Erica Scherle and her partner Steele Dewald were eliminated from Love in the Wild after he decided he was no longer interested in being paired with her and she determined she had no desire to give the only other remaining male contestant Benjamin Hooker a shot during last Wednesday night's episode of the new NBC reality dating series.

On Tuesday, Reality TV World caught up with Erica, a 24-year-old self-employed songwriter manager from Nashville, TN, to discuss the season and some of her most memorable events to-date -- including whether she was shocked Steele chose Brandee Dillehay over her and then subsequently rejected her offer to give their relationship another shot, why she initially chose to pair up with Steele, how she handled Miles Haefner selecting Heather Pond over her twice throughout the competition, whether she stood by her claim that Steele was scared of commitment, and why she felt the show "nailed it" when it came to developing strong long-lasting relationships. 

Check back with Reality TV World on Wednesday for our additional interview with Steele.

Reality TV World: When Steele asked Brandee to pair up during last week's Couples' Choice ceremony, what was your initial reaction? Were you shocked or did you somewhat see it coming beforehand for any reason?

Erica Scherle: You know what? Honestly, I was shocked. We were getting along great. Yeah, I mean, we just had a great time together and we enjoyed each other's company. It wasn't further than that. So, yeah, switching it up was definitely a shock to all of us and to Brandee as well. I mean, you saw it on her face too.

Reality TV World: Did Steele give you any indication or signs that he was considering switching partners? It came across to viewers like he started to close himself off from you a little bit after the adventure.

Erica Scherle: Right, right. You guys saw what I got. There wasn't really much -- there wasn't a heads-up at all. So, yeah. It was just a little game-playing, I guess. I don't know. It kind of made me think that it was strategic, but then in the end, it wasn't.

So yeah, it was a shock. We were all there to have a good time and absolutely, you know, we were all just there to have a good time. So, switching it up, there were no hard feelings there. But yeah, it was definitely a shock. What you see is what you get. We didn't have a heads-up conversation or anything.

Reality TV World: After Brandee rejected Steele's invitation to pair up, what was going through your mind when you requested his partnership again? Did you just think in the moment that maybe he just got cold feet for a second and realized he had made a mistake, or were you just hoping he'd completely change his mind once you showed how interested you were in remaining a couple?

Erica Scherle: I actually didn't know that was an option! That was kind of one of the first two times people have been sent over to the rejection area right over there during the Couples' Choice Ceremony.

So, I actually didn't know it was an option to ask him back, and when [Love in the Wild host Darren McMullen] said it was, I just said, "Well, might as well. That's not only my chance to get to know Steele again but it was also my chance to stay in the game."

Reality TV World: Can you elaborate more on what your reaction was when Steele declined your offer to remain partners?

Erica Scherle: Ahh, the second time around. Yeah, it never feels nice to be rejected twice, huh?
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Reality TV World: No, and in your final words, you said your ego was really bruised. So were you really that surprised he said no since you were kind of going out on a limb by asking him after he wanted to team up with Brandee, or did it just sting regardless because you guys had a good connection? 

Erica Scherle: The second time around, I wasn't that familiar with how the game was working. It was the first time I ever picked from the reject area over there -- or the unmatched area, sorry -- rejection all the same (laughs). Anyways, yeah, it was interesting.

The second time around, I don't know, I can't say it really hurt or anything but I went out on a limb and took a chance. In the end, it's all a game, so part of it was just taking a chance to stay there longer and get to know everybody.

Reality TV World: You said in your final words that you could tell Steele wasn't ready for a commitment. Do you think anything else went into his decision or do you think that was his sole reasoning behind declining your request to stay partners?

Erica Scherle: Yeah, yeah. The one -- I mean, I talked for hours about my reaction and everything and the one thing that came through was the fact that he was scared of commitment, which I don't know. I don't know him enough to say that at all, but he -- I don't know. My initial reaction to the whole thing is just the fact that, I'd say, we were all just there for a good time.

Yeah, we were all just there for a good time, so at that point, you've gotta realize how tired we are. You're question is did anything else go into Steele's decision, and my answer is that everyone was absolutely tired, honestly. We were doing adventures every other day, and the group was just getting smaller and smaller.

So we were there to have fun, but I'm sure that some other factors went into his decision. I'm sure that they did. I can't say that for him, but I know at that point in time when I was like, "Okay, I'm just ready to get out of there," I know I was just tired.

