Blake Julian and Erica Rose discuss their 'Bachelor Pad' experience
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/06/2011
Blake Julian and Erica Rose both came onto Bachelor Pad with big strategic plans to flirt their way to the top, with Blake planning to flash his pearly whites and Erica aiming to proudly pout her enhanced lips.
However, Blake, a former seventh-season The Bachelorette bachelor, and his partner Erica -- whom competed on The Bachelor: Rome -- both proved to be unsuccessful when their attempts to secure stable partners in the game ultimately backfired and eventually led to their demise.
Since Blake had finally found his match with bachelorette Holly Durst but got under her ex-fiance Michael Stagliano's skin, he and Erica couldn't manage to attain enough votes as a couple, leading to their eliminations during Monday night's fifth episode of the second season of The Bachelor reality franchise spinoff in which former bachelor and bachelorettes compete for a $250,000 cash prize.
During a Tuesday conference call with reporters, Blake a 27-year-old dentist from Greenville, SC, and Erica, a 28-year-old student from Houston, TX, talked to Reality TV World about their Bachelor Pad experience -- including whether Blake took responsibility for how his relationship with bachelorette Melissa Schreiber ended in an emotional mess, how Erica responded to her aggressive pursuit of Blake at dinner on their one-on-one date and whether she was embarrassed, and why Blake decided to decline Erica's pushy request to sleep with her during the overnight portion of their date.
Reality TV World: Blake, were you surprised that Holly voted to eliminate you and Erica instead of Ella Nolan and Kirk DeWindt and looking back on your relationship with Melissa, what are your thoughts on how you treated her and what her reactions were? Do you find yourself feeling responsible for leading her on at all and maybe making poor decisions, or would you attribute her emotional breakdowns simply to her personality and feel they were unjustified?
Blake Julian: Well, I mean, I know that what I did in terms of playing the game was pretty clear cut. The way that it was shown was a little bit less justifiable. I definitely regret kissing Melissa. That was one of those "in the moment things" where it just kind of happened. We had discussed before we went on a date that I was not looking for a long-term relationship or a relationship of any kind.
She understood that. So I was really surprised at her response to the fact that I had feelings for another girl on Bachelor Pad after one date with her. It definitely shocked me and you know, pretty much from that point on, we kind of remained strictly platonic partners. Even then it was difficult to really predict where her emotions were going to take us.
Reality TV World: Were you guys surprised that Holly voted to eliminate you two instead of Ella and Kirk?
Blake Julian: Yeah, I mean, I wasn't surprised. She came to me and explained that Michael was her teammate and she's really torn about the whole thing. I felt bad putting her in a position like that where she had to choose, so it wasn't a big surprise.
What surprised me was the fact that I went on my date with Holly with Michael's consent, and he was actually the one that said, "Take Holly on a date. Give her a rose and keep her safe and then we'll form an alliance." So, I did that and kept her safe and the favor was not returned.
Erica Rose: Yeah, I think we could have tried to get them eliminated but I know that Blake would have never voted off Holly. I would have tried to get him to and he just wouldn't have been able to do it. I just don't think he would have. So, it does kind of frustrate me because I'm not the one in the relationship.
I was his partner and I really was kind of stuck and that's why I was upset, because there was really nothing I could do. He would never vote against her, yet she would vote against him. I just knew it was an unfortunate situation, and I was on pretty good terms with everyone in the house.
So, it was hard for me because there was nothing I could do, and I was also disappointed in Michael because I thought he was one of my friends. So, I tried to talk to him. I tried to talk to him so many times, telling him that he should get over it and not hold -- it's not Blake's fault that Holly's not in love with him anymore.
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He should talk about that with Holly and work on things with her and not blame everything on Blake. That's the easy thing to do, but Blake wasn't there when they had problems with their relationship six months ago. So, I just did not like the way that he was handling things.
Reality TV World: Erica, you were very persistent when asking Blake to continue your date into its overnight portion. When he initially refused your offer and said he just wanted to go back to the mansion to strategize and didn't want to miss out on the conversations, did you believe him or did you think all along he wanted to be with Holly?
Erica Rose: I knew that it was not because of that and I knew that it was because he wanted to hang out with Holly. I'm very observant and I had been watching Michael get more upset and more upset watching Blake with Holly. Michael was literally at a breaking point, and I thought it would be a good idea to keep Blake away and to maybe give the illusion that he wasn't interested in Holly anymore.
