Having not even had a single one-on-one date with Bachelor SA’s Lee Thompson, Jacqueline Ramos-Pinto clearly had something about her that kept her in the running for his heart, right down to Episode 10, the final four and those all-important family visits.
Could it have been her genuine, open, unwavering authenticity that she maintained throughout the show?
Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to chat with Jacquie, but I did send her some questions, and unsurprisingly got some blatantly honest responses …
What were your first impressions on arriving at mansion?
After what felt like an eternity between opening the limo door, meeting with Lee, and trying not to fall over as I made my way into the mansion, my first impression was “wow”. It was all beautiful: Lee, the mansion, the ladies, the artwork and again, Lee! It was undeniably the most surreal experience of my life. I’ve watched the Bachelor US for years and as a viewer you always wonder just how nervous the ladies must have been, you try to put yourself in those ladies heels, what would you do? How would you feel? It was the most exciting experience of my life. And about getting out of that limo, jumping out of a plane was easier. I promise.
Did you go in with any type of strategy? If so, did you adapt that strategy at any point? Did you think you’d make a mistake at any point?
I went in there with only one strategy and that was to remain as authentic and true to myself as possible. I know that some of the ladies went in with there own strategies and there were times where I wish I could have been a little more graceful and “put together”, it’s hard when you’ve been so vulnerable, when you’ve allowed yourself to be seen, deeply seen. The criticism hurts when true and honest sides to you are being attached. But at the same time, the love and support means that much more when you realize that people have seen and loved you just as you are.
Why did you enter The Bachelor SA – being a beautiful, strong woman, putting yourself in direct competition with other gorgeous, independent women? Your friend Kiki put this to Lee (brilliantly) when he claimed that you were all unique (he said it more than once, and she jumped on him for that!) – but seriously, it does take a while for each of you to get the chance to show Lee that unique-ness.
You know, I never looked at it as a competition, all the ladies were so beautiful, accomplished and unique. I often compared it to attending an event/bar/club etc. Based on first impressions, there are just some people you’ll connect with from the get-go and it has nothing to do with anyone competing. I’m of the belief that what is for you will never pass you by, I would often remind myself of this while in the mansion. It was never really a competition, Lee was either for me, or he wasn’t. With regard to Kiki and Lee’s (brilliant) conversation, it was incredibly difficult to show Lee that unique-ness, I wanted to show Lee every side to me, we’re all so multi-faceted so it was difficult to do this at times, and often frustrating with the time constraints. I believe that I showed Lee my Jax-ness as best I could.
Does your self-confidence take a bit of a knock?
At times your self-confidence definitely does take a little bit of a knock. But one thing I realized while living with the ladies was that what one lady did not like about herself or felt self-conscious about, another lady admired. It taught me 2 things, that we all have our moments of self-doubt and insecurities and that sometimes the parts of ourselves that we feel are hard to love are in fact our most beautiful parts.
You told your dad the experience was life-changing. In what way?
The experience was one of which I will never forget. I often compared the experience as looking into a mirror, sometimes even into a magnifying glass. You’re faced with yourself through the journey, often with parts of yourself that make you uncomfortable or vulnerable. At times you feel insecure, jealous, scared and then at other times brave, unique, and strong. Facing and learning to love each facet of myself was truly the most tough, amazing and rewarding experience of my life to date. I came to realize how important it is to Self-love. I went on this journey to find love, I found it in more ways than one.
Did this experience change your perception in any way of what you’re looking for in a partner, or of how you see yourself interacting with the people in your life in future?
I think it really just reinforced in me the importance of being open and vulnerable. I put shame and fear aside throughout this journey, which is why I was so forthcoming with my inner workings throughout the show. It’s the fear and shame of being judged or not loved for all that we are that prevents us from forming true connections. I was vulnerable and emotionally honest throughout, and I’m proud of that. I’m definitely now (more than ever) looking for a partner that can recognize this vulnerability as a strength and that accept and love me for all that I am.
All of the ladies have chatted at length about the friendships that they’ve created with each other. In fact, this was spoken about more than anyone even spoke about Lee!! But as was pointed out – you all spent a lot more time together than you did with him!! Do you agree? Do you think you’re all going to remain close friends?
