Interview: Megan Parris talks about her time on 'The Bachelor'
By John Bracchitta, 01/29/2009
Megan Parris says she led a low-key life the last couple of years, but the 25-year-old lacrosse coach and single mom from Sewickley, PA, sure brought the fireworks upon arriving at The Bachelor house.
However, after surviving a first-night twist that could have resulted in her potential elimination, she wasn't as fortunate at a later Rose Ceremony twist that saw The Bachelor star Jason Mesnick hold back his final rose and unexpectedly eliminate four suitors -- one of whom was Megan -- during Monday night's broadcast of the ABC reality dating series.
During a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Megan talked to Reality TV World about why she feels she got off on the wrong foot with many of her fellow bachelorettes at the show's initial cocktail ceremony, what she was surprised to not get a rose, and what she deemed as her single "dorkiest" moment with Jason while on the show.
Reality TV World: Prior to the Rose Ceremony on Monday's episode, you expressed concern that you had not gotten enough alone time with Jason. Were you concerned at that point that you may not be receiving a rose?
Megan: I was concerned. And actually -- this is something that we didn't see [on the episode] -- it was a very good conversation between Jason and I.
I was actually the last girl to speak with him right before the Rose Ceremony, and we only got to see one minute of it [on the episode] but I expressed to him that I was starting to be stressed out and wasn't as secure as the other girls as far as it goes with my position in the house. And he said "I'm so glad you're here, you're such a positive energy in the house." And I said "You know, that first day at the pool party when you pulled me aside and said 'Megan, I want you here. You would've gotten a rose anyway," I really appreciate that Jason."
And he said "Well I want you to know that I still mean that, I still want you here. Don't be afraid that you haven't gotten to know me yet, there's still plenty of time. I was one of the guys who got to know [DeAnna Pappas on The Bachelorette] last." He reassured me and said "I was just like you, I got to know the guys first and wanted to have fun with the guys, and then get to know [DeAnna], so I respect that you wanna get along with the girls in the house and that's fine, but just know that there's plenty more time for us to get to know each other."
Reality TV World: Okay, so that conversation lift your spirits then? Because you said how much you didn't want to leave after you didn't receive the rose...
Megan: Right, and that's also why I said upon my exit that I was extremely confused, because I had just spoken to him and he had basically reassured me of my spot there. He said "Don't worry, there's still plenty of time," and he asked what he could potentially see coming on my hometown date to my great little town of Sewickley, PA and Pittsburgh and we talked all about that. So he kind of set me up for thinking that was coming.
Reality TV World: Going back to the first episode, based on your reaction after the results of that first twist vote, it seemed like you were pretty surprised that you received the highest number of votes from the other bachelorettes, is that accurate?
Megan: Yeah, I guess that was pretty accurate. Like I said before, that [took place] at about six in the morning so it was way past my bedtime. I think along with just being stressed and tired and not even wanting to be there that late I was just dismayed, it was hurtful. I mean rejection is always hurtful among people that you think you are having a good time with. So I think, yeah, that's a pretty natural response.
Reality TV World: And you kind of said how you hadn't been [in many social situations since your son was born] and how it was odd being back out in that kind of situation, were there any specific things that you thought rubbed people the wrong way?
Megan: I think that I just really had my guard up that first night. Just because of what I've been through in the last two years with my son's father and his surrounding company, I have a bit of an edge about me with strangers now. I think that we really got to see that the first night. I think it was nothing more than a defense mechanism and I think that whether or not, I wanted more than anything to have fun with these girls, that it wasn't very easy for me to open up that first night. I was just really skeptical of the whole process.
Reality TV World: Jason has seemed to make it pretty clear that, being a single dad, he wanted to find a someone who was going to be able to relocate to Seattle because his son [and his son's mother are] there - given you're a single [parent] too, would there [have been] any custody or visitation issues that would have complicated relocating for you?
Megan: I actually have full physical and full legal custody of my son. His father has no visitation rights. Funny enough, I was actually just weeks fresh off of my custody battle before I went to L.A. to do this. It was all very last minute for me. I flew from the finalist weekend to Virginia Beach for the custody battle court case. So no, there would be no issues as far as where I can go and where I can't go.
I did, however, express to Jason that I have commitment issues, which was probably pretty stupid of me to say -- and I dubbed myself "the runaway bride," which is a bit extreme. I was engaged to my son's father but backed out before my son was even born. But I definitely let [Jason] know that I'm an independent person and that I was Deacon's only parent and that I was fine with that.
Reality TV World: The show made it seem like you voted for [Melissa, a 25-year-old sales representative from Dallas, TX, to be eliminated on the first night], is that true?