I know he didn't want Holly to think that, but maybe if everyone else in the house had thought that, then Michael would have said, "Okay, he's moved on." I know Blake was worried about his reputation, but whatever. Michael would have thought, "Okay, he's moved on. He's ready to meet other girls. He's not that into Holly." And then Michael wouldn't have been so against him.
But Blake didn't want to think about what would have been the best thing strategically. I think he was more worried about what Holly would think. And you know, I mean yeah, I was being very aggressive about it. But I really had good reasons for it. It wasn't like I was doing something without reason. I just think that that would be the best idea.
Even if that didn't happen, I do think that if we came back and Blake hadn't been making out with Holly in front of Michael, maybe things would have been different. But you know, of course Michael didn't want Blake to stay when he sees them making out.
So, yeah. I think a lot of things could have been handled differently, but you can't go back in time and I know that I did everything I could. Personally, I can't control other people, so I couldn't have done anything differently myself.
Reality TV World: Erica, did you ever reach a point during that conversation where you regret or are now embarrassed about coming onto him so strongly when he didn't seem to be genuinely interested?
Erica Rose: Honestly, I just think it's really funny and I'm not the kind of person that ever gets embarrassed with myself. Yeah, it was really funny watching it and I thought it was hilarious, but I wasn't embarrassed at all.
Blake Julian: Erica, you know that the scene at the fireplace was after voting, right? Everyone had already voted.
Erica Rose: Oh, really? I didn't know that. Okay. I thought it was before and I was like, "Why was he doing that?"
Erica Rose: Oh, okay. I didn't realize that and I thought that's what made Michael the way it played out. I thought that's what made Michael be like, "Oh my God, we have to get rid of him now." So, it's just funny how when we watch the things the way they're edited, we forget how it really happened.
Blake Julian: (Laughs) Yeah, it's difficult. The way it plays out on TV is very persuasive.
Reality TV World: Blake, things seemed to get very awkward during your dinner with Erica when she was asking you to join her on the overnight date. Erica has given us her side of things, so could you verify what your actual reasoning was behind rejecting her offer? With Holly and your reputation and everything, it seemed like there were a few excuses kind of bouncing around [during your conversation with Erica].
Blake Julian: I mean, they're not exactly excuses. I feel like they're pretty valid. I had a few different reasons. Yeah, I clearly didn't want to give the wrong impression to Holly and at that same point, I didn't want to give the wrong impression to America.
I didn't want to be the guy that goes on television and doesn't care who he's hanging out with and staying with. That's not me. So, my reputation was part of it and Holly was part of it and you know, strategically, I feel like they are all valid points, I felt.
Reality TV World: Erica, [Vienna Girardi] and yourself didn't seem to get along too well on the show, but it seemed like right after the show finished filming, you arranged for your dad to give Vienna a nose job. How did that come about? Do you always arrange those procedures for people you're not close with or was it a peace offering of some sort or something? (Laughs)
Erica Rose: Her idea, honestly. It wasn't my idea. Despite how she might tell the story, it was her idea.
She knew that my dad is an amazing plastic surgeon and we didn't get along for the most part, but I think that by me saving her and by giving her that final rose and going home when maybe she could have gone home if we hadn't given the roses to them, that kind of made up for any differences that we might have had through me hanging out with [Jake Pavelka] or whatever differences we had.
And so, we were friends. We left on a good note and as soon as she got home, she called me and we kind of arranged it. My dad was excited to do it because it was really funny. Before I went on the show, he said, "Tell Vienna I want to do her nose." And I was like, "Dad, I can't tell her that. That's rude."
Someone needs to approach me themselves. I'm not going to go up to someone and say, "Hey, you need to do your nose!"
But she definitely looks so much better right now. I've just seen pictures and you'll see at the finale. He did a great job. I don't mind helping other people look better. I'm not like that kind of girl that is competitive with other girls that way. I want everyone to look prettier.
And I can't reveal who, so I'm not going to, but actually another cast member recently went to my dad for plastic surgery. So, you're going to have to wait until the finale to see who that was!
Reality TV World: Blake, it seemed like at times you felt the game was just completely out of your hands because small decisions you made tended to lead into big dramatic moments such as when you chose to kiss Melissa on your one-on-one date and then she thought you were basically dating afterwards. Did you feel like you just repeatedly got dealt a bad round of cards that forced your reputation into a deeper hole you couldn't get out of or would you say, based on your actions, you kind of deserved the backlash a little bit?
Blake Julian: I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm not to blame for anything because sure, I did not play things the right way. I never meant to lead Melissa on. I never meant to hurt her feelings and there was such a strong emotional reaction from her -- that was really the first thing that got to me.
