Exclusive: Vanessa Ramirez opens up about her time on 'Love in the Wild'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/29/2012
Love in the Wild contestant Vanessa Ramirez, who was one of the six "surprise" girls to recently enter the competition, was eliminated with her partner Jason Ewell after they had finished last in the fourth episode's adventure and then all the individuals before them had found a match to resume competing as couples during the Couples Choice Ceremony, leaving no one in the "unmatched area."
On Thursday, Vanessa, a 30-year-old from Phoenix, AZ, talked to Reality TV World about her short-lived Love in the Wild experience -- including what went wrong in her relationship with Jason once the couple tried to work things out from home, why she went into the Couples Choice Ceremony unaware Jason was going to pick her although they had made an obvious connection, how Cina Luks treated her on the show when they were forced to be part of a trio, and what new details she revealed about Kenneth Barrington and Jesse Wilson's big argument.
To read Cina's interview, click here. Check back with Reality TV World soon for our interview with Jason.
Reality TV World: What's the status of your relationship with Jason now? Are you still dating or did things not end up working out for you two?
Vanessa Ramirez: We are still in contact. We're still friends, however, with our busy schedules and the distance that we live from each other, we really haven't had a lot of time to make it grow after the show.
Reality TV World: Would you say you guys made an honest effort to see each other and stay together or was it just too difficult to get your relationship off the ground?
Vanessa Ramirez: I would say I think it was too difficult for us to -- I started work again and I think he was trying to figure out his work situation, and I guess it just didn't work out to where we could meet up that time.
Reality TV World: Do you see there being a long-lasting friendship between you two?
Vanessa Ramirez: Yes, yeah. We definitely have a good relationship talking-wise. We still talk on the phone to each other and we made a true connection on the show. So yeah, everything's still good. I think we'll be friends for a long time.
Reality TV World: Had you been able to stay onLove in the Wild longer, do you think things could've turned out differently? Do you think had you and Jason gotten more time in the jungle you would've left the show with more of a foundation or bond that could've made it easier for you guys to stay together or kept you together?
Vanessa Ramirez: Yes, it definitely would've been easier. The way things were going, they were going really well. They were going in the right direction. We got along really well. We definitely had a little spark there, so if we had more time, I really do believe that we would've had an easier connection and made it last longer.
Reality TV World: So are you dating someone else now or are you still single?
Vanessa Ramirez: I'm still single. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: When I talked to Cina last week, she said it was obvious Jason was going to pick you at the Couples Choice Ceremony because you two clearly had a connection while they didn't. Did you feel that way as well? Were you very confident he'd end up choosing you or was there a part of you that thought he'd want to stay with Cina?
Vanessa Ramirez: I didn't think he would end up with Cina. I still had a little bit of worry that he may choose one of the other girls -- one of the other girls that were on the show -- because him and I definitely did have a connection, but we weren't 100% percent sure when it came down to the ceremony. Although with his actions, yes, it definitely did show that he was very interested in me.
Reality TV World: So just to clarify, did Jason ever directly come out and tell you he was going to pick you or did he kind of leave you wondering? Because Cina said all she wanted was for Jason to tell her flat out that he was going to pick you over her, but he never did. She said he was very secretive about what decision he was going to make. So did you feel that way as well?
Vanessa Ramirez: Yeah, he didn't tell me. He didn't tell me what decision he was going to make. He kind of made us wonder. He left us wondering for sure. He left us on the edge of our seats, Cina and I, so we weren't exactly sure 100% percent on which direction he was going.
Reality TV World: Do you have any insight as to why he might've been so secretive? Do you think it's because he just didn't have his mind made up or maybe he didn't want to tell you girls what he was thinking so you wouldn't have time to make other backup plans?
Vanessa Ramirez: To be honest, I'm not sure. I just came into the picture, you know? And I know he made one comment that we hadn't put our time in yet, the new girls, so I guess he wanted to leave us wondering. He did make a comment that he's sure that I have everything so easy, and so, he wanted to leave me wondering I guess. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Cina had also told me she thought you reminded Jason of his ex-girlfriend because she believed he went for older women and things like that. What's your reaction to that?
Vanessa Ramirez: Oh, I didn't know that! No reaction. He didn't tell me too much about his past relationships -- just that he was single and he was trying to look for something serious -- and I just thought that Cina and him were definitely more of a friendship.
I'm not too sure if she was into him. I know she thought he was an attractive man, but I don't know if she was into him some other way. So, I think they both just felt that right away, so once I came into the picture, he was like, "Yay, somebody new!" (Laughs)
Reality TV World: Why do you think you and Jason clicked and connected so well? What did you see in him that you liked and what do you think you guys had in common?
