Exclusive: Ken Barrington talks about his 'Love in the Wild' experience (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/01/2012
Ken Barrington and his partner Yanina Beccaria were crowned Love in the Wild's second-season champions during last week's finale of the NBC reality dating series, which featured singles attempting to find love in the Dominican Republic.
As the winning couple, Ken and Yanina received Love in the Wild's second-season grand prize -- an all-expenses paid first class trip around the world for two. The pair beat out runner-up couple Benjamin Clark and Michelle Sacco in the season's grueling final adventure, which took the couples two days to complete.
Last week, Ken talked to Reality TV World about his Love in the Wild experience and relationship with Yanina -- including what was going through his mind when he first saw Yanina, why Ben surprised him towards the end of the season and how the season's final adventure truly went down despite the show's creative editing.
Below is the concluding portion of our exclusive interview with Ken. Click here to read the first half. To read Yanina's interview, click here and here.
Reality TV World: What was going through your mind when Yanina picked you during the premiere episode? Were you automatically attracted to her out of all the girls making their selections, and did you ever think in that moment you'd end up where you are together today?
Kenneth Barrington: Well, first, yes, I did recognize her when they first walked in. I thought she was absolutely gorgeous. She caught my eye immediately, but going back to that first day, there was a little bit of -- well it was frightening actually. I got picked sixth and I was preparing myself to be picked last!
So I do remember just the overwhelming joy when Yanina picked me sixth. I was like, "Woof!" That was pretty stressful. I ended up with a beautiful woman. Let's see if I can make this work.
Reality TV World: Was that a little blow to your ego at that point?
Kenneth Barrington: It's definitely a little blow to your ego. Nobody likes to get picked last, or second to last, but you recognize that in the selection process, it really all boils down to looks. And I'm not foolish enough to believe that I'm a better looking guy than Jesse Wilson or Ben or [Tim Parrish].
Those guys were more attractive than me. Ill never say I'm more attractive than them. So from just a looks standpoint, I got picked sixth! I was the sixth best-looking guy there, oh well. I'm not too concerned with people calling me handsome or unattractive or ugly. Those are kind of silly [things].
Reality TV World: Since you were with Yanina from the very beginning of the season, throughout your time on the show, did you ever have second thoughts about staying with him and not exploring your other options? Did you ever wonder whether you maybe should date around a little bit and if that doesn't work, go back to Yanina and continue your relationship with her? It just seemed like many contestants went through a little dating before discovering who was right for them.
Kenneth Barrington: Not really. Actually, on episode one, I thought it was great that the producers decided to show Mike Sweet and I having a conversation and Mike described what I was doing as putting all my eggs into one basket. I think that was the quote he used, and that was how I felt.
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Right from the get-go, I knew I liked Yanina and it would've gone down hill very quickly if she would've selected Mike. I would've been voted off in the first episode. I really didn't explore my options, no.
Reality TV World: Yanina got very emotional when you and her decided to send Summer Mack and "Chase" Aaron Chase home and keep Ben and Michelle to compete against you in the finale. Viewers understood that you saw Summer and Chase as bigger physical threats, but the show also showed you explaining how you believed Ben and Michelle had a relationship that more closely resembled what you and Yanina had together. So now that you know Summer and Chase are still dating and in love, if you could go back, do you wish you had let them square off against you in the finale although you obviously ended up winning?
Kenneth Barrington: Yeah, it's hard to answer that because I'm so happy with the results, if you ask me, "Do I regret anything," or, "Would I change anything," I don't think I would change any second or any minute of the entire experience. But we are very good friends with Chase and Summer. I think very, very highly of Chase. He and I are friends.
I just got a phone call from him this morning. It would've been fun to compete against them, but knowing that final adventure, I'll tell you that we probably could've gone neck to neck with them on the dispatch radio component of the adventure.
But on the second day of the adventure, Summer and Chase were such superior kayakers compared to Yanina and I that we would've lost that competition and our trip around the world. So, yeah, I'm happy that we made the decision we did.
Reality TV World: You and Yanina said Ben and Michelle's relationship was more like yours than Summer and Chase's relationship was. However, Summer and Chase seemed to think Ben and Michelle's relationship was more about a physical attraction and there wasn't anything much deeper than that. So what made you and Yanina think differently than Summer and Chase? Why did you think Ben and Michelle did have a deep connection?
