There’s a quote that says "only happy people understand love." It’s a quote that rings true with Daniella Thibault. Sitting across the table from me in a coffee shop dressed in a black bodysuit and burgundy trousers, her relaxed demeanor gives nothing away.
And then 10 minutes into our conversation, you can’t help but smile inwardly as she talks openly about romantic love and how she’s still hoping to have her happily-ever-after. It’s an endearing trait, considering what she’s just been through.
These days most people visit bars, clubs or join dating apps to find someone to call their own. Not Thibault, the 25-year-old decided try her luck on the latest season of ‘The Bachelor SA’. The Melkbosstrand-based online marketing business owner was one of 22 women vying for the heart of season 2 bachelor Marc Buckner. Last night’s episode saw her wave goodbye to Buckner and the possibility of finding that one true love after not receiving a rose.
On social media Thibault appeared to be a firm favourite, so it was a huge upset for fans when she left. "I was in shock, I didn’t expect to go home after he assured me that he had feelings towards me. But I was also grateful to end a journey that he didn’t see going any further," she says with no hard feelings.
Now that she’s left the mansion, I asked her to spill the beans. Here’s what she said:
What is it about ‘The Bachelor SA’ that attracted you to the reality show?
DT: I actually watched the first season and thought it was so cute and romantic. You just envision yourself being one of those girls being romanced. It was always in the back of my mind thinking “aw, that would be such a nice thing to get involved in”. So, when I saw the ad for Season 2, I thought, this is my opportunity!
Explain the process of you entering from start to finish?
DT: First of all, I knew there was going to be thousands of females entering so I wanted to show the producers how serious I was by putting together a professional video. I put on a ballgown and basically just showed my personality in the video, saying “I love to dance, I love to laugh.” I think I just came across as being very genuine in the video. After my video entry, I got a call back and went through a range of interviews, until I got the final call back to say that I made it! The whole process felt very quick and probably took a few weeks.
What were your first impressions of Marc when you first met?
DT: I thought he was so cute. He was just standing there with this big smile on his face, and I’m thinking ‘please don’t trip, please don’t trip’. It was very nerve-wracking. It was such a surreal moment because when you look at him, he seems so calm and it calms you down, but your adrenaline is so high at the same time. It was definitely a weird emotion. All you’re trying to do is speak, and then he talks back to you, which you’re totally unprepared for. But overall, I thought he was cute, dressed very well and smelled good.
Did you and the rest of the contestants meet for the first time in the mansion?
DT: We met for the first time in the mansion. You have to understand that you’re surrounded with these intelligent, beautiful women, so I felt very intimidated. I was actually really confused as to why there were all these really great people who were still single, and I didn’t understand it.
Which of the contestants did you take an instant liking to?
DT: Going into the house I think I just gravitated towards the room I was in (purple room) because I spent the most time with them. When you go to bed, it’s not just going to bed – you get to talk about your day with all the girls. It’s kind of like having a slumber party. So you build great connections with them. But as the show goes on, people from your room leave so you start to build relationships with others as well. I was great friends with Greta, Pi, Tamryn and Parushka. So I’m hoping that when all of this is over we can all get together again.
Do you feel that you got to spend enough time with Marc?
DT: No, I felt that it was very difficult. When you’re doing the maths – there’s 22 women and only one man with limited time. At the cocktail evenings, you end up just wanting to have your chance, so we probably only get to spend two minutes with him in total. And even when you have time with him, it’s not quality time because you know you’re going to get interrupted soon. I felt the same about the two group dates that I was invited to. They were really fun and I was grateful for the opportunity, but it wasn’t quality time.
What do you think you could have done differently to stay on the show?
DT: I think I should have watched previous shows first, because now you know that the ladies go in with a strategy, and they do things to keep themselves on the bachelor’s mind for longer. I genuinely just went in thinking ‘he either likes me or he doesn’t.’
Which of the women changed the dynamic in the house once they left the house?
DT: Definitely Nolo, as she brought lots of drama in the beginning. I think everyone was more at ease when she left the house because we never really knew what her motives were.
Were there any cat fights in the house?
Of course there was! 22 woman all in one house you can’t expect it to all be peaceful but most of it was just petty things.
Your best part about being on the show?
DT: I’m very thankful for being on the show. I learnt a lot about myself. I started loving my body because I had no choice but to be comfortable in who I am. I have no regrets. I’ll definitely do it again.
Now that you’re not in the running anymore, what are your feelings towards Marc? Were you in love with him? If so, are you still?
DT: I don’t think I was ever in love with Marc. I think I was very infatuated with him. When you’re in a house and the only target is one man, you have stronger feelings towards him. But being off the show, I can honestly say that I don’t have feelings for him. I still think he’s cute, I still think he has a great heart but I’m not disappointed that we’re not together.
Which of the final women do you think deserves the final rose?
DT: I have three ladies that I really think are there for the right reasons and really have great hearts. First of all, Jessica R was completely in love with him from the get go. And Rikki, she’s beautiful – she’s beautiful on the inside – she’s just a stunning person. And then Marisia as well; she’s a beautiful human being.
Follow Daniella on Instagram: @daniella_thibault
‘The Bachelor SA’ airs on Mnet every Thursday at 7pm