On a call with reporters Thursday, Blakeley, who's still single, reflected on her time with Ben Flajnik, Courtney's antics and Casey's sudden departure from her home in Charlotte, N.C.
What went wrong?
I know Ben was attracted to me. We had good chemistry. I was developing real feelings for him. Maybe he developed more emotions for other [girls]. If he wasn't feeling it, it was the best [move] for both of us, but it's never easy for someone to tell you things aren't going the way you think they are.
Was there any indication that he'd pick Rachel over you?
I didn't sense anything was off. I actually got a really good feeling when I showed him the journal and book I made for him. I had something from every place we'd gone and every date.
I wanted him to know I was there for the right reasons. He was like, "Wow this is great. You keep surprising me." It was a little dagger in my back when he gave the rose to Rachel.
Do you regret doing the show?
It was worth it. I'm a very guarded person and that hurts me [when it comes to dating]. I've had good responses from people back home. It's very humbling to have someone get excited to say hi to me.
How does it feel to see other women talking about you, including Rachel calling you tacky?
We were both there dancing the same routine, so if I was tacky then she was tacky, too. I knew there was tension and they'd ostracize me, but I didn't think they were saying such mean things. I tried to keep my focus on Ben and not worry about the other girls but it was hurtful.
Were you shocked to see the Casey controversy?
I was completely taken aback because I got to know her, became friends and yet had no clue that she was even in the situation.
Courtney's all about using her sexuality to score Ben. Will this be a successful tactic?
There are so many pretty girls there and they're distractions. I don't think sex appeal and aggression are going to win his heart, but you have to put yourself out there and make yourself stand out.
What's your take on the skinny-dipping?
Personally, I wouldn't go skinny-dipping in front of America and cameras. But if I was in a relationship and the two of us were on a trip, that's a different story.
It's awesome that he's outgoing but it would have helped if he'd thought about the repercussions. It would have hurt me if I was the one he proposed to and then saw [that].
What about going topless?
My insecurities would have said, "Don't take your top off." At the same time, they were in Panama and that's how they live. But it's awkward [in the group setting]. But that's Courtney.
Who is best for Ben?
Nikki is a good choice. She's real and down-to-earth. She knows what it's like to be married. She wants the same things as Ben. They'd make a good fit.
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