Exclusive: Summer Mack talks about her 'Love in the Wild' experience (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/24/2012
Summer Mack and her partner "Chase" Aaron Chase were eliminated from Love in the Wild, which determined its Final 2 couples for tonight's finale episode, during last Tuesday night's penultimate broadcast of the second season of the NBC reality dating series.
Summer, a 32-year-old from Satellite Beach, FL who currently resides in Indian Harbour Beach, FL, and Chase were eliminated from the competition after Kenneth Barrington and his partner Yanina Beccaria -- who finished first in the week's adventure and were therefore able to select which of the other remaining two couples should be sent home and which one would be their opponent in the finale -- chose to oust them because they had always posed a big threat in the challenges as a couple.
Last week, Summer talked to Reality TV World about her Love in the Wild experience and relationship with Chase -- including what she had to say about her competitive side which was portrayed all season, whether she believed Ken and Yanina had anything to worry about heading into the final adventure, when she first discovered she was interested in Chase, and in what situation she decided to forgive a fellow contestant but not forget.
Below is the concluding portion of our exclusive interview with Summer. Click here to read the first half. To begin reading our interview with Chase, click here, and more from that call will be coming soon.
Reality TV World: You seemed to get very upset every time you and Chase would do poorly in an adventure or lose one. Looking back, how do you think you handled the adventures? Do you think you were too competitive or maybe too hard on Chase or are you happy with how you behaved because you felt the need to push him in order to win?
Summer Mack: Well, it wasn't so much pushing him, and I think the whole competitive thing was a little misconstrued. I'm really athletic and I'm a performer, but I think everybody was competitive on these adventures. Everybody wanted to win and go to the Oasis, and nobody wanted to lose because it meant you were going home.
So, when you look back at some of the other episodes when [Benjamin Clark] and [Jenny Blatt] lost, they were super upset and Jenny cried because she thought they were going home. And when Ben was paired with [Ali Leitza] and he lost, he snapped at Ali and he wasn't nice to her because he thought he might be separated from [Michelle Sacco]
So I feel like everybody, at some point when they didn't do well, were upset and they didn't want to lose. Because the whole point of being here is you get to know that person that you're connecting with, and the only way you can do that is by staying in the game.
And the only way you can stay in the game is by not coming in last on the adventures, so you know, my motivation to stay and do well in the adventures was to enable me to stay longer and hang out with Chase. I mean, I pushed him. He pushed me, but I'm competitive by nature.
I think that's a quality we both share and have in common. I don't have any regrets about being competitive, and I wanted to win all of them and go to the Oasis with Chase every single time if I could.
Reality TV World: When you and Chase left the show, did you see Ken and Yanina or Ben and Michelle taking the cake and winning Love in the Wild? Do you think it was obvious Ken and Yanina had a better shot at winning or would you say maybe they underestimated Ben and Michelle a little bit?
Summer Mack: I think that definitely Ken and Yanina had, hands down, the best relationship on the show. They've been together the longest, they knew each other really well, they were really tight.
And I feel like their relationship was on the multiple levels that Chase and I were aiming for as far as getting along, getting to know each other, and then building into a physical relationship -- which is one of the things that Ken kind of talked about in the beginning.
He wanted to be more physical with Yanina, so I feel like they kind of worked their way up to that the way Chase and I were trying to. So I thought 100% percent that Ken and Yanina were going to do really well and I felt like they were going to win. And I hoped that they were! Because if they weren't going to pick us to compete against, you guys better win if you're not going to pick us! (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Were you surprised when Ken and Yanina selected Ben and Michelle to join them in the finale or did you kind of have a feeling that's what they were going to end up doing? Were you a little disappointed in their decision because you four had become close friends?
Summer Mack: Yeah, you know, I was disappointed, but I understand you have to make the best decision for your relationship. And so for that part of it, I thought, "If they're going to make a decision based on what's the best for them and their potential to win, they probably aren't going to pick us, because we're probably going to give them a harder run for the money than Ben and Michelle will."
But as far as on the other side of things, we were all friends and we all got along really well. So I thought, "Maybe they'll keep us in because of our friendship." So I was a little bit torn.
I really did not know what they were going to do. It was completely up in the air. It was based on where they were being pulled... whether it was to win or to like maintain our bond and our friendship. So I didn't know which way it was going to go.
Reality TV World: You were with Jesse Wilson at the beginning of the season but then you dumped him for Tim Parrish. What went wrong in your relationship with Jesse and what were your thoughts on him throughout the season? He came across as a very controversial contestant this season.
Summer Mack: (Laughs) Uh-huh! You know, as a girl when you first meet a guy, you have an initial perception of them. And with Jesse, obviously I picked him and I thought he was awesome on the adventure. Together, we did really well, and I really got to know him pretty quickly when we were at the Oasis. I thought he was a nice guy, but I just didn't think that he was the right guy for me.
There wasn't anything like really bad about him. It was just we were on like different waves of what we were looking for in a partner. And so I think we definitely could've been friends, but I don't think that there was a connection with him that would have led to anything as far as being a boyfriend.
