Rejected 'Bachelor' suitor Amber Alchalabi "loves" teaching, not Andy
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/11/2007
Amber Alchalabi may have been rejected by U.S. Navy Lieutenant Andy Baldwin during Monday night's episode of The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman, but apparently, she didn't have as strong of feelings for him as the other three remaining bachelorettes anyway.
"I wasn't in love, but I definitely was falling for him. I mean, the whole time on the show I was liking him more," Alchalabi told the Houston Chronicle. "When [the show] came to my hometown, it was like, 'This is real.' He was in Sugar Land, Texas. At my apartment. At my work. Meeting my boss and my kids... It made my feelings for him grow that much more."
While her interest may have been growing, Baldwin's was waning, as he decided not to offer the 23-year-old fourth-grade teacher a rose, commenting it was because she's "quite a bit younger" than he is and adding "I think that we're in different places in our lives."
"I'm just saddened how this whole situation has turned out, it's sad, very unfortunate," Alchalabi said in an interview with ABC's Houston affiliate, KTRK-TV. "[The producers] tried to pull what they thought would make [my roommate and I] look young and immature and sorority-like which is sad because we're not like that at all."
The reason why Baldwin met Alchalabi's roommate on his visit to her hometown -- and not her parents -- is because they apparently didn't approve of their daughter using The Bachelor as a way to find love.
"[My parents] said going on television was not the right way to meet a guy," Alchalabi told the Chronicle. "I thought, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you never know if you don't take chances, so I went ahead and did it."
Like Stephanie Wilhite and Peyton Wright -- who were also both sent packing by Baldwin -- Alchalabi said she was introduced to the 30-year-old undersea medical officer stationed in Pearl Harbor, HI after watching The Bachelor: Rome's finale last fall.
"I was watching last season's finale, and they showed clips of Andy. I went straight to the computer and applied online. I submitted one sentence and a picture, and the next day they called for an interview," she told KTRK-TV. "I wrote that I've tried so many ways of dating, Internet dating, blind dates, and thought, what the heck, I might as well try this way."
Alchalabi made it pretty far during her run on The Bachelor's tenth installment, going on a multiple one-on-one dates with Baldwin and impressing him with her love of children. Upon being eliminated, she commented she didn't understand her ousting since there was an "amazing connection" between herself and Baldwin. But as the old saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.
"Watching the episode, I have more of an idea why [I didn't receive a rose]," she told the Chronicle. "But when it was just Andy and I, he made me feel and I felt... [like] I'm going to go really far in this. There would be little comments he'd say, like he couldn't wait for his mom to meet me, and how much his sister adored me, little things that led me to believe I would be there for a while."
Somewhat ironically, while it was Alchalabi's nurturing nature as a teacher that kept her around on The Bachelor, it was her extended stint on the reality dating competition series that got her in hot water at Colony Bend Elementary School, which is where she teaches.
Colony Bend principal Tammie Carpenter was reassigned and demoted from her position for allowing Alchalabi a 22-school day absence to compete on The Bachelor. While she initially resigned rather than face the punishment from the Fort Bend Independent School District, Carpenter recently tried to be reinstated before changing her mind and withdrawing her request. The district claims it didn't know of Alchalabi's The Bachelor participation until producers called to film a portion of her hometown visit in her classroom, however Alchalabi alleges she had been entering her expected time off into district computers the whole time.
"By myself logging onto the computer that the [human resources] would say, 'Wait a minute, this person has been gone for so and so days, maybe we should take care of it,'" she told KTRK-TV. While Alchalabi said she "was not reprimanded" by Fort Bend, the same cannot be said for Carpenter.
"I feel very guilty for what happened to Tammie because I feel like it is my fault, if I hadn't of gone on the show, none of this would have happened," she told KTRK-TV.
While a lot was made of her absence -- she claims her students treated her like Ms. Alchalabi when she returned -- not a reality television star.
"It's funny, because they're fourth-graders and even though there was a camera crew, Andy and producers, my kids never mentioned it one time when I came back," she told the Chronicle. "That's how these kids are; it was like it never happened. I pretended I was never gone and that was that."
Alchalabi added she can only hope her job is secure for the fall.
"I love my job, and that's why I wanted Andy to see it. It means so much to me," she told the Chronicle. "Hopefully, everyone will be smart about it and make the right decision."
Calling Baldwin's final rose presentation during The Bachelor's May 21 finale a "tossup" between Bevin Powers, a 28-year-old clinic research coordinator who currently resides in Palo Alto, CA, and Tessa Horst, a 26-year-old social worker who currently resides in San Francisco, CA, Alchalabi said there are no hard feeling between herself and Baldwin.
"I do care because he was a nice guy. We all went there for the right reasons, to find a true love. So I do hope he does find his," she told the Chronicle