That was kind of a pretty big black hole to get away from, because it seemed to follow me constantly. There's things that I would have done differently, of course. That's the whole reason that if you'd want to go back and try again, you'd try and do better. So, I'd say that my cards definitely weren't the best to be dealt, but I probably could have played them a little differently also.
Also in the call, Blake and Erica told reporters what their main regrets were from the show and what they would have done differently, why they chose to give their date roses to Kasey and Vienna, what made Blake want to go after Holly and date her even though Michael disapproved, and whether Blake believed he received a bad edit or was accurately portrayed on Bachelor Pad.
Blake, what is the status of your relationship now with Holly?
Blake Julian: That's something that I think everyone should wait until the finale to really figure out.
Did you guys ever consider teaming up with two of the other couples and targeting Kasey Kahl and Vienna instead of giving them the roses?
Erica Rose: I wish that we did that, but I don't know. We really didn't think about doing that because we knew that there was no way that [Michelle Money] and [Graham Bunn] would go against Kasey and Vienna, and I don't know if we could have gotten Michael and Holly to do that.
I know we could have gotten Kirk and Ella to do that, but Michael was just so upset with Blake and was so emotional about the whole Blake and Holly situation that he might have agreed with us at the time and said, "Yeah, I'll vote off Kasey and Vienna." But then when he saw Blake and Holly kissing and he noticed the two of them together, he was definitely going to try to get rid of Blake no matter what happened.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently dating back to your first day in the house?
Blake Julian: (Laughs) I can think of something, but no. I think there's some times when you definitely go back and second guess yourself. I mean, this is a game that none of us had played before, and I don't think we're all ready for the scope of the amount of emotional depth and strategy involved. I think partner selection would have been much more carefully considered on my part. How about you, Erica?
Erica Rose: Yeah. I didn't really have a partner the whole time. I kept switching. But going back, I don't know who I could have been partnered with. People that went home the first night -- like [Justin Rego] or something -- could have been a really good partner. So, maybe I would have thought about that more carefully.
It was just really the first two weeks that I felt like I wasn't playing the game that well. I was just learning the way that -- people would tell me how to vote. I wasn't thinking for myself, and so if I could go back in time, I would probably start thinking early on. But I had wanted to be partners with Jake and I do think he would have been a really great partner.
It's just unfortunate that people wouldn't give him a chance to compete because of their emotional issues. I guess the biggest thing is that people we know would be voting a lot of times with their emotions and I never did that. I never lost my emotions in the game and got over-emotional. That's just not who I am as a person, so it's hard for me to anticipate the reactions of people that think with their emotions.
Would either of you ever do Bachelor Pad again or have you both had enough?
Erica Rose: I don't think I've had enough of it because I feel like it was a good experience for me and it was fun and I made a lot of great new friends. You know, of course if I were to do it again, there are things I would do differently. But at the same time, I wouldn't want to be like [Gia Allemand] who comes back and no one gave her a chance because they're like, "Oh, she's already had a chance."
So even coming back, you're at a disadvantage unless they brought back more than one person. If they brought back more than one person, then I think it could be easier.
Blake Julian: You know, that's a difficult -- it all depends on how you phrase it -- because would I do the game again? I would want to do it again just because I would know how to play it better. In reality, would I really go back and do another show? Probably not. So, sometimes I'm a perfectionist and I definitely did not play this game to perfection.
I'd like to do it again just to see if I could do any better for my own personal reasons. But I'm at a pretty good place right now and I don't think that -- I think that TV has had enough of me for awhile.
Why did you guys decide to give the roses to Kasey and Vienna instead of one of the other couples. Did you really think they were going to protect you despite how they had promised other contestants that as well who had been eliminated?
Blake Julian: Well unfortunately what we didn't get to see was Erica and I had approached Graham on the show who had the most secure spot in the house, and they also had roses. We basically looked for their guidance saying, "Listen, if there's anyone that you want us to give it to, then that would be great because that would make three couples" -- Graham and Michelle and whoever they wanted in the finals and then us.
Unfortunately, they kept their hands clean and they just said, "You're going to have to do what you feel is right." You know, giving the rose to Holly and Michael didn't really seem like the best option to state Michael's feelings for me.
So unfortunately, Kasey and Vienna claimed that they had the whole time the most influence and the most power in the house. Kirk and Ella were kind of on the bubble also and it seemed like a last-ditch effort to have them put their money where their mouth was potentially. Unfortunately, they were broke.
