“When you talk about love 24/7, it’s not really normal. It kind of makes you a little bit nervous. I started thinking of this as one big therapy session, and I kind of broke down. That’s how I look at it. I got a lot out.”
So said New York-based blogger, 27, and self-described “Over-Analyst” Jenna Burke in her conference call with the media this morning, effectively explaining why she became so overemotional during almost every moment we saw her on The Bachelor these past two weeks. Jenna’s time spent locked in the bathroom and curled up in the fetal position (not to mention her traumatic exit) ought to prove it: The Bachelor is not therapy for its contestants. For the strong ones, The Bachelor is the ultimate test of their stability and stamina. And for the weak, with all its competition and confrontation, The Bachelor is more therapy-inducing than anything else.
Now, months after the experience, watching herself sob and shudder on television is an admittedly uncomfortable experience for Burke, but “I look back at those moments and laugh,” she says. And she understands now that, “This is a very intense show, and you need to be at a strong point in your life.”
Why wasn’t Jenna at a strong point in her life? Why did she break down not once, but twice, at both the Bachelor cocktail parties she attended? Does she still have beef with Monica? And what does she think of all the internet mockery that’s come her way since The Bachelor began?
Read on for highlights from Jenna’s surprisingly candid and self-effacing interview. The Over-Analyst may have lived up to her name and completely botched the main performance, but at least she stuck the landing.
On why she got so overemotional:
When you’re fighting for one person’s attention, you wanna say so much. When I tried to say something, it all came out like, “Blah.” I look back at those moments and laugh. You don’t realize how you’re going to react until you experience it. You can’t help your emotions.
On getting intimidated by not just the cameras, but the other girls:
As you watch everyone, that’s sort of where you start to lose your confidence. You see the more aggressive ones, and it seems like Ben likes that kind of person. That’s how you really get the time, and I’m just not like that. It caught me off guard, Monica’s comment about how she didn’t like Ben because she didn’t know him. We all knew who The Bachelor was. Me and Monica made up, she’s a great girl. It was just a rocky start.
A lot of people react differently. I think we all have our own insecurities. I apparently cry, and other girls come across as more aggressive. They know what they want and they won’t stop until they get it. That’s how they play the game. Everyone talks about strategy, and I had no strategy. I was like, “Am I supposed to have one?” I thought this was about finding a connection. The timing was off for me.
On why she fought with Monica the first night:
I didn’t understand her personality, and I thought I would have great friendships formed from this experience. Even in real life, not everyone is going to love you, and that was a life lesson I learned right there. Something rubbed me the wrong way that night. I overheard her saying things and I wanted to confront her and it was a very awkward, awkward moment. The next day, I didn’t want to feel any more uncomfortable than I already did, so I approached her and she was like a totally different person. It was like the real Jenna got to know the real Monica. We ended up being in the same group for the play we put on, and we had a blast that day. She’s a great girl. It was just bad first impressions.
On what the audience wasn’t shown that might explain her behavior:
I don’t think anyone can anticipate what kind of experience this is going to be until you get there. I’ve never been through anything like this in my life.
People sign up because they’re ready to find love. Unfortunately, there was a lot going on in my life at the time. I was changing my career, I was getting over a breakup and wanted to move forward, all of my things were in storage — I was ready for a life change. As I got there, it was more intense than I ever anticipated, and I really went there with the mentality that, “If Ben dumps me, at least I’ll make great friends.” I’ve watched every season, I’m a big fan of The Bachelor, and I’ve seen great friendships come from this. I think to succeed on this show, you have to fight for Ben’s attention. I’m fine approaching men, but in this kind of circumstance, it was very difficult for me. When you take all your distractions away and are kind of alone, you start to feel in a very odd situation. I wasn’t really at a strong point.
On whether, if she were cast on a later season, if she might have been in a better place emotionally:
Absolutely! Everything had to do with … it was a pretty bad breakup on my part, and it was hard. I just think you need to be at the right spot. This is a very intense show, and you need to be at a strong point in your life. That’s the only way to succeed. If you have any feeling of being scared, you don’t have that confidence. I usually have confidence.
On how she feels about Ben sending her home:
I would’ve sent myself home, to be honest. I have to admit, going on the group date, you kinda wonder, “Are these the women he puts together that he’s unsure about?” That’s kind of how I felt. Only two girls got the one-on-one dates. It doesn’t really make you feel that good, and you don’t really get a lot of time to talk to him. I knew my last conversation with him was the make or break. I’m not the kind of girl to say, “Excuse me, can I snatch Ben away from you?” If he wants to talk to me, he will.
You can’t help but feel rejected. I’m human and I have feelings. I want him to like me and get to know me. Unfortunately, men do not like drama and I showed that side of me. It was a lot of pressure. I wanted to say so much, but it came out so awkward. It wasn’t even what I wanted to say. It was too much pressure.
On what she thinks of this week’s biggest troublemakers, Courtney and Blakeley:
Alright, so I’ll start with Blakeley. I have known girls like Blakeley, and I had a lot of time with her. My first impression was aggressive and she doesn’t wanna be friends with anyone but Monica. I didn’t like how they were together and didn’t talk to anyone else. In the house, they realized that they need to break up a little. They were being pinpointed in the wrong way. I got to know her more and she does have a heart. I think we all have our insecurities and the way Blakeley deals with hers is she’s more aggressive. I can tell why girls are not fond of that. She can only stay strong for so long, and it actually got to her. She comes off very strong but there’s another side to her.
Courtney … I only had probably one conversation with her, and I just know she’s a model from Santa Monica and she plays with her hair a lot. After watching the show, I think there’s a serious case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
On what she thinks of Ben:
I think Ben is a great guy. It’s tough to be in that situation with all these women vying for your attention. He maintained his sanity and went with the flow.
On whether she read what people were writing about her online:
I’m not on Twitter at the moment, but I am pretty internet savvy. After the first episode, you’re curious about what people say … I didn’t know I was going to be a hashtag. At first I cringed, but now I’m totally fine. I had to imagine, on the other side, how I look, and I’d say the exact same thing. After it sunk in, it was like, “You know, that’s not me. I have to have fun with it.” I can look back and laugh at the experience. I’m owning it.
(Image courtesy of ABC)