Vanessa Ramirez: I think we just clicked. First of all, we were both physically attracted to each other, so that started off everything. And then we just had great conversations and we had a lot to talk about.
There was never a dull moment, and he was very caring and giving and very concerned. He kind of made me feel like a princess for the time that we were there, and that's what girls like, you know? So he was making the right moves!
Reality TV World: How disappointed were you when you got eliminated from the show so early on? Were you happy that you at least met someone you liked or, based on how difficult the adventure was, were you a little relieved you wouldn't have to keep going on them and could just pursue a relationship with Jason the normal way at home?
Vanessa Ramirez: No, I was disappointed that I left so early, because I did let my guard down and let Jason in. We were starting on something so great that I wanted it to continue.
And during these adventures and the times there, I think it was the best place because we were spending so much time together and put in these tough situations where your true colors come out. So, I would have loved to continue moving on, so that way, we could continue figuring each other out.
Reality TV World: You were obviously one of the six "surprise girls" who entered the competition late. Did you have hope a guy would end up choosing you over the girls that were already there or did you go into it feeling a little defeated in that you had a lot of catching up to do?
Vanessa Ramirez: I didn't go in feeling defeated. I was confident that I was just going to show my true self and that if a guy liked me, great, and if not, then that wasn't meant to be. So, I didn't feel defeated. I mean, I had high hopes. I definitely did.
Reality TV World: What was that first night like for you when you initially joined your trio? I'm pretty sure you guys were staying in a cabin, so where did you sleep and was that situation between you guys as awkward as it seemed to be for viewers? (Laughs)
Vanessa Ramirez: (Laughs) Well, Jason was a true gentleman. He let Cina and I sleep in the bed and he slept on the floor. So, it was a tad bit awkward just because Cina and Jason already had this connection with each other, so I'm basically sleeping in a room with two strangers. But at least it was kind of comfortable because Cina and I had the bed, so there was no awkwardness between Jason and I.
Reality TV World: When Jason picked you and you saw that Cina was already his partner, what were your initial thoughts? Did you think she looked like she was going to be tough competition or were you not really worried because you were confident in what you were going to bring to the table?
Vanessa Ramirez: Well, I basically kind of knew Jason was going to pick me because we made eye contact when I walked in the room, and I kind of felt like, "Oh, he's going to get me!" And I happened to be right.
But I did think Cina was going to be tough competition because when I first came up to the row, she was like, "Oh, I like competition," and I'm like, "So do I." (Laughs) So, I really thought it was going to be hard, but after we went to our rooms, she seemed to fall back and everything was pretty easy.
Reality TV World: What was your relationship with Cina like specifically? Was she nice to you or a little standoffish towards you? What was that dynamic like? Because I could imagine how strange the whole situation must have been.
Vanessa Ramirez: Yeah, initially when we first were chosen, I thought she was going to be a little rude to me, you know, hard to get along with. But after the ceremony was over, we got along really well. We chatted, we talked, and then she let me have my time with Jason. So, it was nice actually! (Laughs) It wasn't a hard situation.
Reality TV World: How did the girls who were on the show from Day 1 treat you overall? Did you get along with them for the most part of did you really feel disconnected from them? Because obviously the existing girls hid the "surprise" girls towels at one point, and I didn't know if there were other pranks going on as well.
Vanessa Ramirez: In my situation, I didn't have too many problems with the original girls. You could tell they were standoffish and they weren't as open. They weren't welcoming us with open arms, however, I think they knew that Jason and I were already a match. So, I don't think I was a threat to anybody else. So they didn't really give me a hard time.
Reality TV World: Well that's good. So did any other pranks happen or was the towel incident all that occurred?
Vanessa Ramirez: From what I recall, I think the towel thing was just it -- and just the cattiness and the talking behind the other girls' backs and saying rude things. That's pretty much what happened during the rest of the show.
Reality TV World: Why do you think Jason and Cina ultimately didn't make a good match? After you got to know both of them a little better, what did you see missing between the two of them?
Vanessa Ramirez: Well, I will say maybe it had to do with her age. She was a little bit younger, Cina was. And Jason did make a comment that he felt initially, I guess after getting to know her, that she was there for other reasons besides love.
So, I don't know if it was for exposure, to have fun, but he said -- he did make a comment to her -- that, "I really don't know if you're here for the right reasons. You might be here for other reasons."
Reality TV World: I know you were very interested in Jason while you were on the show and barely had time to get to know anyone else, but did you have conversations with any other guys? Did you keep someone in the back of your mind you might've picked at the Couples Choice Ceremony had Jason chose Cina or someone else instead? Did anyone catch your eye?