Megan: I did, because she's so cute and she's so fun! She was in my limo and I thought "Wow, this girl and I have a lot in common. I mean, I love her, and I [was] thinking "You know what, she's probably my biggest competition." So that's how I voted, and she knows that and I think it's nothing but a compliment to her because she's just such a fantastic girl. She's so sweet and grounded and she's got a lot going for her. So yeah, I did vote for Melissa and I was very open and honest about that. But like I said, it really shouldn't be taken as anything but a compliment.
Reality TV World: Going back to the first episode [again], did you ever think that there may be a second twist that would keep the person who [the bachelorettes] voted for in the competition instead of kicking them out?
Megan: No! That's why I was so relieved! (Laughs) I did not know, I was shocked when they said that they were gonna do that, and then I was so surprised. I think my face [looked as surprised as it was] because I was going home so soon. I was dead set and prepared to be out there [at the house] for the full six weeks and had no idea that I would have literally gotten there, met him and then gone home that night. So that's where my surprise came from.
Reality TV World: [Moving on to your scene with Jason the General Hospital set]. You said it was the first time [you ever kissed Jason] -- how much pressure did that add to everything else in [performing] that scene?
Megan: It added a lot of pressure because it was just awkward. I mean, I don't know it was odd. And he even said to me when we were in the hair and makeup room, he came up to me in the hallway and said "Hey, do you wanna practice our scene?" and I was like "No" and ran away! (Laughs) I mean it was kind of my dorkiest moment there. I was too scared to kiss him.
Reality TV World: At one point during the after party, you said that you were becoming frustrated with the girls who were complaining and said that they should "Man up," could you be a little more specific about what had been frustrated you?
Megan: Oh, I would love to talk about this. That was really taken out of context, because that night more so than ever I was the cheerleader of the bunch. I spent [between] 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half in the bathroom with [Naomi, a 24-year-old flight attendant from Carlsbad, CA] just holding her while she cried. And Naomi's a tough girl, she's not a crybaby, but she was upset and I understand that.
It's absolutely nothing against her because they all did the same for me, but I spent like an hour in the bathroom with [her] just crying, and I held her hand and prayed with her and just tried to help her get through the night because she was really having a rough night. Melissa [had] the same thing, she was just having a bad night, and it was the same thing with her. We looked across the city at that rooftop bar and I just held her hand and let her cry and we talked.
I was really just trying to pep everybody up all night and try to let everybody have fun because it was such a great experience. It was such beautiful scenery. That whole night was just awesome. I just wished that they would've wanted to embrace that moment instead of be upset. But I totally understand why they were upset.
Reality TV World: So, that being said, how did you feel when Naomi, who was complaining but you said you have been talking with, received the rose to stay?
Megan: I felt fine because it made her happy. It made her feel relieved and that's all she needed. I mean, given [that] I really wanted the rose that night because I thought at any point in that whole process that I would've gotten a rose on a date that it would've been that date, just because -- and they didn't show [the one-on-one time with me and Jason at the General Hospital set] -- but we discussed how he was thankful that I was finally starting to feel comfortable and I was finally starting to come out of my shell and that he was finally able to see that.
I was happy for [Naomi], I really wanted it and I thought I was gonna get it because he was totally happy with me that day and I was the only one that didn't cry that night, during our conversation at the rooftop bar and on the General Hospital set, so I thought i had a chance to get it. But when Naomi got it she was so happy, so that was worth it.
Reality TV World: Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with [Erica, a 25-year-old account executive from Monroe, CT]? On the show it didn't seem like you two really got along, is that accurate?
Megan: No, not at all, we're like BFF's. She's awesome, she probably gave me the hardest time the first night, but seriously the next day she was like "I totally had the wrong impression of you, I adore you," and I had that same conversation with most of the girls. A lot of them didn't even realize that first night that I was a mother.
The next morning a lot of them came into my bedroom and said "We had no idea you had a son!" because I literally looked at his photos 10 times a day. So the girls were really supportive about that, they were very forgiving about the first night and just so gracious. And Erica was one of them, she was just like "You know what, you're awesome." And so she and I are two strong-headed, well bull-headed maybe, women so I don't think we have a problem talking to each other about it, we go about it different ways. But I love Erica to death, I can't wait to see her.
Also in the call, Megan talked about what, if any, true connection she felt with Jason while she was on the show, if she would be interested in starring in The Bachelorette, and why she felt that single mothers were actually at a disadvantage in the competiton to win Jason's heart.
Do you really think you made a connection with Jason?
Megan: I do not think I made a connection with Jason. I think I made a much bigger connection with the fellow women on the show. I don't think I had a connection with him. I think he made an initial connection with a few of the girls right off the bat, and then when he saw emotions were running high he basically stuck to what he knew. He and I didn't get too much time together, so no, I didn't feel too much of a connection.
If you could do it over again would you change anything?
