There are four ladies left. What are their chances?
My personal belief is that Emily is the last girl standing. I hope so. Emily was my best friend in the house so I know Emily probably better than anyone on the show. And I really hope that it’s Emily. I think this Monday, Shawntel N. is going to go home. Next is Ashley H. Emily will end up with him, if she decides that’s what she wants.

What if Brad chooses nobody?
I don’t think he will. If he doesn’t feel there is anyone right for him, good for him. Be true to yourself, be honest.

You got your start on a Backstreet Boys video, in which one of them gave you a rose.
The irony of that is really funny. Yeah, it’s funny to look back at that and to be where I am at now.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.