Reality TV World: Also earlier in the season, there was that incident when Tim rubbed cake in your hair during Jesse's birthday party, was that the only reason why you chose to dump him? Because it seemed like due to the fact he reminded you of an ex-boyfriend, he ruined it for himself right then and there. Is that true or was there more to your decision to pick someone else?
Summer Mack: No, I think that was one of the big deciding factors and you have a short period of time to get to know each guy, and you literally have two days to make a decision -- "Is this guy right or is he not right for me?" I went on the show unwilling to compromise on what I wanted and what was going to make me happy.
And the whole point is to find somebody that you really connect with, and I think with the cake thing, that might be cool for some girls and they'd laugh it off and it'd be funny, but for me, it just wasn't really a quality that I would've liked. And so, I just had to make a quick decision and we had such a short period of time to do it.
And when he did that, I kind of immediately knew like, "This guy's not really presenting qualities of the type of guy that I would really want to date or see anything long-term with. I kind of want more of a sweet guy who's a tough, strong manly-man but also kind of like a teddy bear."
When that went down, it was kind of like, "Oh, I wish I could give him longer to maybe reverse it, but I don't have that time. I have to make a decision now."
Reality TV World: When I talked to Tim this season, he told me that he thought you guys were fine prior to the Couples Choice Ceremony because you "made out." What is your response to that and did you give him any indication you weren't going to stay with him prior to the ceremony? It sounds like there wasn't really a conversation that took place or anything like that.
Summer Mack: Well, you know, he did try to apologize and I accepted his apology. I told him that I'd forgive him for what he did, but like, I wasn't going to forget that he did it.
So, I pretty much said, "I forgive you for putting cake in my hair, but I'm not going to forget it and I don't approve of that type of behavior. And I want somebody who's going to be nice and treat me nicely and will be the type of person that defends me against the guy doing that to me -- not be my guy doing that to me."
And then we were by the pool and we had that conversation, and he asked if I was over it. I said I forgave him but wasn't going to forget what he did. And then he asked me for a kiss and I gave him a kiss. So, that was our "make out." (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Getting back to Chase, when did you guys first determine you'd like to become a match and pair up together? What was it about him that drew you in? Was it just a solid conversation you two had or a strong attraction or something?
Summer Mack: Well, I first talked to Chase because I won the first episode, so I went to the Oasis and I wasn't really able to spend a lot of time with any of the guys, except for ["Q" Quaison Dodd] and Jesse except for the minimal amount of time I went back to the cabins -- which I think maybe totaled an hour in those two days.
I briefly talked to Chase when I went back and I really liked the conversation I had with him, but at that time, I was kind of looking more towards the other guys and I thought he was building something solid with [Cina Luks] at that time. So, I didn't really know what was going on there because I wasn't around enough to know how everyone was pairing up.
So then following that, Chase went to the Oasis, so I didn't have time to see him then. And it wasn't until that third adventure that we were actually able to spend some time together. He actually organized an awesome little round-robin dating game for everybody, which I thought was really nice and it really impressed me.
He kind of put together this whole day for all the new girls and the guys to get to know each other and meet and see if there were any connections. And it was during that time that they showed us in our first like really nice conversation, and we got to know each other, and I was really impressed by him and we kind of just immediately clicked. That's when I think we kind of started on our path.
Reality TV World: During the dating game in which you competed against Ken and Yanina and Ben and Michelle, you answered "both" to the last question about who's ready to settle down and start a family first. Jenny McCarthy cracked a joke asking you whether you saw the first season, so my first question is, did you watch Season 1? And my second question is, looking back, do you regret answering the question that way?
Summer Mack: I watched lots of bits and pieces of Season 1 -- not even like DVR'd it later, I watched the show when it was. And I guess that was one of the things I missed! (Laughs) It was a truthful answer.
It wasn't an answer that I answered in attempt to win the dating game. It was honestly what I thought was a truthful answer, and you know, if I was playing the game right, I probably should've answered it differently. But like I said, we had that, "What's your five-year plan" conversation, and I honestly didn't know who wanted it more.
So, I put that down. He wanted family and kids first or he wanted to settle down first, so looking back, if I really wanted to win, I probably could've played it differently. But I put down the most honest answer that I thought of.
Reality TV World: Why did you originally apply for Love in the Wild? Was it simply to find love or were you also looking for a little adventure and fun and stuff like that?
Summer Mack: Well, for me, I was definitely looking to meet somebody and I thought that it would be a good form to do it, because the show is set up to kind of put relationships to the test fairly early on. And I like the idea that it was equal guys to girls and you had a fair chance to meet somebody. It wasn't a bunch of girls competing for one guy.
And the type of guy that I like is a guy that is outdoorsy and active and able-bodied and competitive, so it was definitely for me, the best decision to do something like this because those were the type of guys that were going to be on the show -- that had all the things I like to do, they'd like to do.
So, I thought it would be a really good way to meet somebody that had a lot in common with me and it'd be a fun experience. So, I feel really super-fortunate that I got to do it. It was an awesome thing.
Above is the concluding portion of our exclusive interview with Summer. Click here to read the first half. To begin reading our interview with Chase, click here, and more from that call will be coming soon.