Blakeley Shea was eliminated instead of Rachel Truehart, a 27-year-old fashion sales representative from New York City, NY, during their two-on-one date with Ben Flajnik -- narrowing The Bachelor star's love search to six women during Monday night's broadcast of the ABC reality dating series' sixteenth season.

During a Thursday conference call with reporters, Blakeley, a 34-year-old VIP cocktail waitress from Charlotte, NC, talked to Reality TV World about her The Bachelor experience -- including how deep she believed Ben's feelings really were for her despite how some of the other bachelorettes thought they only had a sexual attraction, whether she could sense something was off with Ben during their alone time before her elimination and when she began to build friendships with the other girls after she had been ostracized in the beginning of the season.

Below is the first half of Blakeley's interview. Check back with Reality TV World on Saturday for the second portion.

Reality TV World: There's been speculation that part of reason you reacted so strongly when Ben eliminated you was because of the way that he just seemed to casually tell Rachel she would be the one getting the rose while both of you were sitting there with him -- like he seemed much more focused on Rachel while he announced it, even though you were the one going home.  Was that actually the case?

Blakeley Shea: Well you know, it's definitely hurtful when someone -- when you don't understand, there's definitely closure that I feel like I need. But in the same sense, it's hard because I know I felt at the time that he knew what I was wanting and I was very open with him and very honest.

I think that after the fact he really knew, because it hurt me so bad -- just holding him and crying right before I got into the car to leave, I think he really felt like, "Wow. I didn't realize this was how strong she would react to this."

Because those were real feelings. Those weren't just, "Hey, you know, I want to get to know you better and get as far as I can go." I really wanted to open up and get to know him a lot more than just to get to the end of the show kind of a thing.

Reality TV World: During the salsa portion of your two-on-one date, Rachel called you "tacky" and said Ben was probably confusing a sexual attraction he had for you versus having real feelings. What's your response to that, and how deep do you think Ben's feelings were for you despite what the other girls believed? 

Blakeley Shea: Well I know that Ben was attracted to me and we did have chemistry. However, the times that we spent together and the times versus other people spent together, you never know whether attraction sparks him more or conversation sparks him more. But I don't mind that -- it doesn't bother me that she called me tacky.

I don't know how I was tacky. We were both there dancing in dresses in Panama and we both had the same routine. We both had the same dance. So, I guess if I was tacky, she was too.

Reality TV World: During your alone time with Ben on the two-on-one date, did he give you any indication that he might be choosing Rachel or did you feel like things were playing out perfectly between you two. Did you sense that anything was off about Ben?

Blakeley Shea: I didn't really sense that anything was off with him. I did, however, get like a really good feeling that he was very appreciative that I picked that time to show him my journal that I've been kind of keeping for him and also saw the little book that I made for him. That just -- I wanted him to see that, "Listen, this was before we even really got going in this thing."
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I wanted him to know that I was there for the right reasons. I had something with me from every place we had gone, from every date we had been on -- I had written something about him and I and our time together. It was really about the two of us and I wanted him to really see that, and he was very open and he was like, "Wow. This is great. You keep surprising me. You keep opening up to me."

And I thought, "Well, this is good. This is what's supposed to happen." So it was kind of like, "Ouch." It was like a little dagger in the back whenever he gave the rose to Rachel, because I was like, "Wait. I thought I was doing everything I was supposed to do to get you to open up to me as well."

And now I felt like, "Wow, was this all worth it?" But in the end, actually, it was all worth it because I actually learned a lot about myself.

Reality TV World: You didn't go on the group date this week with Ben and the girls, so when you watched the episode back, what was your reaction to Courtney Robertson's behavior and her decision to go nude under the beaded garments that the women of the tribe gave to the bachelorettes? Did you think it was appropriate and what would you have done if you were there? Would you have also taken off your bathing suit to compete or keep up with Courtney?

Blakeley Shea: Well, I think that there's different types of insecurities that come out in people and I think my insecurities would've said, "Blakeley, don't take your top off." But at the same time, you know, they were in Panama and they were on a group date and it's not like something where the kids there don't see.

That's how they live. However, it's just always awkward if I was going to be in that situation and she were to do that. It's just like, "Wow, you really have to do that?" But then again, I don't know. That's just Courtney!

Reality TV World: You clearly went through a tough time during the beginning of the season with the other bachelorettes and knew they often talked behind your back. Since you've been watching the season back, has anything the girls have said surprised you and did you realize it was that bad while you were on the show?

Blakeley Shea: Oh, seeing the girls saying some of the most hurtful and hateful things about me behind my back, it was -- I knew there was like tension and people would kind of ostracize me, but I didn't think that they were saying such mean things about me.

I mean, those are very hurtful words, but you know, that's why I tried to keep my focus on Ben and not worry about the other girls. Because obviously, I didn't realize they were saying such mean things about me.

Reality TV World: But after a few episodes, the drama seemed to subside and there was eventually footage of you doing some of the bachelorettes' hair and having friendly conversations with them. When was the turning point? When did your relationship with the other bachelorettes change and how did that happen?

