Opera diva Sharleen Joynt, 29, delivered the drama during her stint on the 18th season of The Bachelor.
Oh, boy, did she ever! Too smart to play the game of love with bachelor-hunk Juan Pablo Galavais (but warm-blooded enough to enjoy his advances) Joynt stunned audiences with her frank assessment of their potential longevity (nil) and her decision to leave the show early rather than vie for the final rose.
FLARE caught up with the 29-year-old Ottawa native in NYC, where she’s rehearsing for the Metropolitan Opera’s upcoming production of Arabella. The amiable beauty let loose on everything from Juan Pablo’s bad rap, to that awkward first kiss, and whether or not she still wishes she were “more dumb.”
Juan Pablo Galavais has been called the worst bachelor in the history of the show. Does he deserve that title? No. But I know him personally. I think that unless you know someone personally it’s a little harsh to say anything like that. I feel even more strongly that way since being on the show and having people say horrible things about me. I just don’t think it’s anyone’s place to judge.
How is he being misunderstood?
I think he’s stubborn and at this point being intentionally defiant. He doesn’t want to give them what they want to hear just because he knows they want to hear it. There is something like a petulant child about that but at the same time does that make him ‘the worst bachelor in Bachelor history’? I don’t think so.
Maybe he’s too much of a guy? Not enough of a ‘Bachelor’ and too much of a guy.
Yeah, something like that. It was painful watching that finale because I thought it’s one hour of your life, so just soften it a little. You don’t have to say I love you but soften it and then you can move on with your life. But he seemed like he was really over it.
Have you spoken to him since then?
After that episode we, and a bunch of Bachelor alumni, went out and hung out. It was fun, but it’s not like we talk on the phone or anything. We’ve tweeted at each other here and again, but…
Is it awkward to see him again? Does it feel like you’re seeing an ex?
Not really because there is something kind of otherworldly about the experience. It doesn’t really feel like it happened in this world [laughing]. That sounds really bizarre, but it’s like you had a dream and then you woke up and you realize quickly that it wasn’t real.
You and Juan Pablo definitely had chemistry, or seemed to..
Yeah, I’m not saying what we had wasn’t real, but to consider him an ex-boyfriend is a little…
It’s a stretch, I guess. You did have chemistry on the show. Why wasn’t that enough for you?
I have said that I would have happily dated him. He’s someone that I could have dated and called my boyfriend, but I knew that hometown dates were coming up. Could I realistically introduce him to my parents as a potential husband? I knew that at that point I’d be faking it. I’d be officially acting and up to that point I had been completely myself. That was like drawing the line in the sand there.
When did you decide you wanted to leave the show? Was there a moment?
I wouldn’t say there was one key moment where I was like, ‘Oh, he doesn’t get me’. It wasn’t like that. I had a lot of doubt from day one and each week I was less and less confident that what we had was something sustainable. I would say that probably there was a conversation in New Zealand on the group date where I just felt like every ball I was throwing he misunderstood me so we would just start making out.
Yes. When in doubt, make out.
Exactly. And I mean there are times when you aren’t in the mood for that and you just want to have a talk [laughing].
How does it feel to make out on TV?
The first kiss was excruciating to watch and it was also excruciating to be a part of. I knew it was a horrible kiss. I didn’t know what to do; I was so uncomfortable; I didn’t feel ready to kiss him; I was pretty sure the other girls could see us; I was wearing red lipstick; the lights were super-bright, and the cameras were just metres away from us. There were eight cameras like right in your face. And so whenever people criticize that kiss I’m kind of like, ‘what would you do in that situation’?
In your farewell you said, “I wish I was more dumb”. Do you still wish that?
I got a lot of flak for saying that. I think a lot of people thought it was directed at him, but I really didn’t mean that at all. It was sort of taken out of context. We were talking about living day to day, and for me I’m a total over-analyzer, like I have to take sleeping pills otherwise my brain just won’t shut off. So, we were more talking in that realm where I was like, I wish I were dumber.
That’s more self-critical.
Yes, it’s similar to [the expression] ‘ignorance is bliss’ but a little sweeter, I think. But at the same time, do I actually wish that? Of course not! I mean there are certainly moments where you fantasize about that. I also hate the way it sounded. A lot of people thought I sounded like I was so painfully intelligent.
Yeah, it’s sort of ‘if only I could relate to you idiots better’.
Yeah, that’s not how I meant it! I’m just so self-critical. I’m the kind of person that if I think I’ve said something that could’ve possibly been misunderstood or misinterpreted earlier in the day I’ll be kept awake about it in the night and send whoever I said it to a text message saying ‘I hope you didn’t misunderstand me’.
Bachelor host Chris Harrison praised you for being one of the more interesting contestants. Why do you think you stand out?
He called me ‘the most intriguing contestant of all time’. That’s really extreme. I just say what I think and it’s amazing how few people do that I guess, really, when you think about it. I’m the kind of friend that if I meet a friend’s boyfriend for the first time but I actually didn’t like him I’ll just tell her that. It can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but other times it can be refreshing.
It is refreshing because most of the women watching the show are making fun of it—the hot tub, etc.
Oh my god, yes. When I used to watch it was like full-blown guilty pleasure. Not a single part of me thought that it was serious.
Who is your ideal man or celeb crush?
You know Topher Grace? He was on That 70s Show. I sort of had a celebrity crush on him for a while because he was smart and nerdy. I think John Krasinski is adorable. I mean what girl doesn’t think that? There’s one other one…the guy who was in Inception…Joseph Gordon Levitt.
Where does finding love fit into your future plans?
The show made me realize it’s a top priority for me. My career has been No. 1 for so long. It’s a really lonely career. I spend a lot of my time living out of my suitcase on my own. I think when I decided to go on the show even that was a light-bulb moment, whether or not it was going to work out for me. Because let’s be honest, it was a 1 in 25 chance and I’m too pragmatic to have thought I was going to be the one. But the fact that I was taking the time off to do this bizarre, incredible thing made me realize that it’s now my top priority, or near it.
Interview by Flannery Dean