Erica, did you agree with the decision to give Kasey and Vienna the rose?
Erica Rose: I mean, I did. We talked about also giving it to Kirk and Ella, but they didn't make as strong of an argument, I guess. Kasey wouldn't even let them finish. He actually came in and interrupted. But I do feel a little bit manipulated by Kasey.
I do think -- I mean I watched the episode and I saw Vienna trying to convince everyone, "Hey you guys wouldn't want to be against Ella in the end. You should keep Erica and Blake. Who would you rather be around in the end?"
So it's not like they completely went back on their word. They did try and they didn't vote for us like they said they wouldn't. But I think that in their minds, they did have Michelle and Graham under control and in their minds, they were running the house. So, they believed that when they gave it to us and we believed them.
They didn't know that in the end, their own alliance wouldn't listen to them. They had no idea. So, I think that it showed them too for the first time that people don't listen to them. And then talking to them after this, you know, they have different ideas about what we could have done too.
For example, I don't know why we never thought of getting rid of Michael and Holly. That just never even crossed our minds. It was like they were not even up for consideration for elimination, and maybe we could have thought about that.
So, there's a lot of other options and there were different ways we could have gone, but we were trying to do what was best for us strategically. We weren't going to give it to Kirk and Ella just because we thought they needed the money the most, because that wouldn't help us at all. We were trying to vote strategically, not emotionally
Blake, why did you decide to pursue things with Holly when Michael was awkwardly sharing the mansion with you guys?
Blake Julian: Well, let's see here. As far as -- basically it's awkward anytime you're in a relationship. I mean, everybody's going to have an ex. The awkward situation here was that her ex was in the same house and she told me repeatedly that they were single and he would say in front of everyone that she was his girlfriend and he admitted that they're not together.
They did have feelings -- well, they did have feelings for each other obviously because they were engaged, but my story that I got from Holly was they weren't as strong on her side. Unfortunately, you can't really help when something feels right and it becomes the only thing that matters.
So, it wasn't so much a logical decision. It was more just kind of a feeling. Honestly, it didn't even really -- I don't know. It never crossed my mind to ignore her. It seemed like an impossibility. I don't like those questions.
Blake, did anything about Holly and Michael's conversations surprise you while watching the show back? Did you realize at the time how much Michael seemed to care for her?
Blake Julian: You know, I really wasn't. Several of those conversations, I wasn't around for them. And for whatever reason, from the very beginning, Michael and I never really became friends. So, he never confided in me. I think he had Graham and Kirk for that, and we never became close.
I didn't get to see a lot of what he was going through. Had I, it's difficult to say whether I would have done things the same way. So watching a lot of those conversations, it was difficult. I felt really bad for the both of them.
Erica, did you go on the show hoping to find love?
Erica Rose: Yeah, I think that every single person, you're always going to go in there to find love. There were so many little love stories that happened in the house while I was there, so it would have been nice to have my own.
But at the same time, I feel like we had enough of that. And just because we're with a group of like nine guys that are all attractive and cool and fun, it doesn't mean that you're going to find love with them.
It's not like -- this isn't The Bachelorette. You don't have a group of 25 guys to pick from that are there just for you. So, in the group of guys, of course I was attracted to them and everything, but it there was no potential of the guys that were there to have a love connection with them. You can't just force something if it's not there.
Blake, do you think you were fairly portrayed on the show or do you think you received a bad edit?
Blake Julian: In terms of regretting anything, I definitely regret kissing Melissa because that set in motion a lot of very vocal negativity towards me where she rallied the house against me. So, that kind of started people thinking, "Well, this guy is maybe not so great," when a lot of things she was saying was not exactly accurate.
And so, once she was finally gone and that drama was eliminated, I ended up basically -- I don't know if you could say that I broke "bro-code" because Michael and I weren't exactly bros. We never became close. I probably shouldn't have kissed her, but you just can't really help who you fall for, and I never in my wildest dreams anticipated having such a wonderful date with her.
It just -- I don't regret that at all. I regret that it hurt his feelings and that's never anything that I want to do. I'm not trying to hurt anyone, but at a certain point, you have to live your own life.
It was clear that some of the contestants on the show didn't like you very much. How do you feel about that?
Blake Julian: It's definitely something that I can put behind me. I know it's a game and I know that it's just -- you can't win everyone over. Like I said, the chain of events that took place really did portray me in a negative light within the house, not even within the editing. It was just kind of people's general feeling about me -- a group mentality.
