Sure, her Bachelor hometown date was one for the weirdo books, but Shawntel Newton, the 25-year-old funeral director from Chico, California, seemed like the ultimate keeper: Smart, beautiful, easygoing and passionate about her job–even though it involved draining the blood of corpses.
But when it came time to eliminate one of his final four after the hometown dates, Brad Womack decided his connection was stronger with Chantal, Ashley and Emily, and put a very shocked Shawntel back on a plane to Chico.
At least she got a free Vegas shopping spree out of it.
How does Shawntel feel about the experience now? Does she regret telling Brad she loved him, or showing him the intimate details of her morbid profession? Shawntel spoke with the media in a conference call this morning, and told us all this and more:
Was it your idea to take Brad into the morgue or the producers’?
It was a little of both. I just thought, “I might as well lay my cards out on the table with Brad.” This is my job and this is what I grew up with. If he wanted to get down on his knees and propose, he might as well see what I grew up around. So I just thought, let’s do this.
Do you regret it?
I don’t regret it at all. We only had a few weeks to fall in love and I really was falling in love with Brad. This was the final test to see if he could handle it, and I don’t regret it.
Do you think that the conversation about possibly leaving Chico, and your family business, is one you should’ve had with just your parents when Brad wasn’t around? Do you think it affected Brad’s decision?
That’s a good question! That had never come up with my family, me leaving Chico. I always thought that I would be staying in Chico and taking over the business. So I think they were a little surprised when I went on the show. I had no idea who the Bachelor was, and I think that was a shock to my family for me to come home. I thought, “Okay, wow, here I am falling in love with him, I’m willing to move, and this may change some things.”
Did being on the show open your eyes to a life outside Chico?
No, it definitely opened up my eyes to a lot of different things. I have such a passion for the funeral industry but it opened my eyes to falling in love with someone that doesn’t live in Chico. I was like, wow, there is life outside of Chico. It wasn’t just the travel. It was falling in love with someone. Life outside of my little town … there’s a big world out there.
Is it hard to find good guys in Chico, or is it your profession that makes dating difficult?
I think it’s a little bit of both. Being a funeral director has challenged my love life a lot. When I go on a date with a guy and we start talking and he asks what I do, it’s like a step back. It’s like, “Okay, wow. That’s different.” Growing up in Chico, I know a lot of the guys my age. We all went to school together, we played sports together, we went to church together. So I probably wouldn’t date them because we grew up together. I grew up with them so they’re like family! Being a funeral director has challenged that as well.
Would you recommend going on The Bachelor to your sisters or friends?
My girlfriends have even asked that! It’s something that you really need to think about. It’s a really true test of your character. That’s what I learned for myself. I really learned about myself. You’re secluded from your family and friends. You realize what kind of person you are in these different, awkward situations. It’s not that I wouldn’t recommend it but it’s something people should think about and realize that these situations you are put in are not normal, and you are going to have cameras in your face.
How did your family feel about Brad?
My family did like him a lot. My mom loved him. My mom’s family is from Alabama and they have that Southern charm. You don’t see my mom talking to him as much, but she thought he was a doll, she really did. I think they were just hesitant because everything came at them at once. It was a huge shock for them, like our daughter might be leaving our life at home in Chico that we’re so comfortable with. They really did like Brad. They can tell that I was in love and I was happy. I haven’t been in love in a very long time. The last time that I was… it wasn’t good. It was an unhealthy relationship. I think they were refreshed to see a man treating their daughter well.
How big a role do you think your dad played in Brad’s decision to let you go?
I think Brad really saw that my dad was having a hard time with this even though he did give his blessing. I think he thought my family wasn’t really supportive of this. But I stood up for myself in saying to my dad that if [Brad] proposes to me, I will be moving to Austin.
Looking back, would you have preferred to go home the week before the hometown dates?
I could not have been happier the way everything happened. This was a huge thing for me to go on this show. My two sisters signed me up for the show. I had never seen an episode of the show. I had no idea who Brad Womack was. I had no expectations. I’m thankful my parents and my two sisters got to be a part of it.
How did your family react when you were eliminated after the hometown date?
I think it was bittersweet. I think they were really shocked. I was hoping to get more time, but I think at the same time it kind of opened up their eyes and opened my eyes.
Have you been able to move on or do you still feel heartbroken?
It’s been a little while. I’m OK. I compare this to someone who had a death of a loved one. You go through the same stages as dealing with death. I allowed myself to get angry, I was in denial, and I allowed myself to go through these stages of grief in a healthy way. I’m not in love with him anymore. Like I said in the limo, I wish Brad happiness. All I want for him is to be happy. I think he got really lucky with the girls he had to choose from.
In your final words, you said you didn’t see the elimination coming. Can you talk about how you think your hometown date went?
I think it went as well as it could have, with Brad laying on the prep table and being at the funeral home, which is a lot to take in. But I think why I said it was a shock to me is I really thought he accepted my job and was OK with it, and was going to let me talk to him more about that. He and I didn’t have a lot of time at the end, to when I said that I was in love with him and then we had to go to the rose ceremony. It was minutes. I wish he had allowed us a little more time to explore, you know, what do you think about the funeral home and my family. So that’s why I was really shocked.
Any regrets telling Brad you were falling in love with him?
I have no regrets at all. I know he can’t say that back to me and that’s uncomfortable to be in a situation like that, but I put myself out there and I said this is how I’m feeling. And I wanted him to know.
Can you talk about how you felt at the rose ceremony?
I thought Ashley H. was going home, and I thought I was staying. I knew she hadn’t told him she was falling in love with him and I had, and I thought, OK, he is letting a girl go who has really put herself out there for him. And you have another girl who hasn’t, and it was a shock to me in many ways.
Do you think any of the remaining women could have a lasting relationship with Brad?
My personal opinion is that he is in love with Emily, and I think he has been for a while, and I ignored that for a while. She has a child, and he wants to be the father to her child, and she’s wanting to get married and have more kids. I think she already has what he wants.
Out of the three remaining women who were you closest to?
I was closest to Chantal. We had good, deep conversations, and she was someone who I thought, you know, if I don’t find love out of this, at least I have a friend.
What was your best memory with Brad?
My best memory was in Anguilla. The date that stands out was riding bikes with him, going to the farmers market. There were little baby goats! And I love going to petting zoos. Our conversation was so good. Playing dominos with the locals … it felt like there were no cameras there. We didn’t have helicopters or anything too extravagant. It was a farmers market with locals and it was a great time.
If you were given the chance to be the next Bachelorette, would you take it?
I think I would. You really have to be a strong emotional person. You’re talking a lot. You have to be up late, you’re doing interviews. As far as Bachelor Pad, I wouldn’t do it. I would watch it.
When you watch Brad on TV how do you feel about him?
It was weird. It was hard to watch him on dates with other girls. But it’s different because I’m not in love with him so it makes it easier. Again, the situations are awkward. They’re abnormal.
You seem very passionate about what you do. What do you love about your job?
I love my job. I grew up around it. I would go to the prep room with my dad and sit on the counter when he was embalming. I wanted to be a psychologist. My dad would say, “Why don’t you work for me a little bit?” and I was like, OK. And then I was like, oh my god, science, the elderly and psychology–within the funeral industry that’s all there. I get to use the science part of my brain. I love elderly men! I just think they’re so cute. … It really makes you appreciate life. Sometimes I think everyone should be a funeral director for a month.
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(Image courtesy of ABC)