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'The Bachelor' bachelorette Shawntel Newton discusses the show


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/24/2011 

The Bachelor bachelorette Shawntel Newton fell in love with Brad Womack and was willing to sacrifice her future in her family's funeral home business to  move to Austin, TX to be with him.

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However, after visiting the hometowns of all of his final four women, Brad decided he didn't feel the same way about Shawntel -- resulting in the elimination of the 25-year-old funeral director from Chico, CA during Monday's broadcast of the ABC reality dating show.

During a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Shawntel talked to Reality TV World about whether she believes her father's concern that she would be abandoning their family succession played a big role in Brad's decision to send her home; if she would have really been happy giving up her career plans to move to Austin with Brad, what her family's reaction was when they learned Brad hadn't picked her, and Brad's reaction to her confession of love for him.

Reality TV World: In your final words, you said you didn't see your elimination coming after Brad met your whole family. Can you talk about how you think your hometown date went with Brad, because you must have thought it went really well even though the editing had kind of suggested otherwise.

Shawntel Newton: Right. I did think it went as well as it could with Brad laying on the prep table, being in the funeral home, which is very -- that's a lot to take in -- and then meet my family who Brad can obviously see was having a hard time taking all of this in.

But I think why I said that it was a shock to me was because I really thought that he accepted my job and was okay with it and was going to still allow me to go one step further to maybe talk to him more about that. Because he and I didn't have a lot of time as you saw.

At the very end when I did tell him, 'Now I'm in love with you,' It was minutes until then we had to leave and go to the Rose Ceremony, and I wished he would still allow us a little more time to explore and to say, 'Okay, what did you think about the funeral home and my family?

Like I said, even though my family wants me to stay, I'm willing to move,' And I was just like -- that's why I was very shocked -- I really thought I would have had at least kind of one next step to explore it even more. But unfortunately, he just wasn't feeling the same.

Reality TV World: How big a role do you think your Dad letting Brad know that you moving to Austin would be forcing you to change your life plans and your family's hope to have you take over the funeral home business played in Brad's decision to let you go?

Shawntel Newton: Well, I think on Brad's part it had a big role. I think he really saw that my Dad was having a hard time allowing this -- he did give us his blessing -- but Brad really, I think Brad felt uncomfortable, and I think he was like, 'Wow, Shawntel's family is not really in support of this.'

For me, I was upfront with my Dad and I said, 'You know what? Things are going to work out. I'm in love with this man if he's proposing to me. It's going to work out, and I might be moving to Austin or I probably will be moving to Austin.'

So, that was a strong role with my family, but I stuck up for myself in saying, 'Dad, if he proposes to me, I'm going to end up moving to Austin. It's going to work out, and it's going to be okay.'

Reality TV World: You mentioned how working for the funeral home is your passion and that you really love it. So, if Brad did end up choosing you in the end and you had to move to Austin, do you really think you would have been happy and satisfied in that situation in that you would have to forego taking over your family business?

Shawntel Newton: Well, that obviously crossed my mind. When me and Brad were in the mausoleum I said, 'Let's say I move to Austin, I could be [an embalmer] in Austin.' I love the science part of my job, and being [an embalmer], you can go anywhere with your license and you would just use your [embalming] skills. I could do different conventions, talks, conferences within the funeral industry.

Being a woman in the business, first of all, is very rare, and so there are other things I considered doing. And I thought, well, this is the time to explore other things with him too. So, it was just more like -- well, I'm kind of a "go with the flow" kind of person and I thought, 'You know what? When you think you're in love with someone, no matter you do, things can change.'

And I just thought, 'Well, if we go to Austin, I'm just going to make this work, whether I'm a trained embalmer, whether there's a funeral home there I could open up, or if I'm not even in the business and I end up becoming a marriage or family counselor -- being within the realm of the funeral industry.'

Reality TV World: What went through your mind when your father gave you and Brad his blessing on behalf of your whole family, despite  what he had planned for you?

Shawntel Newton: Well if you saw the look on my face, it was a little concerned at first. When he gave his blessing I had a huge grin on my face. But, it meant a lot to Brad and to myself to have my Dad have all these concerns about, 'Okay, well, wow,' you know? 'You're going to leave Chico when it's very comfortable here, but you know what? If you want to move to Austin, we give you our blessing because we trust you, and so if moving to Austin is what you want, then we are behind you.'

And that meant a lot, not only to me, but it did to Brad too.

