However, after going on one-on-one overnight fantasy dates with each of his three final bachelorettes, Brad came to believe that their individual lives were unlikely to mesh together well given Ashley's personal and career goals -- resulting in the elimination of the 26-year-old dental student from Philadelphia, PA during Monday's broadcast of the ABC reality dating show.
During a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Ashley talked to Reality TV World about whether she would be interested in serving as the star of the next season of The Bachelorette as rumored and how the role would impact her schooling and career plans, which the future dentist calls "the No. 1 thing" in her life.
Reality TV World: Would you consider being the next Bachelorette if given the opportunity, or if not, participating in the second season of Bachelor Pad?
Ashley Hebert: Oh gosh. Um, yeah. I don't think I would be as happy about Bachelor Pad (laughs) but if they asked me to do The Bachelorette, I would definitely consider it. I feel like the process worked for me once and I would be so excited to do it, but Bachelor Pad, I'd have to really think about it.
Reality TV World: If you were to be the next star of The Bachelorette, how do you think that would affect your plans to pursue dentistry and what is to happen in the near future for you in terms of your schooling and career?
Ashley Hebert: That's a great question. I think that if I did decide to do it, there would have to be a compromise in my education. I'm planning on graduating in a couple months. So, ultimately, I'd probably have to weigh the pros and cons and I would be taking a little bit of time off from school, but in the end, I will be graduating and getting a job, so dentistry is the No. 1 thing in my life right now. I will never fare away from that.
Also in the call, Ashley talked about why she would make a better The Bachelorette star than the season's other ousted bachelorettes, whether seeing Brad's "final two" comments air made her feel better or worse about her elimination, if she thinks Chantal O'Brien or Emily Maynard is the better match for Brad, why she was so shocked to be eliminated given her date had gone so poorly, and whether she believes having the last one-on-one overnight date with Brad played a role in his decision.
What did you learn from The Bachelor process and why do you think things fell apart between you and Brad in the end?
Ashley Hebert: I feel like I am ready to settle down and I am ready to enjoy the finer things in life, but I really think it was a lack of communication. I have to admit that throughout the whole process, I went into it not really expecting to feel as strong as I did and I think I guarded myself. So, I definitely learned a lot from that and hopefully I can move forward and not make that mistake again.
Brad said from the beginning that you were going to be in the final two. Did that make you feel better or worse seeing that?
Ashley Hebert: It absolutely made me feel worse. When I left, the one question I had was, 'Will he regret it or is this something he thought twice about or is he really confident?' To hear him say that he thought from the beginning that I was going to be one of the final two people, it confirmed what we had in my mind and made it harder to live with the regret of being so closed off. It was definitely a lot harder to hear that.
Once you got to know Brad, did you ever think that the fact that you two are in very different places in your life would affect you getting the final rose?
Ashley Hebert: It's really funny because a lot of people think that we were at very different places, but in my mind, we were actually right at the same side. I think he thought my career would just be the beginning, and for me, the hard part -- which was school coming to a close -- so I think that I never really thought of us being in different parts, different points in our life. I thought we were right on track, so in my mind, I'll never quite agree with that. I think we just wanted different things out of life.
Ashley Hebert: It changes; It changes from week to week. I thought Chantal until the last episode, and now I'm a little bit more apt to say that he's falling in love with Emily. So, in terms of what I think Brad wants out of life and in a relationship, I think Emily's probably a better match.
But I love him and Chantal together. I love the way -- they complement each other well -- they kind of have this playfulness that I really like to see, so I guess it changes from week to week.
Do you think he's really ready to get married now?
Ashley Hebert: Oh, absolutely! He made that very clear from the beginning. I think he came into it knowing what he wanted and he was looking for a wife and I think that he probably found it and I'm really happy that he did.
You kept reiterating that you were very shocked Brad was eliminating you after the conversation you had before the Rose Ceremony. Why were you so shocked? Did you think you had a better connection with him than the other two or were you just shocked about the whole process and the way he came about letting you go?
Ashley Hebert: I'm actually really glad that you asked this question, because it's a misconception for people that are watching. When I said I was really surprised, it wasn't that I was surprised I was leaving because I knew I was leaving, I was surprised that from start to end that it came to this -- that it came to our relationship just falling apart. So, I'm really glad that you asked that question. Hopefully I cleared that up a little.
Do you think him sending you home was because he was in love with someone else?
Was it the fact that he was looking for ways to get rid of the other girls?
Ashley Hebert: I actually really do feel that Brad went through it the first time and he got a little bit of -- people gave him a hard time for dragging girls along -- and I think that once he made the decision in his mind, he wasn't going to try to string me along.
That night at dinner, it was very clear that he had a lot of questions and he wasn't trying to pretend that everything was okay when it wasn't. So, I think he fell in love with somebody else. I clearly see it with Emily, like I said before, so I definitely think that he fell in love with someone else and didn't want to string me along and I completely respect that.
If Brad and whoever he chooses doesn't work out, would you get back in there and give your relationship another shot?
Ashley Hebert: Oh, that's really funny. I think watching the show, I've come to realize that we are very different people and I think that ultimately, we both want very different things out of life. So, I don't know if I would ever -- I don't know, that's a tough question -- it's so hypothetical. I don't know if I'd ever consider dating him again, but who knows.
