After getting rejected by Brad Womack on last season's edition of The Bachelor, Ashley Hebert will begin her own televised search for love when the seventh edition of The Bachelorette, which wrapped filming last week, premieres Monday, May 23 at 9PM ET/PT on ABC.

During a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Reality TV World talked to Ashley about her upcoming Bachelorette experience -- including how challenging it was for her to really put herself out there after she regretted being closed off emotionally on The Bachelor, how she felt the men who fought for her affection compared and contrasted to Brad and whether she still has any feelings for him, and why she got the makeover she publicly debuted on The Bachelor's The Women Tell All special. 

Reality TV World: During your time on The Bachelor with Brad, you said you regretted how closed off you were and there were times where you just had trouble expressing how you felt. How would you say that's different from your behavior on The Bachelorette? Did you really try to put yourself out there this time around and if so, how challenging was that?

Ashley Hebert: Oh, it was not easy. I'll tell you that. But I went into it saying, "I don't want to leave with any regrets. If I do fall in love, I'm going to go... I'm just going to put it all out there for the risk of being hurt." I think I learned a lot from Brad's season, and I had no regrets. I don't have any regrets.

Reality TV World: Based on the commercials ABC has been airing, some of the men on your season seem really impressive. How do you feel in hindsight that Brad compares to them? Are you confidence now that Brad just wasn't the right guy for you or do you think you still might have some leftover feelings for him?

Ashley Hebert: I mean, I think Brad is a great guy, but I think we both needed different things in our life. Especially after meeting all of these men, I realize how Brad wasn't the best fit for me, and I wasn't the best fit for Brad.

I definitely see a lot of things in these men that I think are better suited for me and my personality and my lifestyle. So, yeah. I definitely realized that Brad probably wasn't the right guy for me.

Reality TV World: Would you be able to give a couple of examples of how they might be better suited for you?

Ashley Hebert: Yeah, definitely. So, one of the big things about Brad was that he was older and he was very settled in. I was looking for somebody to create a life with -- a new life together.

I think the way I felt was that, I don't know. I felt like Brad was looking for somebody to fit in his life and not to say that that's a bad thing, it just wasn't what I was looking for.

Reality TV World: During The Bachelor's After the Final Rose special, viewers saw your new drastically-different look for the first time. I know you said you wanted a change and your hair color was basically returning to your roots, but was there any particular reason behind the change? Was it symbolic of a new direction in your life or anything like that?

Ashley Hebert: I always get this question. It's so funny. Actually, the day I got back from filming The Bachelor, I colored my hair back to my natural [color] and that's what you saw. It had been that way for a few months, so it was new to everyone else, but not so much to me and my friends.

But you know, I guess in a way, I went with the blonde to try something different and then I just felt like at the end of the day, it's about going back to who you are. When I left, I wanted to start feeling like myself again, and I think maybe you're right. I think symbolically, that's why I went back to the brown. I feel more like myself.

Reality TV World: How long had you been blonde for?

Ashley Hebert: Not very long. I was probably blonde for -- it was a progressive thing, you know? It started off with highlights and then it got a little bit more blonde -- probably like four or five months.

Reality TV World: You've mentioned what some of your favorite locations and dates were during the show, but what happened to be your least favorite?

Ashley Hebert: My least favorite? Oh gosh. I don't know. Okay. I know this is going to -- I know you might think I'm not telling the truth, but I really, really loved every place that I went to. I haven't traveled that much, so every location was new and exciting to me. I honestly can say that I loved every location.

Also in the call, Ashley told reporters what she thought it was like to be on the other side of the equation and make all the choices, whether she ever considered quitting the show, what her plans are for the near future regarding a career in dentistry, and why she worried at first that the men wouldn't like her.

What was it like being on the other side of things this time around? Was it more difficult then you had expected to be the one making the choices?

Ashley Hebert: Oh gosh, I mean, yeah. Going into it, I knew that I'd have a whole other set of kind of hard times, but I didn't expect it to be as difficult as it was. But I definitely learned a lot about myself, so I guess I'd prefer to be on this side, but it was not easy at times, that's for sure.

Are you happy? Did you find love? Are you engaged?

Ashley Hebert: Well, all those things are questions you'll have to tune in to find out, but I'll say that I'm happy with the way things turned out for me. But yeah, you'll have to tune in and see everything -- the rollercoaster.