Reality TV World: You mentioned your family really liked Brad, so how did they react when they discovered Brad had not chosen you after the hometown date and do you think they might have secretly been a little happy if it didn't work out because they would be able to follow through with the plans they had for you?

Shawntel Newton: I came home and I think they were a little shocked because they too really did think I was going to be -- kind of be able to explore it a little more -- like I was saying, 'I was hoping to get more time.' I know that word is exhausting -- "more time," I want "more time" -- but given the circumstances we're in.

But I think that also at the same time, they thought, 'In ways, yes, we are happy that you're not going to make those sudden changes and move to Austin, but now we do see that maybe there are other things that you may be doing with your life and not just staying here in our little town of Chico.' So, it kind of opened up their eyes and opened up my eyes.

Reality TV World: You told Brad that you loved him when he was leaving your house and he eventually admitted he didn't feel how he should have felt when a woman tells him she loves him. Did you get the vibe that he felt that way in the moment or were you really surprised when you discovered he was taken back by that.

Shawntel Newton: Well, it was kind of both. When I told him that I was in love with him, we [only] had moments to talk. Unfortunately, with our dates and everything, you don't get a whole lot of time, and so after he met my family and everything, I had these couple of minutes to tell him really how I was feeling.

And obviously, he can't say it back, which is uncomfortable and difficult already, and then when the Rose Ceremony came, I was shocked because I really thought that I was -- especially since I opened up to him -- that he would explore it a little more so we could talk about it a little more. And even talking about like, 'You came to the funeral home and you met my family so what did you think about that?'

And so that's why I was shocked, and then him telling me that he didn't feel how a man should feel, now that I look back and I told him I was in love, I mean, maybe just the look on his face was uncomfortable. I don't know. As I watched it, I was like, 'Wow, I just thought he was looking at me that way because you can't really say a lot anyway. But maybe, obviously, he just didn't feel the same way and that was hard, and that's why in the limo I was saying, 'Gosh, that was a shock.'

Because I had really thought that not only -- not that I used "I love you" as a trick to keep me around longer -- it was real, but I was just shocked that he just didn't want to explore it a little bit more. Because he kept saying how natural he feels with me, and he could see me as his wife, and I completely threw the cards out for him. Some of the girls hadn't so I was just like, 'Wow, this is a surprise that he sent me home even though I kind of, pretty much, lied everything out for him.'


Also in the call, Shawntel talked about what Shawntel's family thought about Brad after meeting him; why she believes she has not found a man that is comfortable with her profession, how she has been able to move on from her broken heart, whether regrets telling Brad she loved him or giving him an extensive tour of the funeral home, and whom she believes Brad fell in love with while she was on the show.

Was it your idea or the producers' to take Brad into the morgue on your hometown date?

Shawntel Newton: It was a little of both. I kind of thought, 'I just might as well lay all of my cards out on the table with Brad and him coming to Chico -- this is my job, this is what I grew up with -- and I thought, 'If he wants to get down on his knee and propose to me, he might as well come to the funeral home and see what I grew up around and what I do. So, I kind of thought it out and said, 'Let's just do this.'

Do you regret that choice?

Shawntel Newton: No, I don't regret it at all, because usually I don't take a guy on a first date to a funeral home, but in that situation being where we had so many weeks to fall in love -- and I was falling in love with Brad -- and I thought well, like I said on TV, 'It's the final test almost to see if he can handle this.' So, I don't regret it. I don't.

Do you think the conversation you had with your parents about maybe leaving the family business to move to Texas should have been something that happened when Brad wasn't there and do you think it affected his decision at the end of the day?

Shawntel Newton: Yeah, that's a good question, because the question has never really come up with my family with me leaving Chico. I kind of always thought that I would be staying in Chico -- probably taking over this business -- so it's never been brought. And then I think they were a little surprised.

When I went on the show, I had no idea who The Bachelor was, and then learning Brad's from Austin and he wants his life to be there, I thought, 'Okay wow, well here I am falling in love with him, so I'm willing to move.' I just think it was a shock to my family for me to come home and be like, 'Okay, I'm falling in love and this may change some things.' So, they were shocked.

Did the show open your eyes to thinking about a life outside of Chico or are you feeling like this is where you belong?