I was tired of the adventures. I knew there were only three more left, but yeah, it was just a fun group to stay there with and get to know everybody. So it's hard to give up that chance, but at the same time, you gotta respect everybody's decision too.

Reality TV World: You and Steele seemed like you got along great right up until that Couples' Choice Ceremony when you got eliminated. Could you talk about what you saw in him and what you think attracted him to you and could you elaborate on what the dynamic was of your relationship?

Erica Scherle: Yeah! Steele and I had a great time. I think everything was very light-hearted. Our conversations were always joking and you know, not much to it. We didn't really have these deep conversations. We were just there to hang out and have a good time, and yeah, not much to it. We just enjoyed each other's company. We got through the adventures really well too.

Reality TV World: Why did you initially pick Steele to be your partner? Was it simply a physical attraction that drew you to him? Because as you knew, he hadn't been doing so well in the challenges.

Erica Scherle: Right! Yeah, I mean, obviously there was a physical -- he was the best looking guy there, so I wanted to get to know that. But deep down too, he was a great guy. It was fun to get to know him and yeah. There's more to him than physical, definitely.

Reality TV World: Why do you think Steele is so bad at the challenges? Do you think it was bad luck or lack of focus, and why do you think things turned around for you guys during last week's adventure when you came in second place?

Erica Scherle: There are so many different elements to those challenges. I mean, it comes down to luck, it comes down to chance, it comes down to -- in the last adventure, we had to draw a map. So it basically came down to which closest start you got that your map said, so it was chance there and finding the rope ladders. I think a lot of it is just communication with your partner.

You have to constantly constantly be in communication. [Derek Leach] and I were really good at that. Steele and I were too, but it's just about taking initiative to get things done. We finally figured it out and we ended up in second place last week, so that's a good thing.  

Reality TV World: Why did you originally go on the show? Were you looking for a long-term serious relationship or did you think it was just going to be an interesting experience where you could meet new people?

Erica Scherle: Definitely, not everyone gets offered that opportunity of a lifetime, and when it was in front of me, I definitely thought twice. The fact that you're surrounded by people in the entertainment industry and they're like, "Absolutely you're risking your reputation; You're risking everything." Obviously all the risks that you encounter are going off into the unknown.

I mean, we didn't know where we were going, what to expect, anything. So, definitely you take a lot of risks, but it was totally worth it. You learn so much about yourself and I'd say that's why I did it. I did it because of all the unknowns that were factored into it. You just never know what you're going to get out of an experience like this and so, why not? Why not enjoy it?

Reality TV World: When I interviewed Darren a couple weeks ago, he said most of the contestants went on the show because they tried all types of dating and nothing worked out for them. Was that your situation or were things different for you? Did that play any role?

Erica Scherle: I mean obviously we were all without boyfriends -- boyfriends and girlfriends -- so yeah. It's not that we had tried everything, but none of us were dating anybody at the time so it was kind of like a "why not" situation. I believe not everyone was forcing things to happen.

That's what made the cast so great, and I think that that's actually what made a lot of the couples still very relaxing. Nothing was forced, nothing -- nobody was really doing it for TV. It was just those experiences bringing you together.

Reality TV World: Some viewers were surprised that after Miles left you for Heather in the first episode, you wanted to take him back and give him a second chance in the second episode -- and that situation seemed to play out again when Steele attempted to leave you but then you wanted to give him a second shot. Are you normally like that in your relationships or was it just the competitive nature of the game?

Erica Scherle: No, I think it has a lot to do with the nature of the game and understanding the rules. You've gotta understand those Couples' Choice Ceremonies and the unmatched area. Giving people second chances? No, that's not really me.

It just has to do with the game and you've gotta decide if you want to stay and then you've also gotta make it -- you have to take into account also if you want to stay with the right person. So, that's when the second chances become involved.

Reality TV World: What made you pick Miles initially and then what made you decide to give him that second chance after he had left you for Heather the first time? Were you unsure about how much he liked Heather and unaware of how well they hit it off because they've remained together on the show ever since, or did you just like him a lot and were ready to put up a fight for him and kind of steal him back?

Erica Scherle: Right. Right. Well, we had so much down time also on the show, so all of us hung out a lot. Heather and I, and also Miles and I, we became friends. I didn't want to stay there maybe if there wasn't a connection with Miles, at least I knew we were friends.

At least I knew that we could get through the adventure together. As part of that, he was able to stay and get to know Heather longer. So, it worked out perfectly for both of us.

