Ben Higgins on 'The Bachelor:' I was shocked to see Becca Tilley and Amber James that first night
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/11/2015
Ben Higgins' The Bachelor journey begins Monday, January 4 on ABC, and the show's star has a lot to say about what fans can anticipate this season.
Shortly after ABC revealed Ben's 28 bachelorettes, the handsome small-town guy from Warsaw, IN, who currently resides in Denver, CO, participated in a media call through which he touched upon topics personal to him as well as the lighthearted stuff -- like what exactly a "chicken enthusiast" means.
In the Thursday interview, Ben shared his insecurities, desires, fears, expectations, and more. Below is the second portion of his interview.
To read what Ben told Reality TV World, click here. Be sure to check back with us soon for the rest of his The Bachelor call.
Were you shocked Becca Tilley and Amber James were among your bachelorettes and did you know either of them beforehand, or maybe you at least watched them on TV and found out a little bit about them that way?
Ben Higgins: It's a great question. You know, when I found out I was going to be on The Bachelorette, I kind of took a step back from watching [Chris Soules]'s season, just because I knew I was potentially going to be dating one of those women, and I wanted to go in with kind of a clear mind and not have a lot of preconceived notions about who people were.
Now, if I knew Becca or Amber, the only way I knew them was [because] this is a family and I knew OF them. Obviously I had seen bits and pieces of Chris' season, not the season in total, but I didn't know a lot about them. When they came on, was I shocked? Yeah! I think so.
I think "shocked" in the sense of, you know, I was really appreciative -- and really, that first night, when every woman showed up at that mansion, I just one after the other found myself going, "Thank you," because it was really crazy to see every woman show up to the place. And I felt the same way about Becca and Amber.
Did you have trouble keeping all the girls' names straight? I mean, all those Laurens!
Ben Higgins: (Laughs) It's not always easy. If we're talking the challenges of being the Bachelor, I think on that first night, kind of getting all the names in memory and being able to -- I really wanted to be able to speak to everybody and say everyone's name so they knew I was engaged. But when you throw in that many Laurens and that many people, it's tough! It's not easy.
One of the topics people were buzzing about when the last season of The Bachelor aired was how many girls Chris kissed. Going into this season, what was your approach? Were you a little more reserved or were you okay with diving in and kissing whomever you wanted?
Ben Higgins: One of the things I went into this season [thinking] after talking to some of my mentors and my friends, and just also taking into account how I wanted to do it myself, was really trying to concentrate on getting to know these women other than [getting tied up with] the physical aspect.
I think that's always important in a relationship and that comes with time, but I wanted to make sure we spent our time getting to know each other one-on-one and not necessarily kissing or making out the whole time. That does happen, but it's not something that was extremely -- that was something I kind of wanted to hold back from, I guess, as this thing started.
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Do you have any dealbreakers? Anything that would eliminate a girl from the realm of possibility right off the bat?
Ben Higgins: You know, I don't think I did. I really wanted to go into this whole experience very open-minded. I knew I was going to meet women from all over the country, possibly all over the world, and I wanted to go in with an open mind, knowing that there were going to be new experiences and new personalities and new people I've never been exposed to in my life.
And so, I tried to not hold myself back with dealbreakers initially. I just wanted to get to know these women and see if there's a connection.
With the holidays right around the corner, if you were going to bring a girlfriend or fiancee home to your family, what traditions do you participate in?
Ben Higgins: I'm an only child, and so my family and I are very close. I love my parents very much. We're really good friends. And usually over the holidays, one of our big traditions on Thanksgiving is we all write a note to each other about what we're thankful for in that last year.
I think at Christmas, it's a pretty simple day. We wake up, presents aren't a huge deal to us. I think it's more about having breakfast together and spending that time -- I don't get to see them all the time -- so we spend more time together than we usually would. And then we go have dinner with the extended family.
What would be a perfect gift for you from a girlfriend or fiancee?
Ben Higgins: A perfect gift. I haven't even started my Santa Clause list yet! This is tough. I actually could use -- I just blew out the sneakers that I had in college that I have at my house. And I could use a new sound system for my house, just simple speakers or something.
What was your struggle like to send women home? How difficult was that for you?
Ben Higgins: I think there's a couple ways to look at that. One is, when going into this season, you always see the end result or you hope for the end result or you're hopeful for how this process is going to go, but until that time, it's really hard to get your mind into the place of -- in order to get through this whole thing, you have to say goodbye to a lot of really great people.
A lot of great women come on this show and the women have really put themselves out there. It's a difficult thing. It's definitely something that was harder than I ever expected it to be.
What was the biggest surprise for you in general about being on The Bachelor?
Ben Higgins: I think saying goodbye to the women and how hard that was. That was maybe my biggest surprise. I think it was never easy from Night 1 on, and that's because there were some incredible women who came out here.
I mean, I think everyone who watches this will get to see that, but I just continue, to this day, to be very thankful to the women that came out. With that, it was hard to say goodbye to a lot of them.
Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici are expecting a baby now. We don't know the outcome of your season, but does that give you some hope for the possibility of forming a long-lasting relationship out of this show?