I'm sure Erica can commiserate because she really didn't have a great experience with the egg-toss competition. So, whenever you get vocal opinions from people, I don't know. You always say, "I don't want anyone talking bad behind my back," but it's really no better if they talk bad right to your face.
Erica Rose: I have props to myself for hanging in there after the [egg-toss competition] and for staying as long as I did. It was really just humiliating and half of me just wanted to leave and not stay in a house with people that are thinking and saying such bad things about me, you know?
It was really difficult. I'm not the kind of person that wants people to feel sorry for me and I don't like to play a victim or be a victim. It was very tough and I felt like it was really like bullying and just a really mean challenge, and it was even worse when it aired and I got so many people reaching out to me like expressing their concern for me and saying they felt bad for me.
I appreciate the sympathy, but I don't like people to feel bad for me. I'd rather people laugh with me and not say that they were crying for me.
Kasey and Vienna are clearly the power couple in charge. Do you really think they were that manipulative to be able to pull that off?
Erica Rose: They are. They're very, very convincing. And Kasey, he won't give you a chance to talk to anyone else. He really gets on you and he really gets in your head. He was saying things to me like, "I visualize us four being in the final four." And he was saying all these things.
I really believed him because I knew that Graham and Michelle had been voting with him every week, and I thought that they would listen to him. I thought that Michelle would want to get rid of Ella because they're both single moms. I thought she'd view her as a threat, you know?
But yeah, Kasey and Vienna were really, really good at playing the game and it does make me mad, because watching all the other weeks, I tried to eliminate Kasey and now this week, I'm like saving him.
That doesn't really make sense, but it makes me mad because I think that we're a lot more intelligent than Kasey. So, it definitely sucks to be manipulated by someone that you feel like you should be able to out-manipulate yourself.
Blake, what was your response to Erica's comment that her mission was to get you in the "missionary position" at the end of your one-on-one date?
Blake Julian: (Laughs) I think Erica's great. She definitely has a wonderful sense of humor and she's not afraid to put it out there and just be her fun self. In the competition when a question came up and she said that she sleeps with a guy after three dates and "I'm kind of a slut," she just plays it up and it's hilarious. She doesn't take life too seriously, so it was fun. I knew exactly where she was coming from.
Erica, do you have any regrets about coming onto Blake so strongly?
Erica Rose: No, I think it was funny. I was coming on really, really strong but sometimes I think I like to do that and just see what's going to happen and get reactions and push the envelope a little bit. Like I said, it was funny to watch and Blake and I are really good friends, so it didn't make things awkward or weird between us.
But one thing is if I would have known about the fact that Blake and Holly were already developed such strong feelings for each other -- they didn't want to give away any details about their date that they had. So, I had no idea about the connection between the two of them. Watching it now, I think it's so cute and I would not have interfered with that.
I'm the kind of person that believes in girl-code and I like Holly a lot, so if anyone had came to me ahead of time and told me about their relationship, I wouldn't have tried it. But I didn't know, so I really wasn't doing anything wrong at the time.
If Michael hadn't been on the show at all, do you think viewers would have seen more of a love story play out between you and Holly?
Blake Julian: I have no doubt about that. I mean, the first night in the house, I almost teamed up with Holly. She was going to be my partner. But there was a rumor going around that she was secretly kind of still involved with Michael, if not romantically then strategically -- like they were a team before they even got in the house.
Some people kind of told me that and then when I approached her, she denied it. So, I immediately felt like I couldn't trust her because it was the first night that I met her. If Michael hadn't been there, then we would have ended up being partners and I'm not sure how far we would have gotten, but we definitely would have had more fun.
Erica, do you have any hopes of rekindling anything with Jake? You showed some interest in him during the show.
Erica Rose: After I left, I don't think it showed everything that happened between Jake and I. Of anyone in the house, I probably spent the most time with him and really got to know him as a person. So, after I left, I was hopeful of maybe hanging out. But I've only hung out with him once since the show, and I think I still have unanswered questions.
He said, "We need to talk and we need to figure out and discuss everything that happened," and whatever. I think on the inside, he felt kind of betrayed by my friendship now with Kasey and Vienna. He and I have never really gotten to have that last conversation that we need to have. So maybe today at the finale, I'll bring things up.
But I don't think he wants a relationship with me and I was a little sad about it just because I do think that he's a really great guy and personally, I think he's gorgeous. But I think he's a good person and he's different to me than the person that Vienna described him to be for sure. 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.