Reality TV World: Looking back now, what do you think about Miles and Heather as a couple? Do you have any insight as to what made them tick and could you see them lasting together in the future?

Erica Scherle: Oh, I think they are the cutest couple by far -- by far. I know that they have a lot in common and they take things very light-hearted and they just have fun. Humor is a big part of their relationship and I know that's important to a lot of us who were there.

We just had a lot of laughs and had a good time. I definitely see them lasting together in the future, hopefully. We'll have to see how it all unfolds.

Reality TV World: Why did you initially pick Jason Jackson and why do you think things didn't work out between you?

Erica Scherle: Hmm, when I initially picked Jason, that was my chance not to go home. When you look at how the game unfolds, it really just has to do with -- it came down to [Jared Ines] and Jason at that Couples' Choice Ceremony -- and we heard from [Dawn Christ Jaener] how Jared just wasn't that strong in the challenge, and at that point, it was still early on in the game and I wanted to stay there and get to know everybody.

So, at that point, it was easier to go with somebody who I knew was a little bit stronger in the challenges. That was my reason for picking Jason.

Reality TV World: Jason and Jessica Soares seemed to be a very opposite match. Jessica said Jason just worked too hard for her and went over the top to win her affection -- basically meaning he was annoying her. Did you feel the same way about Jason and what do you think he could have done differently to win girls over?

Erica Scherle: Hmm, poor Jason. Jason's the sweetest thing. I love Jessica's quote when she was saying, "I told him he needs to pump the brakes and he freakin' floored it." That was my favorite. I think that sums up everything. Jessica said it all.

Reality TV World: You rejected Peter Paris' invitation to pair up during the second episode. Why was that and do you regret the decision now?

Erica Scherle: I hated to see Peter go home. I still think about that. I think at that point I was in the place where I was so ready to be with someone that I actually really, really liked and someone that I could actually have a chance with or something -- someone that I could actually enjoy their company, because I had had such a rough week with Jason.

So, I hated to see him go. I just didn't think that we could really hit it off. I know we could go through the jungle and have a lot of laughs and have fun, but at that point, I just wanted to enjoy somebody's company -- not go through another miserable week like I had with Jason. (Laughs)

Reality TV World: What are your thoughts on the last three couples that are left? After you were eliminated, who did you think had the best shot at winning and why?

Erica Scherle: I would have to say Miles and Heather. I think they're going to go a long way, especially because of the fact they communicate well, I think they both motivate each other, and they've just got the winning factors -- all of those key, key elements that not only make a relationship but also make you win the show. So, I'd love to see them win. I'd love to see them go a long way.

Reality TV World: Samantha Woods and Mike Spiro seem to be one of the tightest couples on the show and have no interest in getting to know anyone else. They've been together since Day 1, so why do you think that is? What is it about their relationship that has kept them going strong and why do you think they've been such a good match?

Erica Scherle: I think that goes back to the communication factor. They talk everything out. You can see that on the show and I wasn't even aware of that. When something was wrong, Mike brought it up and would be like, "Hey, let's talk about this."

In the surroundings that we were at and all the people that were there, it's very easy to avoid anything that's going on with your partner. So, the fact that they take time to talk to things out, I think that brings them closer and they still, again, we're all together and they still got a lot of one-on-one time.

Even when they're at the cabins with us, they take time and do a little one-on-one time and everything. So, it definitely brought them closer and they just had a bond. What I love is that all the other contestants on the show completely respected that.

Reality TV World: What can you tell us about Theresa Trujillo and Skip Sullivan because we really haven't seen a lot of them. Darren told me viewers haven't seen much of them because their relationship was kind of X-rated or too intense for cameras. Do you agree with that or do you think they were just a boring couple? 

Erica Scherle: Oh, you know, I think they've been a great couple. I know they got along well. Skip's funny and has a lot of laughs and so does Theresa. So, as friends, they're great. As far as their relationship, I honestly didn't know that much about it.

They were together and like I said about Samantha and Mike, people respected them. They're together and that's their thing, and it all comes down to the challenges, you know? It's not for us to judge how they're getting along. It's just the fact they do get along and they always did great in the challenges too.

Reality TV World: What was your reaction when Darren announced that all the pairs were going to be split up when so many of you had already established strong connections. Do you think that hurt your relationship with Steele or strengthened it, and do you think it damaged the show's credibility at all for its premise of wanting its contestants to really find love?

Erica Scherle: The show's credibility in finding real love, I think they nailed it. You've got to actually survive out there, compete, do these challenges -- so you've got the competition element, but you also are going through a whole day of this adventure of which they show five minutes of.

