Bounced from ‘Bachelorette’

Vancouver man puzzled by early departure from reality TV show

By Mary Ann Albright, Columbian Staff Reporter

Published:

 

If viewers of the ABC reality television show “The Bachelorette” were surprised by Jon Ellsworth’s decision to greet Ashley Hebert by throwing her over his shoulder, they’d have been shocked by his initial plan.

Ellsworth originally planned to introduce himself to Hebert in a tear-away suit. He’d rip it off and be wearing nothing but a Speedo.

Last-minute jitters caused him to reconsider.

Ellsworth, a 2003 Mountain View High School graduate currently taking online classes through Clark College, was one of 25 contestants on the seventh season of “The Bachelorette.” He is a 26-year-old Vancouver resident and co-founder of the online business peeka.com, which allows people to get discounts on popular consumer products.

The show premiered a week ago, and though Ellsworth was not one of the 18 suitors to receive a rose from Hebert and move on in the competition, he has been getting lots of attention ever since.

“My phone’s been blowing up every day, every minute,” Ellsworth said.

He’s also been hearing from fans of the show through social networks.

“A lot of viewers have messaged me saying, ‘Oh, we liked you. We wish you would have gotten a rose,’” Ellsworth said.

Things didn’t go his way, and Ellsworth is still recovering from the disappointment of being eliminated from the show. However, he said he wouldn’t change a thing about the way he presented himself on “The Bachelorette.”

He recently talked with The Columbian about what it was like being on the show, what he thought of some of the more wacky contestants, and what’s next for him.

The following interview has been edited for space and clarity.

Did you have a viewing party to watch last Monday night’s episode? What was it like seeing yourself on TV?

About 20 people came to my house. We all got together, had hors d’oeuvres, some drinks, and all sat around the TV and joked about it. We all had a good time.

You picture yourself being a little different than what you see on TV, like the way you talk, the way you move. It’s weird. You see a different person, I think.

ON TV

“The Bachelorette” airs at 8 p.m. Mondays on ABC, local Channel 2. For more information, go to the show's website.

It was fun watching myself on television, but there were a lot of moments that I wish were captured that weren’t shown.

But I’m pleased with the way the first episode went. It was fun to watch on television, and I wouldn’t change anything.

When and where did you film, and what was it like?

We filmed earlier this year in Los Angeles. It was a lot different than anything I’ve ever experienced before. There’s a lot of confidentiality in terms of how you handle the entire show. We have no contact with anyone back home as soon as we get into Los Angeles. I was there for four days, and it’s really intense. Right from the get-go we’re talking about what our introductions might be, we’re doing photo shoots, interviews, we’re kicking everything off.

That first night viewers saw on the premiere, we get in the limo and we show up at the house for the first time, and we see the Bachelorette, and that’s one of the most surreal experiences. You’re seeing everything through that tinted limo window. Stepping out of the limo is a really crazy time in your life. Nothing else in the outside world really matters anymore except your debut seconds on national television. It’s really intense, but it’s really fun, too.

Why did you decide to go on “The Bachelorette”?

I was dating a local girl. I got a “Dear John” email from her. She was breaking up with me. I got about halfway through the message, I flipped on the television, and it was the Andrew Firestone season of “The Bachelor.” I read through the rest of the email and confirmed it was a breakup email, went back and watched the rest of that episode with Andrew Firestone, then I went to the “Bachelor” website and applied and things really took off from there. This was in August.

Going into “The Bachelorette,” you said on the show’s website that Arnold Schwarzenegger was your favorite actor and the person you’d most like to be for a day. Given his recent scandal, do you still feel that way?

I would definitely answer differently. Those questions actually came up in January. I knew that some scandals were surfacing at that time, but knowing how things progressed, I would definitely choose differently. I’d be Jimmy Fallon for a day. It would be fun to have his job for a day and make people laugh, and I think he’s pretty funny.

What is Bachelorette Ashley Hebert like?

Ashley was really nice. She was really spunky and full of personality. She looked great. I think she’s everything we imagined she would be. She’s kind of the full package. It’s tough for her to really get to know all 25 guys the first night, so there are really no hard feelings there at all. I hold no grudges at all because I know what kind of a position she must be in. I really do wish her the best of luck.

Would you want to be the next Bachelor?

I don’t know what the chances of that happening are, but I would absolutely take that opportunity.

Do you believe it’s possible to find lasting love on a reality-television show?

Yeah, absolutely. Of course, the TV shows, they have a way of finding the drama and maybe finding a lot of the aspects of the show that might make it seem hard for people to find love on a reality TV show, but I definitely think it’s possible to find love. In the period of time you have for filming and finding love, you’re actually together quite a bit of time, you’re in romantic settings, you’re on adventures. You’re getting to know each other on a whole other level than what you would in your typical day-to-day routine.

