Exclusive: Tara Locke talks about her 'Love in the Wild' experience
By Reality TV World staff, 06/21/2012
Tara Locke was eliminated from Love in the Wild contestant after her partner Jesse Wilson chose to dump her in favor of fellow contestant Ali Leitza during Tuesday night's NBC broadcast of the third episode of the second season of the reality dating series.
On Wednesday, Tara, a 26-year-old from Arlington Heights, IL who currently resides in Miami Beach, FL, talked to Reality TV World about her Love in the Wild experience -- including exactly why she was so upset with Jesse's decision, how she feels now, whether she had sensed things weren't working out between the pair, and if she felt a romantic connection with any of the show's other contestants.
Check back with Reality TV World next week for our additional exclusive interviews with Cina Luks and Jenny Blatt.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when Jesse Wilson chose to keep you during last night's Couples Choice Ceremony instead of Melissa Alatorre, especially since he flat out told you that you guys didn't mesh together? Were you surprised he didn't pick Melissa first?
Tara Locke: Honestly, I was more disappointed because then this meant that I could not go into the "unmatched area" and have an opportunity to maybe get picked up by one of the other guys.
Reality TV World: Yeah, it seemed like Jesse deliberately eliminated any chance of you possibly getting picked up by any of the other guys by waiting until the second round of pairing to put you into the "unmatched area" -- because since you guys were the last trio to finish the adventure, there was no chance for another guy to pick you even if they wanted to at that point. So do you think Jesse did that deliberately and did that play a part in why you reacted as strongly as you did?
Tara Locke: Yeah, I honestly think that Jesse deliberately wanted me just completely off the show. I'm not sure why that was because obviously we didn't have a conversation about it, but he should've let me go first and basically give me an opportunity to maybe stick around and get to know some of the other guys.
Because honestly, up until he had a conversation with me about us not meshing, I had no idea, and I was so truthful and faithful to him that I wasn't trying to mingle with many of the other guys -- because I felt I was pretty solid in what was going on with my partnership.
Reality TV World: So when Jesse told you that you guys didn't mesh, was there anything else to that conversation that viewers didn't get to see? Was anything else said?
Tara Locke: Honestly, the whole conversation did come as a shock. We were just sitting, hanging out with a few of the other people, and he just brought up the conversation randomly and I honestly did not know it was coming. So, as you could see, I gave a lot of stares and a lot of confusion right across my face, because I did not know that he was going to spring up a conversation to me about him wanting to be partners with someone else. I was definitely blindsided by the whole situation.
Reality TV World: Going into the Couples Choice Ceremony, what was going through your mind? Did you think you were going to be eliminated because you knew there was no spark between you and Jesse or what did you envision happening? Were you confident another guy would most likely end up picking you?
Tara Locke: Yeah honestly, once Jesse kept me, I knew I was going home right away because we were in last place and no one was able to pick me up. But honestly, if he would've let me go first, I think I could have had a better chance to, you know, have someone else pick me up randomly. Because at these eliminations, there's so much going through everyone's minds that people make last minute decisions.
Obviously, when I first made my decision, there were so many thoughts in my head of, "Who should I choose?!" You [second guess] yourself and you don't always pick who you originally think you're going to pick. So, I honestly think if he would've let me go, someone else might've picked me up, you know? I'm a good person, so.
Reality TV World: I know you said that conversation in which Jesse told you that you two weren't meshing really came as a shock, so looking back on everything now, why do you think you didn't click? Do you think you had different personalities or maybe wanted different things out of life? Was there ever a point you realized something was missing or was the hesitation just coming from his end?
Tara Locke: I think to me, I like to see the positive in everyone, so if there was something negative that he saw, I wasn't seeing it -- because I'm a very optimistic person. So, he never brought anything up prior to me. He never said he had any [issues] that were wrong with me, nothing of that sort. So, that's why when the conversation started, I just didn't know how to respond because I didn't know exactly what I did wrong, because I honestly don't think that I did anything wrong.
Reality TV World: So it sounds like you think Jesse led you on due to the fact he wasn't open about his feelings with you prior to that sit-down conversation right?
Tara Locke: Yes, I think there were so many outlets as to when Jesse could've came to me earlier. When I originally first chose him, he had the opportunity to deny my partnership, but he [remained] my partner and we kept going together. There were so many other times he could've brought up the conversation to me, but he waited until the very last minute.
And so, we were almost going into an elimination soon, and by then, I didn't even have the time to get to know too many of the other guys. So, it was definitely an unfortunate situation for me.
Reality TV World: You had some pretty negative words for Jesse following your elimination -- like he will always suck in life. (Laughs) How do you feel about Jesse now? Are you still mad at him or did you let things go? Are you at least friends?
Tara Locke: (Laughs) I'm not a person who holds grudges. I believe that everything happens for a reason and, you know, him letting me go made me the winner, because I saw the kind of person that he is behind my back, and that's not the type of person I would ever want to be with.
Reality TV World: It seemed like Jesse didn't have much of a reason as to why he chose Ali Leitza during last night's show. Do you have any insight as to why he might've picked her? Would you say it was just a physical attraction or do you think they had things in common?