You're going through there and you're completely learning so much about yourself and so much about the other partner. It is forced out of you. You are forced to communicate, you are forced to work together, and all those characteristics that take you three years to learn in a relationship, you learn in two hours.

So, it definitely fast forwards everything to the point where you just have to learn each other to get through those adventures. So switching it up was definitely just a shock. It was a shock to all of us. It was the first time I was really truly, truly just jaw-dropped shocked on the show.

But at that point, we were all friends and I think it didn't work out the way Darren wanted it, because I think we all did -- we all just respected each other a lot. So, I felt like I was just borrowing somebody's partner and in that case, it was Derek and Jess were partnered up.

And I got partnered up with Derek and that worked out well for me because I was able to stay there longer because Derek and I placed third, I believe, but it didn't work out too well for Derek (laughs). 

[Editor's Note: Derek was automatically eliminated from Love in the Wild's fifth episode after he injured his foot during an adventure and was physically no longer capable of competing.]

Reality TV World: You've mentioned a couple times how exhausting the challenges were. Would you say going on the adventures truly helped you guys form relationships or did the challenges just make everything more tense than it needed to be between partners?

Erica Scherle: Oh, the challenges were great. The way they were designed, the timing of them, everything. Going through that with your partner, like I said, it really fast forwards that connection. On the foundation, either A.) you have a connection or B.) you don't.

It's as simple as that, and if you can just work through it and get through the challenges, you learn the characteristics of yourself. You learn what it takes, you learn what you have, and you learn what your other partner has or doesn't have.

It's all that contributing equally, it's all about taking initiative, it's about keeping each other motivated -- there's so many different factors that are both emotional, mental and physical. It all goes in there and you really do find out if you're compatible or not.

Reality TV World: While you were on the show, how much of you was looking forward to the adventures and potential rewards versus the time you got to spend just relaxing in the pool and bungalows talking and getting to know everyone afterwards? 

Erica Scherle: That's the thing about the reward -- getting to the Oasis. You really just don't want to go unless you can go with the person you're with. I would have loved it and I think Steele and I were joking back and forth that we were out of shampoo at that point. We were out of a lot of things and we would have just loved to go to the Oasis.

I would have loved to go there, but it was also fun to just sit there and hang out with the rest of the group too. Going to the Oasis also minimizes your time with the rest of the crew, obviously. So, you don't get to know what's going on for the next day.

You don't get to know what's going to go on before the elimination ceremony. So you miss out on a lot of gossip, you miss out on all the news of who's getting along and who's not. But yeah, you definitely want to look forward to that reward. You just want to make sure that you enjoy it with somebody.

Reality TV World: Have you kept in touch with Steele or anyone else since the show?

Erica Scherle: Yeah, I have kept in touch with a lot of people. We still actually talk -- Steele as well. We always had such a light-hearted conversation, and humorous joking back and forth and joking back and forth with the rest of the cast. I know Ben came across kind of strongly on the show, but he's got one of the funniest sense of humors out of all of us.

It's funny. It's funny to get to know them and I travel a lot and have seen some of the cast. It's been fun. You make lifelong friends on an experience like this because you can only share it with 19 other people.

Reality TV World: Are you currently still single, dating anyone, or looking for a serious relationship?

Erica Scherle: (Laughs) I'm currently still just also getting to know myself, but Steele helped a lot. Yeah. I think I'm still just looking around. There's always one eye open. I'm always looking around. (Laughs)

Reality TV World: This may sound a little silly, but how did you decide what to pack clothing wise for the show? Did they give you any guidelines on what to bring and how much of a process was it to go about making your selections?

Erica Scherle: You know, that was the biggest process throughout this whole show. It was the packing and the preparation, because there were a lot of unknowns. You basically just give up all control and try to be prepared for what you don't know is coming. You'll see in the show that we had to wear long pants.

There's so much, even in the heat, it's good to wear long pants because of the fact you could get cut all the time and going through the tall grass, you never know what's around your ankles. All that kind of stuff.

So, that was probably my most important thing that I packed -- the long pants to wear in the jungle (laughs). But packing was definitely, definitely a process and even more of a process when we had to move it.

When we get there, we find out we're sharing cabins and then on top of that, we had to move every time we switched partners. We had to move all that luggage. So, it was definitely a complete process. But in the end, totally worth it. I think I was prepared, somewhat.

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.