Blakeley Shea: I think it was kind of really after San Francisco. The whole thing with [Shawntel Newton] coming back and I think it kind of all jolted us so much that we were like, "Wow. Everybody just needs to stop focusing on everything else."

And at that point, I had gotten to a place where I was like, "I'm just so focused on Ben and I really want this to work with him and I and see where it goes, and if I keep letting these girls get to me, it's just going to bring me down and that's not going to be attractive to Ben."

So not only that, but I just -- you don't ever want to feel down or like you're not wanted or like no one wants to be your friend. But at the same time, I was there to date Ben and not to date all these other girls. I was on the show to date Ben

But I think once the girls realized that just because I wasn't there to be "friends with everyone," didn't mean I didn't want to get to know them and co-exist with them and be friendly with them. I just wanted to make sure that my focus remained on Ben.

So, I think that was kind of the turning point -- was San Francisco. And then when we got to Park City, it was a little easier to talk to girls and they were sort of giving me more of a chance to open up and talk a little bit.

When we started talking about things with us girls like doing hair and nails and our favorite movies and focusing on "girl stuff" conversations rather than what another person was doing the night before or on a group date or whatever, it really got to be a lot easier.

Reality TV World: Ben didn't have much of an issue with the girls sharing their concerns about Samantha Levey and why she was on the show earlier in the season, so why do you think he got so hostile towards Emily O'Brien when she wanted to talk to him about Courtney? Do you think Ben was just very into Courtney and maybe not so much into Samantha and that made all the difference? It seems like a bit of a double standard.

Blakeley Shea: That's a good question. I don't think that he was into Samantha at all. So I don't see him having -- him doing what he did with her wasn't like out of the blue if you're not feeling someone, because they weren't very close. They weren't intimate. They didn't have any type of chemistry, I didn't feel like.

But with Courtney, it was very apparent. We could see that there was something there early on. You could definitely tell there was chemistry between Courtney and Ben.

Also during the call, Blakeley told reporters what was going through her mind when Ben was walking her to the car following her ouster, who she believed would be the best match for Ben and why and what her general thoughts were about Courtney.

TMZ released a pretty wild video of you giving a lapdance to one of your girlfriends at a club during a Bachelor viewing party. Have you seen it, and what is your comment about it?

Blakeley Shea: Um, there's a video? I have not seen this video.

During your two-on-one date with Ben and Rachel, did you expect Ben to make the decision he had made and what was going through your mind when he was walking you out that night?

Blakeley Shea: Well, I obviously did not expect him to not give me the rose and it was a little difficult because I really -- every time I was with him, I took it upon myself to really open up as much as I could in the amount of time that we had together.

It hurt a little bit, so I mean, if he wasn't feeling it, then obviously it was the best for both of us. But it definitely hurt to be walked out and tried to talk to. It's never easy for someone to tell you that things aren't going the way that you think that they are or that things aren't working out. So, it's always a little difficult.

Who do you think is best for Ben?

Blakeley Shea: Well, from getting to know the girls the further along I was there, I really feel like [Nicki Sterling] is a good choice for Ben. I think she's very down to earth. She's very real. She knows what it's like to be married. She definitely wants the same thing that Ben wants. I think that they would really make a good fit.

Why didn't you ever get a one-on-one?

Blakeley Shea: I wish I knew! (Laughs) I don't know. I asked Ben every time we would speak, I was like, "I'm hoping to get a one-on-one with you so we can get to know each other."

The only thing that I can take from it is that maybe he just had developed a little more emotion or feelings for other -- however, going on the two-on-one date, I was just so excited about it because to me, I look at it in a positive way. If I were to look at it in a negative way, it would have just brought me down.

So I thought, "Wow, he's already been on a one-on-one date. He's actually questioning her and not me." That's what I was looking at it like when he asked Rachel to go with us. But, I don't know. I wish I could have gotten some more one-on-one time, but who knows. It may have turned out the same and it may not have.

What were your thoughts about Courtney?

Blakeley Shea: Well, to be honest with you, I don't know her at all because I didn't take the time to get to know her and she did not take the time to get to know me. I don't think that it's a bad thing. I know that I went on there to meet Ben, to get to know Ben, and to possibly fall in love with Ben.

If her motives were the same, we just have a really different way of going about it. Looking -- just seeing everything that goes on, because whenever you do have one-on-one time with him, you don't know what they're saying. You're in a different -- like if you're on a group date and some girls aren't, you don't know what they're talking about.

Even on a group date when you're off talking by yourself and some of the girls are over waiting to talk to him, you don't know what's being said. So, now seeing the things that they said, it's a little hurtful. They were very hateful towards me, I think now, completely. I wasn't hurtful like that to them.

So, I don't really have anything good to say about her, because I don't know her, and I don't really -- the only bad thing is that I just wish she wouldn't have said some things about me that she did.

Are you dating anyone now?

Blakeley Shea: No. I'm not dating anyone now.