Ben Higgins: Isn't that awesome? I saw that too. I'm really happy for Sean and Catherine. I think they're a great representation to a lot of people on how a marriage works, how a relationship works.
I know they were both a big influence, in a positive way, for me as I stepped into this experience. I think just in life, we could all look at their relationship and it's something, not to strive for, but something that would be nice to have -- just unconditional love between two people.
Did you find out what a "chicken enthusiast" is? That's a job description every is talking about.
Ben Higgins: The "chicken enthusiast" (laughs), yeah, I think [Tiara Soleim] is -- I think she can explain that one. I mean, I think she just LOVES chickens and I think a lot of her life, chickens have played a big role in it. And actually, it's pretty cool.
I don't want to speak for Tiara, but what I assume is that it's like a pet. When you have pets in life, you care a lot about them and sometimes they're like family. So, we've had a "dog lover" before and "cat lovers" I'm sure at some point, so why not a "chicken lover?"
What was your reaction to seeing twins were going to compete for you?
Ben Higgins: Twins. Yeah, I think when the twins got out of the limo, for me, that whole night was a little crazy and there's a lot going on. I'm meeting a lot of new people and I think my comment on that night was, "I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone." For a second, I was looking at it, like, "What is happening!?"
And then once I got to sit down with both of these twins, they're just two incredible women. They're two individuals I have a lot of respect for. In my eyes, they are two separate women. But yeah, when they first got out of that limo, it threw me off a little bit.
If you come out of this show with someone, have you given any thought to how you will transition into the real world, real life? How will you make it successful?
Ben Higgins: I think obviously you go through this whole experience and it is an incredible one from start to finish. It is something that I will forever be grateful for. And thinking about my life now, I'm back in Denver, right now.
I'm going to start my job again, I'm going to get back to my house -- it needs a little work because it's been empty for a couple months, as you probably all know -- I have to start doing some yard work. I'm just going to get back to life.
I think when I started this whole thing, it was important for me to never lose my roots, never lose the base and foundation for which my life has been built upon. I have an incredible friend group and a lot of support. I have a great family that's got me grounded, and I have faith in Jesus that He continues to remind me that I'm not the biggest thing around. That's what I'm excited to get back to.
Would you ever consider appearing on another reality show like Dancing with the Stars, which a lot of past stars have done, or take advantage of any other television opportunities?
Ben Higgins: I think I'm excited about what experiences are next in life, just like I never expected to be on The Bachelorette. I NEVER expected to be the Bachelor, and I don't know what to expect next.
I'm open to anything, and I think as life moves forward, like I just said, I have a great life here in Denver and I love my life here in Denver. I don't want to change my life, but if there's an opportunity to maybe enhance it, I'm all for it.
I know you feared being "unlovable" on The Bachelorette. But do you still feel that way now that you've gone through the whole process and women reach out to you on social media and you're "that guy" now?
Ben Higgins: When I speak on that insecurity, I don't think insecurities are things you just throw out the window because a bunch of people tell you, "Oh, I can't believe that. I don't believe that. That doesn't make sense." I think insecurities sometimes sit deep. I'm excited, I'm ready, I'm looking to not feel that way, but I can't say it's something that will never come up again.
I think we can all probably say that insecurities can hang with us for a while. But it's not something that paralyzes me. It's not a fear that keeps me questioning everything. It's just something that has always kind of sat on my heart. It is a burden that I have to carry.
When the idea of becoming the Bachelor became a real possibility, was there anyone either inside The Bachelor family or outside of it that you turned to for advice?
Ben Higgins: Yeah, The Bachelor family is a great one. I think I'm learning more and more as I go how many incredible people -- men and women -- are involved in this. Initially, when it was asked, I did reach out to Sean Lowe, because he's a man that I've always looked up to, and I don't even think I watched his whole season.
But just the way he carried himself during the show, post show, it's something I can look up to. And I wanted to reach out to him to hear how he went about it. I also reached out to one of the most recent Bachelors, Chris. I think I wanted to hear, kind of, his experience. And both of them had incredibly encouraging things to say, and they really helped me as I moved forward.
Have you met any celebrities you're a huge fan of since becoming famous?
Ben Higgins: Yeah, that's a great question. Let's see. Honestly, I think I stayed fairly quiet, I guess. I mean, I haven't met a lot of what I would say are celebrities.
I met a lot of great people and I think any of the fans that come up to me and talk, like last night, I went out to dinner and there were these two people -- whom when I walked in -- they said, "Ben!" I went over and they were just incredibly encouraging and supportive of me and this whole process.
I think you put a lot on the line when you do this. You're displaying your love life to a lot of people, and I think every fan and every person has been really great, and I've enjoyed that. And for some reason I couldn't think of it, but I rode on an airplane a few days ago with the oldest surviving veteran from Pearl Harbor. He's 102-years-old.
I got to talk to him and he's a Christian himself. He's a man that stands for his faith and stands for people and stands for the people he loves. That, actually, was something that almost brought me to tears. That had to be the coolest thing I've done.
To read what Ben had to tell Reality TV World, click here. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion of his interview.