Shawntel Newton: No, it definitely opened up my eyes to a lot of different things. I have such passion for the funeral industry, but not just the traveling and everything, but just falling in love with someone that doesn't live in Chico. I was like, 'Well, there is life outside of my little town in Chico, and it's a good world out there.' And it did get me excited for new opportunities or maybe even moving to Austin, like I told Brad that I would do for him.

Is it hard to find good guys in Chico or do you think it's just your profession that keeps things from getting serious?

Shawntel Newton: I think it's a little of both, to be honest. Being a funeral director has challenged my love life a lot. When I go on a date with a guy, once we start talking about, 'Okay, so what do you do?' And when I say I'm in the funeral industry it's like a step back, it's like, 'Okay, wow. That's different.'

And then growing up in Chico, I know a lot of the guys my age because we all went to school together. We all played sports together. We went to church together, and so I probably wouldn't date them because I grew up with them, so it's kind of like our own little family. But also, being a funeral director has challenged that as well so it's a little of both.

What did you family think about Brad after meeting him?

Shawntel Newton: My family did like him a lot. My mom's side of the family is from Alabama and he's got that southern little charm, so I was like, 'My mom is going to love him.' And you don't see my mom talking to him as much, but she thought he was just a doll. She really did. I think they were just hesitant because everything came at them at once, you know, coming to them and saying, 'You guys, I'm falling in love. I'm in love with this man, and I might be moving to Austin.'

It was a huge shock for them and 'Oh my gosh, our daughter might be completely leaving this lifestyle we have here in Chico that we're so comfortable with and now might be moving out of state.' And so it was just a shock for them, but they really did like Brad.

They could tell that I was in love and that I was happy, and I haven't been in love in a very long time, and the last time I was, it wasn't good. It was a very unhealthy relationship. So, I think they were refreshed to actually see a man and was treating their daughter well.

Have you been able to move on from the show or are you still a bit heartbroken over the experience?

Shawntel Newton: You know, since it's been a little while, I'm okay. I kind of compare this a lot to someone who has had a death and lost a loved one, because we go through the same phases as we do with a death. And with me with Brad, I allowed myself to get angry and part of me wondered, 'Gosh, could I have done something different?'

Almost in denial maybe, and I allowed myself to go through the different stages of grief in a way and I'm not in love with him anymore, and like I said in the limo, I was very -- I wish Brad happiness -- I thought he was just an amazing person, and all I want for him is to be happy, and I think he got really lucky with the girls he had to choose from because he had some really great girls there.

Does Brad fit the type of guy you normally date or what is your typical type?

Shawntel Newton: Brad was a completely new type for me, and I don't have a lot of men I can compare him to because in my past relationships, I've had two guys I've been in love with. I've dated, but in terms of calling them my "boyfriend" and being in love, there's been two -- one in high school, which is hard to compare because I was so young -- and then two years I had a boyfriend and it was just a very unhealthy relationship. He was someone I tried to rescue and I was being drowned in the process.

So, when I met Brad -- totally fresh and new -- a southern gentleman. Then I was like, 'Whoa, I didn't even know this existed.' I even said in the show that I know that -- I didn't even know this love existed because I had never felt something like this before, and it could be because I haven't had this amazing man in my life yet that I had fallen in love with. So, he was always good to me, he was always nice to me, and I absolutely loved it.

Do you have any regrets that you told Brad or your family that you were falling in love with Brad?

Shawntel Newton: No, I have no regrets at all telling Brad that I was in love with him. It was already an uncomfortable situation telling him that I was not only falling in love with him and then telling my family that I was in love, because I know that he can't say that back to me, and that's uncomfortable for a woman or a man to be in a situation like that.

But I put myself out there, and I said, 'I just want you to know this is how I'm feeling, and that's who I am. I'm very comfortable with my feelings and telling people how I feel, and I wanted him to know.

Do you think Brad made the right decision in sending you home?

Shawntel Newton: Well I had a hard time, now also watching it, because he's been on these one-on-one dates that I never went on and didn't see. When we came into our last Rose Ceremony, a huge reason why I said, 'Gosh, I was really shocked,' is because when he called up [Ashley Hebert], I personally had thought she was going home, and I thought I was going to be the one staying.

So, it was really a shock to me because I knew that she hadn't told him that she was falling in love or in love with him, and I had. And I was just like, 'Whoa, okay. He's letting a girl go that had put herself out there and really expressed that she's in love and willing to leave her life here in Chico and go to Austin when you have another girl that hasn't. It was just a shock to me in many ways.