It seemed like you were basically over your nervousness and over Brad when you were in South Africa. Is that accurate?
Ashley Hebert: Absolutely. Wait, over in a sense that I was more comfortable?
You seemed like you were kind of over Brad.
Ashley Hebert: It's really funny that you say that, because I actually felt the opposite. I was more comfortable with our relationship and with him in South Africa just because of the hometown date. The hometown date went so well, that after that point I said to myself, 'I think this is really it for us.'
Then when I got to South Africa and things started to really fall apart, I just -- It was like right when I got a grasp of everything and started feeling really secure and confident -- everything just fell apart. So, I actually felt really good in South Africa until dinner!
What would set you apart from the other girls who are in the running to become the next Bachelorette?
Ashley Hebert: Gosh, that's a great question. I'm not sure. Well, what I can say is, I do think that maybe you guys won't agree from watching the show, but despite what I think most people think, I'm actually a really confident secure person and I think I do have a lot to offer. So, I think that -- That's a really tough question -- I don't want to toot my own horn, but I think I'm a pretty fun girl to be around.
I get along really well with people. I know I've learned so much from the show. I feel like the show really primed me to start dating again, so that's something I'm really excited about. So, if they do want me to do it, I think I would have a really good time with it and I think that they would be really happy with the end result.
If your date had come before Emily's date in South Africa, do you think that things might have gone a little differently?
Ashley Hebert: I actually do. I think that since I was directly after Emily, he was done for. I think he fell for her; He knew what was going to happen, and I think that part of the downfall of that date had to do with him falling in love with her directly right before.
So, I do think it played a role but then again, I think that he had stronger feelings for both Chantal and Emily stronger than what he felt for me. So, I don't know if it would have changed the end result, but I certainly think that the quality of our date would have been a little bit better.
Do you think Brad is a little bit of a hypocrite because he's telling you girls that it's a two way street, but the second you voiced you were a bit hesitant about moving to Austin, TX, he seemed to shut down and not interested in continuing the conversation anymore?
Ashley Hebert: You know what's really funny, I would have been happy to move to Austin. That's not even a compromise for me. It's just, if I were to tell you very honestly what I felt, I think that him kind of coming down on me that night had nothing to do with me moving to Austin.
I think he just really felt strongly for someone else and he wanted to highlight all the reasons why we wouldn't work out as a way to kind of not leave me out. He was very honest on how he feels. So, I would have moved to Austin! Austin's a great city! No qualms there.
What qualities are you looking for in a husband?
Ashley Hebert: Oh gosh, as I've gotten older, I feel like it's changed. I used to want a hot ticket -- someone that's really confident and successful -- but now I can honestly say the only requirement I have is just a good person.
I know that sounds really cliche, but somebody that's made this grand gesture that shows great character -- sacrificing something -- I just want a good man to share my life with. That's it, and it really wouldn't hurt if he was easy on the eyes. I need somebody who will be able to kind of keep up with me, right? Those are my three requirements.
How were you able to participate in The Bachelor while being a fourth-year dental student?
Ashley Hebert: Luckily, I had a lot of support from the school that I attend and I just took some time off. When I got back, I've been there double time just making up for all the time that I lost. But yeah, I was supported really well, so I just took some time off from school.
If Brad had offered you a rose that night, would you have accepted it and do you think you could have gotten your relationship back on track?
Ashley Hebert: Oh gosh, what a great question. I think at that point, I had a lot of questions about our relationship as well. Looking back, if I were to go back knowing what I know now, I would have certainly accepted it. But in that point in time, I had so many questions, I don't know if I wouldn't have accepted it, but I think we would have had to have a very good conversation before I would have accepted it.
You said you and Brad wanted different things out of life, but you actually were at similar points in your lives. Could you explain a little more about what you meant, especially since you said you were ready to settle down and move to Austin?
Ashley Hebert: Yeah, I think that Brad was looking for somebody, and I say this in the most respectful way, I think Brad was looking for somebody to fit into his life in Austin, and kind of not skip a beat. So for me, I think I'm looking for somebody to create a life with. I'm not looking for anyone to fit into my life.
I want to start a new life with somebody, and I want them to be open and open to trying a new location and -- I think I'm looking for -- I'm still young and looking for a little bit of excitement, and I think for him, he's been through everything that I've been through and he wants to settle into his life and I want to settle up into mine.
You said you thought Chantal was going to win Brad's heart up until the last episode, so what was it that happened that made you change your mind?
Ashley Hebert: It wasn't really about Emily. It was more about Brad's reaction to Emily. I think that once she -- watching the last episode -- seeing how she opened up and said she was falling in love with him, and his reaction and knowing what I know of him, he just totally fell in love.
And I do think that he fell in love with her at that point. I think he was falling in love with her, but her confirming it for him, just made him fall harder.
You were the girl to hold out on saying "I love you" and so do you regret not saying it and do you feel like you were falling in love with him or were actually in love with him?
Ashley Hebert: Yeah, I'll tell you this one. When I was there, I personally didn't feel like I was ready to say, 'I love you.' I think love means so many different things to so many different people and in that moment, I just couldn't say that I was in love with him. I think I was falling in love with him, but I couldn't say it to him.
I don't know whether it was because I was guarded, I don't know if it was just because I wasn't feeling it, but what I can say is when I got home, I realized that. But at that point, I knew it was too late. What was done was done. What was said was said.