If you didn't end up picking someone, would you be willing to do the show again like Brad or is once enough?

Ashley Hebert: Oh gosh, in all honesty, I'd have to say once is probably enough. (Laughs) I really really have a whole new respect for Brad for going through it twice.

How were your feelings going into the initial cocktail reception for your season different from your feelings going into the initial cocktail reception of Brad's season?

Ashley Hebert: Oh gosh. I was so much more nervous for this one. (Laughs)

Were they nerves because you were excited or scared?

Ashley Hebert: Well, I mean when I was on The Bachelor, you kind of feel like you have nothing to lose. You're going in open-minded and you're excited about the experience, but you know, walking into this one, it's more serious and there's a lot more things I have to figure out. There's a lot more pressure, so I'm definitely a lot more nervous for this one.

You said the experience was a rollercoaster ride, so was there ever a time you just wanted to quit and be done with the show?

Ashley Hebert: Oh gosh. I'll tell you that it was definitely a rollercoaster and not all bad. You know, some of it had to do with just being away from home and being away from friends. There wasn't ever a moment where I wanted to give it all up, because I knew how great of an experience it was.

I thought that hopefully I would look back and be really happy that I went through it, but there were definitely hard moments where I thought, "Did I make the right decision? Am I strong enough to do this?" But overall, I think I knew I wanted to push through.

Did you experience any jealousy amongst the men like you witnessed during your season on The Bachelor when many of the women would get upset he was dating and showing affection for numerous girls at once?

Ashley Hebert: Well, to be honest, I feel like a lot of the time, the guys spend more time with each other than they do with me, obviously living together. So, I didn't see that much. There were definitely moments where I saw that, but not nearly as much as I thought I would see it -- or not nearly as much as it happens with the women. (Laughs) It's wrong!

In terms of the drama, how do the men in the house compare to the women during your season?

Ashley Hebert: Oh gosh. I will tell you this. I don't want to give too much away, but I will tell you that they did a really good job of selecting all different types of guys with different personalities with interesting careers -- interesting personalities -- that's all I'll say. I mean tune in, and you're going to die. (Laughs)

Were you happy with the guys they selected for you? What were your first impressions of them?

Ashley Hebert: I went into it kind of having, not low expectations, but kind of -- I didn't know what to expect. But after the guys walked out of the limo, I was blown away.At that point, I didn't know them that well, but physically, they were gorgeous to me and after getting to know them, I mean, I have some great guys. I personally think the best that they've ever had. (Laughs)

Were you looking for something in particular in the guys or did you find that what you were looking for changed as the show progressed?

Ashley Hebert: I think what I realized that is I went into it saying I wanted just a good man, and somebody who's loyal and a family man. I think, as time went on, there were more things that I saw in the guys that I wanted.

But most importantly, what I realized was that I wanted somebody that made me feel good and made me feel like a woman -- made me feel like I was able to be vulnerable. So, yeah, as time went on, I definitely started to realize more about what I wanted.

What was the decision process like for you when you were given the opportunity to be the next Bachelorette?

Ashley Hebert: Okay, so I'll tell you what I went through. When I was first approached about it, I thought, "No question in my mind. Absolutely. I would do it if everything worked out."

And then I started to question, "Am I strong enough for this? Am I at a good place in my life for this? I'm going to have to take more time off from school." I just weighed the pros and cons and then at the end of the day, I realized that I wanted to do it. The pros outweighed the cons.

What are some of the qualities you're looking for in these guys?

Ashley Hebert: I'm looking for someone that I really feel like I can trust, somebody that's really loyal and a family man. I said that going into it, and I don't know. I guess I'm being kind of redundant here, but I just want somebody that makes me feel.

I live my life off of my gut and intuition, and I've really learned to trust that. I think it's led me to some really great places. So, I'm just looking for somebody that makes me feel, you know? Yeah. That's kind of where my head is at.

Did you take time off from school or how did you fit in into your schedule? Also, do you plan on finishing school?

Ashley Hebert: I did take time off from school. I'm probably just 15 months behind with my requirements, but I actually graduated technically two days ago. (Laughs) But yeah, I'm going to be making up the time that I lost this summer. Then, I'll have my diploma and be ready to go.

How will the man you picked fit into that?

Ashley Hebert: That's something you'll just have to wait and see.

Did you make money from the show that you could use to pay off your bills from dental school?