Vanessa Ramirez: The only other person I think I -- I mean, I talked to everybody. I had a chance to talk to all the other guys, not as much as maybe I should have, but it worked out anyways because Jason and I did pretty well -- but I did think ["Chase" Aaron Chase] was attractive. I did like the way he presented himself. So if things didn't work out between Jason and I, I probably would've went for Chase.
Reality TV World: Ken seemed really confident in the fact Jesse and Tara Locke had slept together. Do you have any idea why Ken felt that way? Was that something Tara had shared with everybody? How do you think Ken came to the point where he felt so certain about that?
Vanessa Ramirez: When we were there, I didn't know that had happened until all of that went down at the ceremony. So, I don't know what happened before the new girls got there, but there definitely was tension between them. So I couldn't help you with that one. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: So it sounds like no one filled you in on the details? You were just kind of observing the argument without knowing what was going on?
Vanessa Ramirez: Yeah, I didn't really have any details on what had happened. It was just said that there was tension between the two. I know Jason had told me that, but I wasn't exactly sure why.
Reality TV World: So since you didn't know the story, what was your reaction when Jesse and Ken went at it during the Couples Choice Ceremony? What was going through your mind when watching that? It seemed pretty intense.
Vanessa Ramirez: Yeah, I was really shocked when all that information came out. First, I initially felt bad for Tara, because you know, to have that information unfold on TV for your family and friends and everybody to see, that's pretty hard.
That's something hard to deal with. And then for the fact Jesse was so nonchalant about the situation, that's definitely not something a girl wants to hear. So, I felt bad for Tara.
Reality TV World: So based upon what your saying, did you take Ken's side in the fight? Did you think Ken was right?
Vanessa Ramirez: Oh yeah, I definitely agreed with Ken, because the things that Jesse was saying, he was pretty rude about it and it didn't seem like he had any respect for Tara at all.
Reality TV World: Was there even more to Ken and Jesse's fight that viewers didn't get to see? Because obviously we see the edited version.
Vanessa Ramirez: I guess, basically, more of the argument came down to where they were telling Jesse he should've left. Because if Jesse did leave, then Jason and I would've had the opportunity to continue on. So a lot of people were very upset with Jesse that he decided to stay and he definitely stayed for the wrong reasons, because he said there was no connection with anybody else there.
So, you know, a couple of the other girls were upset too and they were emotional and crying. I think a lot of it -- I think everybody was just upset with Jesse because he should've left, because that would've given the opportunity for Jason and I to stay.
Reality TV World: Did anyone react really strongly to the argument? Did anyone's reaction surprise you at all?
Vanessa Ramirez: [Jenna Gillund] was very upset and she cried at the ceremony. She said that it wasn't fair that Jason and I were going home, because just like Ken felt, they all saw the connection that we had and they saw what was going on. So, I was kind of shocked. I mean, it made me cry and it made me feel like, "Wow, these people really care for us."
Reality TV World: You and Jason obviously finished the adventure in last place. Viewers saw you find a canister underneath the waterfalls that happened to be missing the map you needed. So could you talk a little bit about what happened there? How long were you looking for that map, and do you think that was solely responsible for your last-place finish or were there other factors as well?
Vanessa Ramirez: Well initially, what happened was, I grabbed the canister and I handed it to Jason. We were in water and we were treading the water, so he put his hands down in the water. So, I guess that's when the map fell out -- when he put his hand in the water with the canister.
So we had no clue that it had fallen out, because we hadn't checked the canister until we were already on our way towards getting back to land. And so, once he realized it was gone, it did take a little while -- I'm not too sure how long -- but we were searching awhile for the map. And finally, it popped up at the very end in the corner, and then we continued on our adventure.
But losing the map for awhile and it falling out of the canister into the water was the factor of putting us in last place. Because other than that, we were doing really well. We worked well together. We were hustling our way around together, and so if it wasn't for that map, we would've not been in last place.
Reality TV World: Has Jason and yourself gone into this week's Couples Choice Ceremony pretty certain you were going home or had you been expecting to survive somehow?
Vanessa Ramirez: I think deep down inside, we both knew we were going home. We were sad. We spent a lot of time together, you know, the day of leading up to the ceremony.
We talked and we were like, "You know, I can't believe this is going to happen. We just started making a connection. Things are going really well between us, and now, we have to go home." So we expected to go home, but we had our fingers crossed for a little bit of a chance that something would happen and we'd end up staying.
Reality TV World: Do you have any regrets from being on the show? Do you wish you had done or said anything differently?
Vanessa Ramirez: No. In the end, it was an amazing experience. I went there to try something new, to open my heart and let my guard down, and to meet new people, and to make my father proud. So in the end, I accomplished all of those things, so it was a success and I have no regrets.
To read Cina's interview, click here. Check back with Reality TV World soon for our interview with Jason.
(Photo credit NBC)
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