It’s strange, it’s not that you expect to form friendships with the ladies when entering into an environment that is focused on vying for the same man’s attention, but somehow you do. The production team cast such phenomenal women and from the get-go bonding with these ladies was inevitable. I think the fact that we were all so isolated from the outside world and were sharing an experience that no one else in the country had experienced really bonded us. I know that I’ve definitely made friends for life with some of the ladies, we were each other’s strength throughout this journey, and I know that I’ve definitely made some forever friends.
I hope to have some parting words from Michelle Reddy for you before this week’s penultimate episode of The Bachelor SA, so watch this space! Yes, that’s right, just 2 episodes left!
The Bachelor SA is screened on M-Net Channel 101 every Thursday evening at 19:00 and is also available on Catch-Up.
Fans can visit www.mnet.tv/thebachelorsa and follow all the breaking news and conversations around the show on Twitter @MNet #TheBachelorSA and on the official M-Net Facebook page.
Lucy had watched so many seasons of the overseas versions so she jumped at the chance to enter the SA edition.
Daneal and Milisha both had similar reasons for entering. After exploring so many of the traditional avenues of the dating game, they both felt that checking out an alternative way to meet someone might be worth it.
Daneal spoke about her first impression, getting out the limousine and those nerves that hit you! I can’t even imagine what it must feel like! She continued with genuine honesty about what the first cocktail party felt like when everyone was sussing everyone else out – knowing that they were the competition. But then, once things settled down (the cameras aren’t actually on you 24/7 – this isn’t ‘that other reality show’), the claws aren’t out all the time and being thrown together – without your cellphones (I was shocked – it was something I hadn’t even thought about) – in such close proximity, forces you to form bonds a lot quicker and a lot deeper than you normally would.
All three girls mentioned the strong connections that have been formed between the competitors, and they truly feel that the friendships they’ve created (even in the short space of time they were in the House), are lifelong ones. Lucy even described the experience as ‘one big sleepover’! Milisha described all the women she’d met as ‘amazing’, although at times you do feel your self-confidence slip a bit, looking at all these other beautiful, incredible women, wondering what you’re doing there. She reminded herself – and wants to remind others – that the only person you need to compete against is yourself, and that you just need to aim to be better than you were the day before – wise words!
I did briefly touch on the Tenji/Michelle R. episode and the overall feeling was that these things are bound to happen, living in such close proximity and with everything being much more intense than in a ‘normal’ situation. All three ladies said that for these reasons, it’s impossible not to be your authentic self and to show who you truly are, even if you came into the House attempting to show a different face – the masks were inevitably going to slip pretty quickly.
The self-confidence thing intrigued me though. A show such as The Bachelor can give your self-confidence a huge knock. Daneal was clear about the fact that you obviously need to have a certain amount of self-confidence going into something like this. You know that not everyone will love you and you know that people will form opinions about you. She agreed that it’s tough to put yourself out there on such a grand scale to be scrutinised but it’s a decision you make and one that you need to be comfortable with.
Lucy isn’t on Twitter, but uses other social media platforms. She says she’s not really phased by stuff like that, but has found that the feedback she’s seen has been positive and supportive. We did chat about the group date and she said she’d felt very self-conscious, wishing afterwards that she’d felt a lot more confident and had done things differently in that situation.
Interestingly, none of these three ladies went in with a strategy or a game plan. Are they devastated to be out of the running so early in the show? To be honest – not really.
To quote Milisha – “I’m getting back to my life, which is awesome! I love my home, my family, my friends, my job and my dog!” Not only is she proud of herself, but so are her family and friends. She got to know so much about herself and learned to love herself a lot more too.
About Lee, she says – “He has amazing energy, but he wasn’t ‘the one’.”
For Lucy it was too soon to tell if Lee was her forever man and Daneal took the pragmatic approach, saying that she’d just thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience, learning whatever she could from it and knowing that the bonds that were created with her fellow competitors would last a lifetime.
And so… 18 girls are left. What surprises are in store for them and for our Bachelor, Lee Thompson? You’ll have to watch weekly on Mnet Channel 101, Thursdays at 19:00. Don’t panic if you miss it! It’ll be on Catch Up!
Also, don’t forget that you can play in The BacheLEAGUE too.