Ashley Hebert: People are always wondering that! I think that is kind of a personal question, but I can tell you that I will not be able to pay off dental school. (Laughs)

You mentioned you graduated, so do you have any specific plans for the near future regarding your career?

Ashley Hebert: Yeah, at this point, I really have no plans. The United States is my oyster. So, I'm going to start taking the steps to figure out what I want to do and where I want to be. But I'm still very open-minded about everything. So, we'll see where life takes me!

ABC's press release said you were worried in the beginning that the men wouldn't like you. Why did you feel like that?

Ashley Hebert: Oh, gosh. So, I think even from watching myself last season, I was thinking, "Who would want to date somebody that is looking insecure in relationships and unsure," and I just really feel like I wasn't my best self.

So, knowing who I am, I have confidence in me as The Bachelorette, but I didn't think that somebody watching would know that, so I was worried that some people would find out it was me and then want to leave.

Once you met all the men, did that fear go away?

Ashley Hebert: Oh, absolutely. The men were great and are great. Yeah, they made me feel everything that a woman wants to feel, especially somebody that's going into it with a little bit of insecurity about everything that happened on The Bachelor.

Could you tell us about your favorite dates or locations, obviously without mentioning with whom you went on them with?

Ashley Hebert: Some of my favorites? Gosh, I had so many favorites. I would have to say one of my favorite group dates was we were in Thailand and we actually renovated a children's orphanage, and that was the most rewarding and probably the most exciting group dates that I went on.

It's something that I'll remember for the rest of my life, and then I'll say overall -- without pinpointing a specific date -- we had a lot of cultural dates. We went to marketplaces, and I feel that I learned a lot about different cultures.

I feel like to go through that with some of the guys, and they're traveling to some of these places for the first time as well, it was very educational and romantic at the same time.

Do you have any really interesting characters like Madison Garton from The Bachelor that you could set up for us?

Ashley Hebert: Uh, yes. I'll tell you that we do have somebody that is similar to, kind of Madison, I guess. Without giving away too much about him, he wanted to -- basically, he did something that made me get to know him on a deeper level, not so much the physical. You'll have to wait and see for that.

Did you go into the show thinking that if you met the man of your dreams, you would be ready to settle down and get married or was it more of a casual experience for you than that?

Ashley Hebert: Okay, so, going into this, I reached the point in my life where if I knew I were to meet the right person, I would be ready -- if I were to meet somebody that made me feel like I was ready. But going into this, I definitely had the mindset that I know I have my career in place.

I feel really good with where I'm at on a personal level, I feel like I have a lot to offer, and I have a great mindset about soon being in a committed relationship. So, going into it, I felt like I was prepared on the outside but only if I were to meet the right guy.

Are you going to at some point pursue your dental career or was going on the show a way for you, like many other people who have been on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, to maybe dive into a career in entertainment?

Ashley Hebert: Oh, gosh. I don't think I would be a good entertainer. I'll tell you that, but no. I'm actually looking to go straight into dentistry. I will be getting my degree very shortly and I don't have any plans on doing anything entertainment [related].

On the past two seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Ally Fedotowsky and Brad both said they fell for the people they chose early in the season. Did you have a frontrunner early on and did that change along the way?

Ashley Hebert: How do I answer this? Without saying too much, I have to say that there were points in time where I thought that I had a frontrunner and things change quickly. I'll tell you that. They go up and down and back and forth. Yeah, that's all that I'm going to say.

Did you break some hearts? Are there some emotional episodes coming our way?

Ashley Hebert: Yeah, I mean, I feel like with every Bachelor or Bachelorette, there are broken hearts. It's no different, and I'll tell you that it goes both ways, and you'll have to tune in to see what I mean by that.

Did you learn anything from being on the show or did you grow at all?

Ashley Hebert: Oh definitely. I can't even tell you, and it's hard to explain if you haven't been through it, but you learn so much about yourself and I think that you take -- whether you're with somebody or not in the end -- you really take steps to getting there or realizing what you want in a relationship and how to be in a really committed relationship.

When it came to the dates where you traveled, did they take into account places you really wanted to go to or see, or did they surprise you with the trips?

Ashley Hebert: I believe they just surprised me. If they had taken anything into consideration, I didn't know. (Laughs) I love being surprised. That's something that I realized about myself too. So, just take me anywhere and I'll be happy.
About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.