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HOME > The Bachelorette > The Bachelorette 5

Jillian Harris dishes about her upcoming 'The Bachelorette' journey


By Christopher Rocchio, 05/13/2009 

Jillian Harris is unsure if her The Bachelorette journey will have a happy ending because the final chapter has yet to be written.

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While The Bachelorette's fifth season will premiere on Monday, ABC has yet to wrap production on the reality dating series, which is why Harris had to remain mostly tight-lipped during a Tuesday conference call with reporters.

"I can't tell you whether it would end in marriage.  But all of the people that I have left are remarkable people and I have not met anybody like these guys," said Harris.

"It's so difficult to know how to choose the right person in the end. And as you know I have not chosen that person yet, so I'm still struggling with that decision."

Despite not knowing the ending, Harris was able to shed some light on the suitors vying for her affection.

"They're all very different," she said.  "And they all make me feel differently, but I can tell you that they are wonderful guys, and I think I've made some really, really great choices."

Harris added she hopes to find a guy who can handle her quirkiness.

"I need somebody who embraces it and who finds humor in it. And who also has a little, yes, some humor and some of their own quirky characteristics for sure. I definitely don't want perfection I'm not looking for perfection," she told reporters.

"It's really scary, but like I said before, the possibility of me finding somebody and this whole experience. Just all the guys that I've met and the places I've traveled and the feelings that I've had, make it worth it."

In addition, Harris said she has no problem with none of her suitors being a fellow Canadian.

"I didn't know there was not going to be any. But when they all came out the first night, it was one of the first things that I thought. And then I sort of thought to myself, 'Okay what if there were three or four Canadian guys. What are the chances that one of those guys would be the one that I choose?'" she explained to reporters.

"When I put it into perspective and I sort of thought, 'I am a Canadian. I am a very proud Canadian.' But I've learned a lot that there's not a huge difference between American guys and Canadian guy so I'm okay with that."

Harris finished third on The Bachelor's thirteenth edition last fall when she was rejected by Jason Mesnick during the penultimate Rose Ceremony.  Mesnick subsequently selected Melissa Rycroft over Molly Malaney during the show's finale only to later decide to dump Rycroft on-air for a second chance with Malaney.

Harris told reporters she sees the irony in being ABC's third choice to star in the upcoming edition of The Bachelorette, behind Rycroft and Malaney.

"I was a third choice on last season. I know what that feels like.  I'm comfortable with that," she told reporters. "Obviously there's going to be other people that are considered for this role."

Harris said she feels as if she doesn't "fit the mold of The Bachelorette very well" and was "very surprised" to be asked.

"So no, it doesn't come as a surprise to me that they would have asked Melissa and Molly. They're both very beautiful, talented, outgoing, personable girls," she said.

"And just also me being placed third on The Bachelor sort of naturally places either one of them as the natural choice. So I mean no it doesn't make me feel like I'm third. It makes me feel really happy that they declined."

Harris said after she was approached by ABC, she initially decided to sign-on out of "temptation."

"It's just curiosity... I just had no idea that I would even have the opportunity," she told reporters.

"But once you get that little ticket and somebody says, 'Do you want to give this a try?' I always thought well I'm still single, and last season was definitely hard. But I learned a lot about myself and what's the harm in giving it a shot."

In addition, Harris assured viewers that she's "not here to date and mess around with 30 guys."

"I'm here to hopefully find the person I'm going to spend the rest of my life with. And that is a very very serious thing for me," she explained.

Harris said she's aware of the criticism that Mesnick received for his decision to ditch Rycroft for Malaney and added she's willing to receive the same treatment if it means she eventually finds the man of her dreams.

"If I have to go through the same criticism that Jason went through, and maybe even make the same bad decisions -- I hope that I don't -- but I'm here to find that person and I'm really serious and very passionate about it," she said.

"So to be in the public eye for a couple of months in order to find a lifelong happiness for me is totally worth it."

The Bachelorette's fifth season will begin in traditional fashion -- with Harris' suitors arriving at an all-night cocktail party, which by the end of she'll be required to cut 10 of the guys.

However instead of starting with the standard 25 suitors, Harris will be the first in the reality dating franchise's history to have 30.

"I was overwhelmed when there was 25 guys and when the extra five came out," she told reporters. "I was very overwhelmed and I didn't know how to react. You're spreading yourself thin if you've got one night to try to connect with 30 suitors. And remember all their names and where they're from and what they do for a living. It's very hard."

Due to the additional suitors, Harris said she felt "exhausted" by the end of the cocktail party.

"I don't even want say by the end of the night because it was pretty much morning by the time you're done that evening," she explained.

"The guys were all great, my problem is this isn't Mr. Congeniality -- it's who is going to be best with quirky, short, Canadian Jill.  And so it was difficult for me to disappoint them but I've felt very confident in my decisions at every Rose Ceremony."