Tara Locke: I would say that they had a physical attraction maybe. He brought up during last night's show he wanted to see her in a bikini, so he obviously didn't have much substance as to why he was choosing her. He was just going based off looks.
Reality TV World: I'm sure you got to know Ali at least a little bit while you were on the show, so at that time, did you think they could possibly form a solid relationship or did you think it'd be pretty hopeless for them to find lasting romance?
Tara Locke: Romantic-wise, I don't see it. They could be friends. I could see a friendship there. They would have fun together, but I don't see anything happening romantically, because I think she deserves more.
Reality TV World: It sounds like you thought Jesse was a different person when you first were paired with him on the show than he turned out to be at the time you left the show. I'm assuming that's accurate to say, so what was your opinion of him before and how did that change overtime?
Tara Locke: When him and I first became partners, he was very upfront with me. He was a very sweet person. He seemed somewhat quiet and shy in a way, and we got along great. And then all of a sudden, he just decided that he didn't want to be partners with me anymore and he wanted to choose Ali so to speak. And again, I don't really see what the reasoning was for it because he didn't have much information to back himself up.
Reality TV World: The show showed a little bit of your reaction after Jenny McCarthy revealed the twist in which each guy was going to be paired up with two girls and you seemed pretty annoyed. Could you elaborate on how you were feeling in the moment and did you initially think Melissa was going to be tough competition or not at all?
Tara Locke: You know, right off the bat, Jesse made a point to say that Melissa was too young for him. So in my eyes, he is an ageist and I know that I'm a handful of years younger than him as well, so maybe that was my disadvantage to him as well. He automatically assumes that girls in their 20's are immature, and I totally disagree of course. So I think that he just has perceived notions right away and he's too quick to judge.
I think a lot of great girls went home last night who deserved to stay, and I'm the type of person that if you do something to me deliberately, I'm going to speak my mind to your face -- because I'm not the type of person, as you could see on the show, I always said exactly what I wanted to someone's face instead of saying it behind their back. I was never two-faced and he was!
Reality TV World: Your trio obviously finished the adventure in last place, so would you say you three worked terribly together or did you just come across bad luck, like it seemed like you guys had trouble finding that amber in the sand. Was that challenge as hard as it looked?
Tara Locke: Right, you know, we were doing great in the challenge. We were in second place, and then when it came down to lining up the ropes, our left rope was somewhat distorted. So when we were searching, we were maybe a foot off.
And so, it was just bad luck. Honestly, we did great together during the challenge. We weren't arguing. We just buckled down and got it done. Even when we were having trouble finding that amber, we just said, "Okay, let's take a breather. Line up the ropes one more time," and then I found the amber right away.
Reality TV World: If you could go back and try to get to know another guy instead of investing your time in Jesse, who do you think you would've been attracted to or got along with? Who would you have liked to go on the next adventure with?
Tara Locke: Honestly, I think all the guys were great as friends, but I don't see any romantic connection with any of them.
Reality TV World: Why did you originally pick Tim Parrish during the premiere episode and what was your reaction when Summer Mack decided to pick Tim? Were you disappointed because you liked him or were you relieved because you wanted to be paired up with someone else?
Tara Locke: Well, I originally picked him because he looked like an athletic guy, you know? And in doing these challenges, I don't want to pick a guy who's a pretty boy because I wanted to get through the challenge successfully and he seemed like a good looking guy -- seemed nice from afar. Again, to my face, he was a very nice person.
So all of the things that he said behind my back, I had no idea that was even going on. I was always nice to him to his face. We never had any issues upfront with each other at all. And then when Summer wanted to pick him, I was really disappointed because I figured that I had the only option between obviously Leo -- I mean, he was super crazy, but him and I would never have any sort of spark.
So there was just no opportunity there. So, I at least wanted to keep Tim because he seemed like a leader in the challenges, and just to keep him as a partner in order to go on one more time and maybe see what other guy was out there.
Reality TV World: Out of the six couples remaining, while you were on the show, who did you think had the best shot of winning Love in the Wild or at least remaining a couple once the show ends? Did you think any couple in particular would probably make it?
Tara Locke: Well, [Kenneth Barrington] and [Yanina Beccaria] are adorable. I mean, as you can see in last night's episode, these new girls didn't even phase him. He was such a doll to her and they just mesh very well. They have a very strong chemistry and they're great during the challenges. He's a gentleman. He's very sweet to her and I hope that they continue to do great together.
Reality TV World: Looking back on your entire Love in the Wild experience, do you have any regrets? Do you wish you had done or said anything differently?
Tara Locke: I don't have any regrets. I think that the whole opportunity was amazing and I met so many great people -- so many great friends -- and I wouldn't take back anything that happened.
Reality TV World: Are you dating now or still single? And do you think being on Love in the Wild will help or hurt your dating life?
Tara Locke: (Laughs) I'm always dating around. I meet guys all the time and I think that's a benefit of living here in Miami. Everyone's always so open and I love it. I don't have a problem with dating anyone. It's always about finding the right person that I have an issue with. So, I think that Love in the Wild, I think it was a great opportunity. I don't think it's going to make or break me. I just think it was something great that happened in my life.