Megan: Um yes! (Laughs) The first night was horrible for me. I think what people don't realize is that I've spent basically the past two years in solitude. I left my home [for the last eight years in] Virginia Beach and came to Pittsburgh where my parents still had a house. My father worked out of [Washington D.C.], my mother worked out of Charlotte, NC so I'm here by myself with an infant baby and I knew no one. So I felt [when I was] going on the show [that I was] socially inept. I had basically not been social for almost two years, during the pregnancy and after the pregnancy.
So the first night was so rough for me and I think I was just so nervous, and they keep handing me cocktails, and I don't go out much anymore [so] I don't have too much of a tolerance for alcohol, so the first night for me was definitely something that I'd do over again. I would go into it with much more confidence and just security in knowing that my son was okay and not missing him so much. So that's one thing I definitely would change. Anything else, no I would not because I had such a great experience.
Megan: I really would like some type of career in broadcast, but I feel like -- and I would like to have the experiences that come along with being The Bachelorette -- I don't think I could do that. I would feel kind of like, um, a ho (laughs). For lack of a better word, sorry...
What did you like the least about Jason?
Megan: I couldn't read him. I felt like every conversation he had with all of us was kind of the same. So I couldn't really, I don't know I really can't put my finger on it but I just feel that as far as the conversations go he was not giving that much. And watching it, and in hindsight, he really wasn't giving much for anybody. I didn't like that all the conversations were basically the same.
Did you think it was obvious who Jason had a connection with and who he didn't?
Megan: I thought that it was very obvious from the beginning whom he had a connection with, and now in hindsight, it's the most outgoing girls. The girls who are just able to open up right away with something, and that's something that's not easy for me.
And [Jillian, a 29-year-old interior designer from Peace River, Alberta, Canada], I mean look at her! She's the funnest thing in the world, she's so fun and she's so cute and spunky, and she could probably meet anyone and just talk their head off for an hour, and that's such a great quality about her. So I knew right way that he had a connection with Jillian, and I knew right away, after his date with [Molly, a 24-year-old department store buyer from Grand Rapids, MI], that he had a connection with her because I think he really takes to women who are forward.
Do you think single mothers like [Stephanie, a 34-year-old medical marketing representative and single mom from Huntsville, AL] and yourself had an advantage?
Megan: I actually still have the mindset that the single mothers on the show are at a disadvantage, just because psychologically and emotionally for the child it's a lot to do to them. All the mothers on the show, and Jason, love our children more than anything and I know that for all of us it would be very difficult to just kind of have that immediate, like "Oh, we're moving in, we'll automatically be a family." It's just a lot more baggage, I think, in general.
So I don't think [Stephanie] would have an advantage. I think her personality, her loving and compassionate and caring personality certainly is an advantage over any other women. But I don't think that [the fact] that she's a mom is, because I think that even before she had a child she was just a nurturing soul.
How do you feel about Jason now?
I'm kind of impartial. I will say that after that happened, I really began to question the whole process and the genuity of it... [and] how real it was. I really began to question whether he was really there for love or um, something else.
What would "something else" be?
I'm not quite sure, like I said, I didn't really get to know him. I'm sure he's a great guy. He's very nice, very considerate of everyone's feelings.... and that was something that was so key in being attracted to him, [how] considerate of others [he was]. But I did feel led on and I didn't understand what he would have had to gain by saying 'I want you here, we have plenty of time to get to know each other' [right before the Rose Ceremony] and then sending me [at the Rose Ceremony]. I'm still kind of confused. I mean it's not a worry of mine because I feel he would have made a better fit with some of the other girls instead of myself, but -- it just made me question the process.
How did you feel about the way you were portrayed, do you think you were [edited] fairly?
No, I mean going into it we know that it's TV -- and reality or not, TV is TV. So no, any intelligent person knows that you're all going to be typecast as one type of character. I mean they got good and bad footage of all of us. They got "happy," "emotional" and "angry" footage from all of us but they're only gonna use one type that footage for each girl, like Nikki is "the crying girl," which isn't accurate. So no, I don't feel like I was portrayed accurately at all... it's not accurate to who I am but I just hope people realize that the circumstances are not real and it's not what you see.
Megan: My [lacrosse] players, some that had already graduated, made the video for me and really got it in way after the deadline. It's not that I wanted to go [on the show], it's just that I thought it would be an opportunity I can't pass up. They made [the tape], they did a great job. They're just the sweetest girls in the world.
Do you plan to keep in touch with the other bachelorettes?
Oh my god, yes, absolutely. As far as the girls that moved into the house [after the first Rose Ceremony], I can not say enough good things about them, it was just a phenomenal group. I know that we're going to plan a vacation at least twice a year and I just absolutely adore every single one of them.