Now the University of Pennsylvania dental school graduate is back to star in the new season of The Bachelorette. While speaking with reporters Wednesday, the Maine native repeatedly referred to the experience as a "rollercoaster" – and played it coy when asked whether or not she found love. Just days after wrapping her season, the Bachelorette looks back at her journey.
How did you decide to become the next Bachelorette?
When I was first approached about it, I thought – no question in my mind – absolutely I would do it if everything worked out. Then I started to question, "Am I strong enough for this? Am I at a good place in my life for this? I'm going to have to take more time off school." I just weighed the pros and cons. Then at the end of the day, I realized that I wanted to do it and the pros outweighed the cons.
What was it like being on the other side of things?
Going into it, I knew that I'd have a whole other set of hard times, but I didn't expect it to be as difficult as it was ... I guess I prefer to be on this side, but it was not easy at times – that's for sure! ... When I was on The Bachelor, I felt like I kind of had nothing to lose. You're going into it open minded and you're excited about the experience. Walking into this one, it's more serious and there's a lot more things I have to figure out. There's a lot more pressure.
What was your first impression of the men who were selected for you?
I didn't know what to expect, but after the guys walked out of the limo, I was blown away. At that point, I didn't know them that well, but physically, they were gorgeous to me. And then after getting to know them, [I realized] I have some great guys – I personally think the best that they've ever had.
How would you compare the men on your season to Brad, and do you feel comfortable now saying Brad was not the right man for you?
Brad is a great guy, but I think we both needed different things in our lives. After meeting all of these men, I realized how Brad wasn't the best fit for me – and I wasn't the best fit for Brad. I definitely see a lot of things in these men that I think are better suited for me and my personality and my lifestyle ... One of the big things about Brad is he was older and he's very settled in [his life]. I was looking for somebody to create a life with, a new life together.
What qualities were you looking for in particular with the men on your season?
I went into it saying I wanted just a good man and somebody who's loyal and a family man. I think as time went on, there were more things that I saw in the guys that I wanted. But most importantly, what I realized is I wanted somebody that made me feel good and made me feel like a woman, made me feel like I was able to be vulnerable.
Did you go into this thinking that if you met the right man, you'd be ready to get married?
I knew that if I were to meet the right person, I would be ready – but only if I were to meet somebody who made me feel like I was ready. Going into this, I definitely had the mindset that I know I have my career in place [and] I feel really good with where I'm at on a personal level.
Ali Fedotowsky and Brad both said they fell for their chosen ones pretty early on in the process. Did you have a frontrunner from the beginning?
There were points in time where I thought that I had a frontrunner and, you know, things change quickly … They go up and down and back and forth.
Will there be lots of heartbreak this season?
Yeah, I feel like with every Bachelor and Bachelorette, there are broken hearts. It's no different. It goes both ways.
Are you happy, did you find love, or are you engaged?
Well, all those questions are things you'll have to tune in to find out! But I will say I'm happy with the way things turned out for me.