We’re 7 weeks in, and as Lee starts to form stronger relationships with each of the ladies, it’s bound to get more difficult to let each one go.
Each week sees fewer roses waiting to be distributed at the rose ceremony and this week it was Michelle D and Edith who didn’t receive roses and who had to bid farewell to the Bachelor mansion.
I chatted to both of them about their Bachelor SA experience, and I have to say, that their bubbly warmth was absolutely delightful. I could have talked to them for hours!
Who can forget Michelle stepping out of that limo and presenting Lee with, of all things, a cake?! She tells me how nerve-racking that was and how focused she was on the red carpet, while silently repeating to herself ,“Don’t drop the cake!” Of course it was Lee himself who dropped it as soon as Michelle entered the mansion. She says she actually heard it, but thought, “At least it wasn’t me that dropped it!” After rehearsing in her mind what she’d say to Lee when she first met him, she hadn’t actually reckoned on his response. So when he did reply to her greeting, she was a bit stunned and didn’t know what to say to him.
Similarly, Edith (who was one of the first ladies to meet Lee) says she also kept rehearsing in her head what she’d say when she met him for the first time. She remembers trying to just focus on how to walk and then suddenly he’s there in front of you. She says you’re so determined to look good and say all the right things, but when then when you meet him, you realise he’s just as nervous as you are.
Talking about all that pressure, with the spotlight being on you, and all those nerves, I asked if the girls, and even Lee himself, had any kind of preparation for this type of attention before participating in the show. They assured me that they did receive as much help as possible beforehand, and throughout. It’s not something you can enter into lightly, and you need to know (as much as is possible) what to expect and that there’s support available to get you through it, especially as you’re cut off from your usual support networks like your family and friends.
When it came to strategy, Edith says that she wanted to have one but reminded herself that she’d function optimally if she was authentically herself.
For Michelle, her strategy was to be truthful to who she is. She went in telling herself not to hate, criticise or judge and this is what she pursued throughout. She endeavoured to get along with everyone and to always be respectful. As she explains it: “After all, we’re all dating the same guy!” She wouldn’t have done anything differently and says that she learnt a lot about herself along the way. She’s very clear about the fact that everyone has their own journey on the show, and most importantly, she made amazing friends.
Edith too has no regrets and wouldn’t change the way she did anything. She pauses though and then says that maybe she could have let go a little more.
Michelle did find it frustrating that she never got to go on a one-on-one date with Lee, but feels that they did reach a good understanding. This was definitely evident in her farewell to him, and one got the impression that the basis of a solid friendship was formed here.
And why did they even enter a show like this?
Edith explains that it wasn’t simply about Lee. “We’re also looking for someone out there,” she says. “This is just a different platform on which to do that.” She goes on to say that how you look isn’t a factor. You need to ask yourself what your ultimate goal is, and unless you put yourself out there and go for it, how do you know it’s not for you? “I could have done myself a great injustice if I hadn’t tried this. It’s a huge lesson, not to be so hard on yourself.”
Michelle’s response was completely different. To quote her directly: “I entered for shits and giggles.” She claims that she was constantly being asked the question ‘Why aren’t you married?’ At the time she entered she was 33, feeling overworked and wrung out by the continual hounding from everyone about her single status. One night, working late, the Bachelor SA ad popped up on her computer screen and she decided to fill in the entry form. She then screen-grabbed her entry and sent it to everyone – all her naysayers – telling them she’d taken matters into her own hands. And then she forgot about it… until she started getting through each round, and finally made it onto the actual show. She’d actually tried to enter the US Bachelor back in 2011 but was denied entry as she wasn’t a US citizen.
And what about life after The Bachelor SA? I wondered how Michelle and Edith’s perceptions may have changed about life, the universe and everything else?
According to Edith, the show definitely changes how you see yourself. She says that you’re made to feel so special, and you’re reminded that love really does exist. But she also says that you learn what people think of you and how you come across to others – she makes a passing reference to her ‘resting bitch face.’
She goes on the talk about how the show proves that we all deserve that someone who will go to extreme lengths to impress you, but at the same time it lends you a sense of empowerment in making someone want to do that for you. And most importantly, you learn to laugh at yourself.
Michelle describes the intense experience that the show is, and being that it is such a full-on experience, it absolutely has to change you on some level, which is a positive thing.
And once again the warmth and camaraderie that was created between all the ladies in the mansion was something that was spoken about with enormous enthusiasm. The time that they spent together and the bonds that were formed have been life-changing and immensely rewarding for all of them.
The Bachelor SA is screened on M-Net Channel 101 every Thursday evening at 19:00 and is also available on Catch-Up. Fans can visit www.mnet.tv/thebachelorsa and follow all the breaking news and conversations around the show on Twitter @MNet #TheBachelorSA and on the official M-Net Facebook page.
The Bachelor SA is produced by Rapid Blue and proudly sponsored by dotsure.co.za, a product of Oakhurst Insurance Company Limited (FSP 39925) and Oakhurst Life (FSP 44793), authorised financial services providers.