Exclusive: Jesse Wilson talks about his 'Love in the Wild' experience (Part 3)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/16/2012
Love in the Wild contestant Jesse Wilson was eliminated during a recent broadcast of the NBC reality dating competition's fifth second-season episode.
Jesse was ousted from the show after his partner Michelle Sacco chose to pair up with former flame Benjamin Clark instead of pursuing their own relationship, and he was left partnerless in the "unmatched area" alongside Ali Leitza, Ryan Smith and Jenna Gillund. Ali, who held Jesse's attention and interest throughout his time on the show, had a chance to choose between Jesse and Ryan at the end of the ceremony but opted out of the opportunity and chose to eliminate herself.
Last week, Jesse, a 33-year-old from Oakdale, CA who currently resides in Manhattan Beach, CA, talked to Reality TV World about his Love in the Wild experience and all the drama that surrounded his name during the course of the season -- including what his thoughts were on Kenneth Barrington, why he felt like his intentions in the competition were completely misunderstood and whether he's currently single or in a relationship.
Below is the third and final portion of our exclusive interview with Jesse. To read the first portion, click here. To read the second part, click here.
Reality TV World: What was your overall impression of Ken while you were on the show and did you guys ever squash your beef?
Jesse Wilson: Nope, never squashed the beef. Him and I wouldn't get along in normal day-to-day life. It's just, we have two different personalities. He comes off the way he comes off on TV a little bit, to be honest. He just, I don't know. I don't have any negative feelings towards him other than being very upset at the way he went about things -- the way he aired dirty laundry.
He just kept worrying about me like I really gave a sh-t what he thought or his relationship. I had no interest in [Yanina Beccaria]. She's awesome and she's a beautiful girl -- an athlete, smart -- everything you could possibly want in a girl. But it just wasn't my style. I had no interest in stealing her away from him, you know?
And that's why I was so upset when he kept calling me scheming and strategizing. My whole strategy was to get people with the people they were supposed to be with in the end. Ken and Yanina, never touched them, never talked to them about changing or anything, because I knew they were together from Day 1. There were no issues that I could see and no reasons to break them up.
A couple of other people obviously, there were reasons to find to help them get with the people they wanted to be with. And my ultimate goal was to switch around people so that I could be with Ali, and that finally happened. Some of the people took it as scheming even though some of those people, I helped get together with my "scheming," which is strategizing.
Reality TV World: When I talked to Vanessa Ramirez, she said more went down than what viewers got to see at the Couples Choice Ceremony where you and Ken fought. She said some people, like Jenna for example, got very emotional because they didn't want to see Vanessa and Jason Ewell go home. Could you talk a little bit about what went down and what your reaction to the people who got really upset over your decision was?
Jesse Wilson: That's very true. There was a lot more conversation, a lot more -- a couple other contestants also interjected, Jenna being one of them. She turned to me and she said, "Jesse..." -- and Michelle, also at this point, didn't really know. We hadn't talked and all she heard was all this stuff from other people, this hearsay, like, "Jesse's going to scheme and try to do all these things."
So a couple people, who really didn't know Jenna and I, had a conversation about her. They thought that I was genuinely there to be spiteful and stick around just to win, regardless of the cost. The only one I really remember is Jenna turning around and she said something about, "You shouldn't be here if there's no love for you, and you're going to take that away from Jason and Vanessa."
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And that's really what kicked in and made me a lot more emotional than the Ken argument, and this played into all the character bashing and getting so upset, because I had no intention of kicking those two off.
And when I said -- Ken said something about, "You're going to kick two people off who deserve to have a relationship," I said there was a whole other world out there. That was meant as life's not going to end after this reality show. They're very close together in proximity. One's in Arizona, one's in California. They could still have a relationship. Two days from now, tomorrow, they could have a relationship.
The fact of the matter is, they came in last. Their fate is in our hands. So if they came in a higher place and I was taking it away from them, then there should be more of an argument or more of a conversation, and it would make me feel even worse than I did. But that's not the case. They were in last place.
I meant no disrespect, no ill feelings towards them. But I made the choices I made out of respect for one of my now-best friends -- who he told me was his girl -- and I did that for that reason alone. And Jenna, she said the same thing Ken said to me. She said, "You deserve to go home and they deserve to stay."
And I stated my decision once again, and I said, "That's not the reason I did it. I didn't do it to kick Vanessa and Jason off." And I said, "But I'm sorry that that's the way it happened. But that's what's going to happen, but I didn't mean it that way. And they are in last place."
And that's kind of the decision -- or that's kind of the fate that they had created for themselves. Yeah, that conversation really did take a lot longer than you saw -- probably like an hour long.
Reality TV World: So it sounds like you definitely thought some people had overreacted in the situation, right?
Jesse Wilson: Without a doubt, and some people reacted without knowing my intentions. Some people didn't really think about it in, I guess, that more logical way of they came in last. That's part of the game -- not game -- but that's part of the situation. And yeah, some people's responses were, "Well what makes Ben and Michelle more worthy than Jason and Vanessa?"
And my response was, "Nothing other than Ben and Michelle came in second place. Jason and Vanessa came in last. So if you're playing by those rules alone, they deserve to stay."
Reality TV World: Are you dating now or still single? And how do you think your portrayal on Love in the Wild will affect your dating life either positively or negatively?
Jesse Wilson: (Laughs) Last one's a tough one! I'm still single unfortunately, although I hate dating in L.A. But as far as whether the show affected my dating life either positively or negatively, I don't think that it really has much of an affect at all, to be perfectly honest with you. This is L.A., and where I live, no one really puts a whole lot of stock in that sort of thing.
Maybe if I lived in a small town in the Midwest or another city where it's such a big deal, some people would think I'm what most people thought I was the first half of the season.
The schemer who only cared about getting with every girl and all this B-S -- how I was portrayed if you will -- half the people would see that it's an indication [of who I am] based on what happened in the last couple of episodes, and that's not really who I was.
I was there for two reasons. And I think it was portraying me ultimately positive and affect me ultimately positive in a dating life if I lived somewhere else. I don't think it had much of an affect here.
Reality TV World: Is there anything else you'd like to add that you wanted to say but didn't get a chance to, or something you'd like to touch on that I didn't ask you?
Jesse Wilson: I am 100% percent "Team Ben and Michelle!"
Above is the third and final portion of our exclusive interview with Jesse. To read the first portion, click here. To read the second part, click here.