What did you think of some of the more controversial contestants: Bentley with his dubious motives, Tim who passed out drunk and Jeff, the masked man of mystery?

I don’t think any of the 25 guys in the house knew about all that so-called drama with Bentley the first night. I don’t think anyone knew about that at the cocktail party. That was news to me. I had no idea Ashley knew about it. When I talked to him, Bentley seemed like a nice guy. He seemed like he was there for the right reasons. I couldn’t imagine him pulling a stunt like what I saw in the previews for future episodes. It was unexpected.

Tim was such a nice guy. He was a really sincere guy, really funny, had that New York accent. I would hang out with him outside the show. It’s just unfortunate what happened and how far he took that drinking.

I didn’t think Jeff was the right guy for that mask gimmick. He seemed like a kid on the playground who had the chicken pox and didn’t know how to handle it and everyone pointed and stayed away. But when I did talk to him he was cool, and he seemed pretty down-to-earth, but I just don’t think the mask was really the right thing for him to do.

Of the 18 contestants remaining, who do you think Ashley ultimately picks?

That’s a tough one. If I were to guess who wins, I would say J.P. just because they had the best connection it seemed like. They just seemed to hit it off.

Picking Ashley up and tossing her over your shoulder was a risky way to introduce yourself, but she seemed to like it. Where did you get that idea?

If you think that’s risky, you should have known what I was going to do before that. Before that, I was going to exit the limo, come out in a custom-made suit with snap buttons all the way down the sides of it that producers were going to make for me. At this point I was in the best condition of my life. I was going to throw the suit off and be in a Speedo with an American flag on it to support the troops and introduce myself that way.

It was a last-second call, maybe stage fright, that we weren’t going to do it. I changed my mind. I spent $5,000 on these two suits that I brought down there. I was like no, I’m going to go with the blue pinstriped suit. It’s too James Bond not to wear on the first night. And the Speedo, I want to make history, but at the same time, I don’t want to be the legend of the guy who comes out of the limo in a Speedo and be on every talk show.

So I just picked out my best suit and looked as good as I possibly could picking her up and throwing her over my shoulder. Someone else said I was a Neanderthal with no boundaries, but when I was talking with the producers about it we did consider her boundaries. She’s wearing this dress, she probably took an hour or two to do her hair, we don’t want to have a Janet Jackson moment where something slips.

I was trying to be really careful with her. I set her down, I walked back into the house, and I think they edited this out, but she said, “I like that guy.” I walked in the house and thought “First-impression rose is all mine.” But that wasn’t the case. Not even close.

Why do you think you didn’t get a rose?

I don’t know. I thought I was runner-up for that first-impression rose at least. She said she wished she had a few first-impression roses to be able to give out to several people, but she only had one. To this day, I’m still kind of beside myself that I didn’t get a rose. I thought I was getting a rose for sure. Packing my bags and going to the airport was the last thing on my mind. It was a pretty big shock to me.

You seemed pretty upset to be sent home in the first rose ceremony. How do you feel about it now that some time has passed?

Getting cast for a show like this to me is kind of a big deal. It’s a pretty big accomplishment. I actually had 5-10 minutes with Ashley sitting down where we had our high points and we laughed and we had a good time. I looked a little bland after the editing, but we actually had a great time together. I thought there was no way I’m not going to get a rose. We hit it off, and everything was going exactly the way I wanted it to. So when you do get eliminated, it’s a shocker.

You put your best foot forward since August, speaking to producers and getting everything kicked off and actually getting that phone call saying you’ve been cast and going down there. You get to that moment and the only thing left you can do entering that cocktail party is be yourself and put your best foot forward. When you’re yourself and you put your best foot forward and you don’t get a rose, that’s where it’s like OK, there’s nothing else I could have done.

That’s where I think those tears came from at the very end. Not so much because I was hurt that Ashley didn’t want me. It was more that the adventure I was on was over, and knowing that I won’t even have a chance to connect with Ashley in the future because I was cut short early. I didn’t even have the chance to build that connection with her, show her my true colors. That’s kind of where the frustration and disappointment came from. It was really disheartening and extremely disappointing to be eliminated that early.

To this day, I still have nightmares about it. How did I get eliminated on that first episode? I felt like I performed way better than some of the other guys in the house who got roses. Not only that, but I put a lot of time into that suit. That suit was tailored down to the last thread and sent oversees to get worked on. I tried to look the sharpest in the house, which I thought I accomplished. Today, it’s just a big shock. I’m still beside myself about it. Even looking back and watching the episode, I’m still a little confused as to why I went home.

Are you single? Do you think being on this show will be a boon to your dating life?

I’m dating.

What’s next for you?

I’m just going to be focusing on my business right now. That’s going to be my sole priority. Other than that, I’m out there dating, keeping it positive and being open-minded about the future.

Mary Ann Albright: maryann.albright@columbian.com, 360-735-4507.