Still, Harris admitted those Rose Ceremony eliminations have been "way harder" than she initially anticipated.

"I have all these different things going through my mind," she explained.

"Do I pick the guy who has everything I want on paper? Do I pick the guy who makes me laugh and would be my best friend? Do I pick the guy who makes my heart go pitter patter? Do I pick the guy that everybody else likes?  Do I pick the guy I know America is going to love but not me?"

With so much running through her mind, Harris said she's tried to put the experience into perspective by imagining if she could see herself with the suitors if she met them on the street or in a bar instead of on The Bachelorette.

"I think that's what I keep on trying to think of," she said.  "It's hard to put yourself in that state of mind when you're in this beautiful tropical fairy tale paradise. But that's what I keep on telling myself."

Since her The Bachelorette journey still doesn't have an ending, Harris said she's even considered following in the footsteps of former The Bachelor star Brad Womack and not selecting a final suitor.

"Yes that's something I've been thinking about a lot," she said. "There's nobody saying that I have to get engaged."

Harris said she learned quite a bit from her stint on The Bachelor -- including to "be open and vulnerable and to be myself" -- which has come in handy during her time as The Bachelorette star.

"I think I was so afraid to show emotion and I was so afraid to be vulnerable, that I may have sold myself short, and in this season, I'm definitely not doing that," she told reporters.

In addition, Harris said she's finding herself more now that the tables have turned and she's the one dispensing the roses.

"I think I'm even realizing more who I am and what sort of qualities I have to give and what qualities I'm looking for. I get to make those calls. And I get to make those shots," she explained."

"I feel like I've been really open and really honest and sometimes too honest. And I've really encouraged the guys to do the same thing... So I think that's what I love about doing it this time is that I'm writing the story. And I think it's a lot of fun."

As she continues on her own quest for love, Harris was asked about her previous relationship with Mesnick -- including if the two were intimate during their "Fantasy Suite Date" that immediately preceded her elimination.

"I'm normally really a really open girl about all these kind of things. But I mean it's one of those things, that anybody can assume that I had a steamy make-out session with Jason and I went in the hot tub. That him and I quote unquote 'did it.' And we can also assume that every Bachelor and Bachelorette in history has done it with those people," she told reporters.

"Even if I had or hadn't I don't think that's a topic that I would even want to talk about."

Harris said her mom was even asked the same question about the intimacy involved during the date, which she found to be "inappropriate."

"I think being a 30-year-old grown woman who is very successful in her career and has a great background and great morals and great values -- people can take a look at me and who I am as a person. And they're entitled to their opinion," she said.

"I could say right now I did not sleep with him just to make myself look better. But I don't want to do that because I don't want for people to feel entitled for them to know that information."

In addition to calling Mesnick a "really great guy," Harris said he actually played a role in aiding her decision to be The Bachelorette star.

"Jason actually was helping me quite a bit make up my mind to do this. He is somebody that I talked to and he really supported me and Melissa supported me. And all the other girls supported me," she told reporters.

However Harris added her decision to be on the show meant that Mesnick had to leave her life for the time being.

"When I realized okay I'm making the decision to find somebody new, I had to sort of cut off my relationship with Jason," she said.  "But it's temporary, and I will definitely be friends with him after all this is over."

Harris also took the somewhat unpopular viewpoint of stating she's happy for Mesnick and Malaney.

"Right now they're still together and they're still happy," she said. "So hopefully they'll prove everybody wrong."

Harris added she would have no problem attending their eventual wedding should it actually occur -- under one condition.

"I can't imagine me showing up to their wedding solo. I would go if I find what I'm looking for, I would go and I don't know why that makes a difference but I'm just being honest, that's how I feel," she said. "I would have a hard time showing up solo but if I find someone I'll go."

Due to her busy schedule, Harris said she's had no time to watch Rycroft as she competes on Dancing with the Stars currently airing eighth season.

"I've turned a TV on maybe once since I started all of this," she explained.

"But I have been keeping my eye on her and I've been asking a lot. And I know that she is in the semifinals. And I miss her so much, I cannot wait to see her after all this is over. So I'm so proud of her, I can't wait to see her and I know she's doing well."

While Harris said Dancing with the Stars isn't in her own future, she added that a gig hosting a reality show focused on interior design wouldn't be so bad.

"I love my job that I have right now. I do restaurant design and I love everything to do with my job. But would I do would I take on a reality show that had to do with interior design?  I think that would be another incredible opportunity and I would love," she said.  "I think that I would love to do something like that."

However Harris was also quick to point out she's "not here to find a career in the TV industry."

"I would be more than thrilled to go back to my regular life and do my restaurant design and work nine to five," she said. "But I'm pretty open to all those possibilities for sure."

(Photo credit ABC)


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