Do you see any of the girls left as being a good fit for Brad, marrying him and lasting with him?

Shawntel Newton: My personal opinion, is he is in love with [Emily Maynard] and I think he has been for awhile and I've ignored that when I was with him. There was a Rose Ceremony where we were all sitting down and he asked Emily to step aside and he gave her a basket of wine and cheese and it was hurtful. And we were just like, 'Oh my gosh, wow.' I even said, 'Are you ready to get married now?' And I've just kind of seen that with Brad, like I think Emily is everything he wants.

She has a child and I think he wants to be the father to her child and she's wanting to get married and have more kids, and he loves that and wants that. Not that I don't want that either. Of course I want to get married and have kids, otherwise, I wouldn't have gone on the show, but I think Emily -- she already has what he wants -- and that's personally what I think.

Would you ever consider taking part in Bachelor Pad or being the next The Bachelorette if given the opportunity?

Shawntel Newton: As far as The Bachelorette, I think I would. I think to either be The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, you really have to be a strong emotional person and as we could see, Brad was. This was his second go-around. You're talking a lot, you're doing a lot of interviews, you're up late, and you need to be able to handle that, and I think I'm the one who could do that.

As far as Bachelor Pad goes, I probably wouldn't do that. I wouldn't -- nothing against the show -- I would watch it, because I would probably know some of the girls from my season, but that's just something I wouldn't put myself up to.

After seeing the episode, how do you feel about the way the hometown date was presented with the airing of the funeral home commercial for your family business and the airing of the funeral music in the background?

Shawntel Newton: The airing of the background music was a little much, but also, when I went in on this show, I kind of knew how things like this worked and I was like, 'Okay, I'm willing to do this and take different risks.' Just like when we saw Emily going on the NASCAR date. There are certain things that we can't control and we know that could happen.

As I watched it, I was like, 'Well, here, my Dad is having a really hard time with it.' But it's true. This was a huge shock for my family, and there's nothing wrong with that. My family -- I'm very close with them -- I've lived in Chico all my life. So when I came home, and said, 'Gosh guys, I might be moving to Austin,' it was a big shock for them. And that's I think, a very normal feeling for a family to be that way when you're in a situation like that.

We're a close-knit family. I grew up in Chico and was probably planning to take over my Dad's business, and then I'm coming back after saying, 'I'm in love.' It's a hard thing, but to have my Dad give his blessing at the end, even though he was concerned and it was scary, that means a lot.

After your date with Brad in the funeral home, do you think he scares easily?

Shawntel Newton: Oh my gosh, yes. I was really hesitant to ask Brad to sit on my table, but I thought he was so infatuated with the whole embalming process in Las Vegas -- he was asking me all these questions and I probably wouldn't have had him lie on that prep table if he didn't -- if he wasn't like, 'Shawntel, tell me about this embalming process,' and was so intrigued.

So I thought, 'Well, hey you're intrigued by my job so why don't you lie on the prep table and I'll give you an idea of what I do.' I think it would creep anyone out who's not in the business. I thought, 'I'm going to lay all my cards out for you Brad and if you are comfortable with this, keep me. If not, you're going to have to send me home.' Being a funeral director has definitely challenged by dating life.

Do you love your job and if so, what do you love about it?

Shawntel Newton: I know it's weird to say and this is going to sound funny, but I didn't when I was young. I was like 'Oh, this is weird, Dad, that you do this job.' I would go into the prep room with him, sit on the counter while he was embalming or going on removals -- I would be at the funeral home -- as I grew up, I started working for him, and I was thinking I was going to become a psychologist or something.

Then my Dad was like, 'Why don't you work for me a little bit? I'll pay you money.' And I was in school, and I started going on removals with him. I started embalming and conducting autopsies. We work a lot with the elderly, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh. Science, elderly and psychology are three things that I have passion for, and within the funeral industry, that's all there.'

I was like, 'Wow. These are all things I really do enjoy. With the psychology part of these grieving families and I'm able to be there for them, whether it's an infant's death or a 101-year-old lady that we're celebrating. I'm there for those families.'

The science part, I'm an embalmer and I conduct autopsies. It's very interesting to me, and I get to use the science part of my brain. And then elderly people, we're serving them all the time and I love elderly men. I just think they're so cute and I get to talk to them a lot, and/or elderly women -- they're just, I don't know -- it really makes you appreciate life. You hear these stories, and they make you appreciate life in a different way. 

(Photo credit ABC)


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