Kenneth Barrington: They definitely showed more affection than Summer and Chase, and I'll give Ben credit, because he's a non-confrontational type of guy. And when we returned from the Oasis to ask Ben and Michelle and Summer and Chase, "What are you guys thinking?" I think I used the term, "We're here for you to kiss our butts."
So it was during that moment Ben really supported his case, and I had not seen him get combative or really argue until then. That was really telling to me that Ben was fighting for Michelle and kind of attacking Summer and Chase, and he made some good points. But yeah, Summer and Chase just did not show that type of affection.
In hindsight, they were building as strong of a relationship as Ben and Michelle and Yanina and I. They care for each other and are really happy right now. So it was a hard decision.
Reality TV World: I want to talk to you about that final adventure a little bit. How far ahead of Ben and Michelle do you think you arrived at the finish line and what do you think the hardest part of that adventure was for you?
Kenneth Barrington: Well, there was certainly some creative editing for that final adventure. I can tell you that specifically, we started the second day with a 45-minute head start.
Reality TV World: Oh wow!
Kenneth Barrington: Yeah, a 45-minute head start. It was massive.
Reality TV World: So it clearly wasn't the five minutes the show had claimed? (Laughs)
Kenneth Barrington: We smoked them on the first day -- no questions asked. The first part of the adventure, the communication part of the adventure, we beat them so bad on that part of the adventure that I felt like we had won before the sun had even gone down. So, yeah, the truth is, we probably beat Ben and Michelle by at least 45 minutes. We might've even beaten them by an hour.
Reality TV World: So what was up with that scene when it looked like Ben and Michelle had passed you in their kayaks shortly after you had retrieved your floating crate in the water? Did that just never happen? (Laughs)
Kenneth Barrington: (Laughs) I don't know how the hell they got that footage. I don't know what they did. That never happened. Ben and Michelle, when we were on the kayaks, I don't even recall if I ever at one point turned around and saw Ben and Michelle in the distance.
Reality TV World: There was a point in the finale episode when the editing showed you saying something along the lines of, "I think it's all over for me and Yanina now." What was the context of that? Did you say that at another point in the season or something?
Kenneth Barrington: Yeah, I don't recall that interview. I know that I said that, but I don't know. I don't recall. You know how this stuff goes down and I don't think I'm revealing any secrets, but they made it dramatic and it made for a fun ending. But the truth is, when Ben and Michelle were separated and he was giving orders to Michelle in the rice fields, they were just not working well finding those three objects.
And Yanina and I were done with that task probably within 30 minutes. It was mind-blowing how well we did and how poorly Ben and Michelle did. You asked what the hardest part of the adventure was, that was it. If you had a communication breakdown at that point in the adventure, it was over. Your fate was sealed.
Reality TV World: Yanina and I were joking earlier when I talked to her about how she kept repeating during the season that you never listened to her, especially during times -- like the adventures -- when it might've benefited you to do so. So would you talk about that a little bit and do you think you're getting better in that aspect of your relationship?
Kenneth Barrington: Yeah! (Laughs) I realize that at times, I come across a little thick-headed and maybe a little bit like a bully. I don't think that Yanina -- well I hope that she doesn't have nasty thoughts like that about me. My goal was always to push us at a very fast pace and thank God for Yanina, because she was so detail oriented that she was able to capture my mistakes for the most part.
I want to say maybe on the fourth or fifth episode, I really kind of put things into perspective as to how valuable her input was and that she simply was better than I was in following map instructions. There were just numerous things over the adventures that she was just better than me at.
Unfortunately, it took me four episodes to kind of realize that. In the real world though, I think Yanina and I communicate really, really well. We're very respectful of each other's wishes and commands and things like that. So yeah, I hope I listen well!
Reality TV World: Where do you see yourself being with Yanina one, two or maybe even three years from now? Is an engagement or anything like that in your near-future plans?
Kenneth Barrington: Sure! We haven't talked about that. Right now, the real talks that we have are about how we resolve this Chicago, Miami distance. So, thankfully my career allows me to spend some time in Chicago, so we've discussed living situations and things like that -- how we can make it. Like maybe I can spend half-a-year in Chicago and try to get her down in Miami as much as possible.
So really our focus has not been on an engagement and things like that. I think that's kind of putting the cart in front of the horse, but we're really trying to resolve how do we deal with this living situation, and I think I would say that I'll be spending more time in Chicago than I would ever have expected before I met Yanina.
Above is the concluding portion of our exclusive interview with Ken. Click here to read the first half. To read Yanina's interview, click here and here.