Shawntel Newton Expected Ashley to Go Home, Thinks Brad Loves Emily
Was it your idea to take Brad into the funeral home or was it the producers’ idea? Shawntel: You know, it was a little of both. I kind of thought, you know, I just might as well lay all my cards out on the table with Brad. And him coming to Chico — I mean, this is my job, this is what I grew up with and I thought if he wants to get down on his knee and propose to me, he might as well come into the funeral home and see what I grew up around and what I do. So I kind of thought, let’s do this.
Looking back, do you regret that choice at all? Shawntel: No, I don’t regret it at all because usually I don’t take a guy on a first date to a funeral home, but the situation being that we only have so many weeks to fall in love — and I was falling in love with Brad — I thought, well, this is going to be it. And it’s kind of like I said on TV, it’s the final test almost to see if he could handle this. So I don’t regret it, I don’t.
Do you think that the conversation you had with your parents about leaving Chico for Texas was something you should’ve had with them when Brad wasn’t there, in case it affected his decision to send you home? Shawntel: That’s a good question. ‘Cause the question has never really come up with my family, with me leaving Chico. I kind of always thought that I would be staying in Chico, probably taking over this business. So it’s never been brought up and I think they were a little surprised when I went on the show. I had no idea who the Bachelor was. And then learning Brad’s from Austin and he wants his wife to be there, I thought “OK, wow, well, here I am falling in love with him, so I’m willing to move.” And I just think it was a shock to my family for me to come home and be like “OK guys, I’m falling in love and this may change some things.” They were shocked.
Did it open your eyes to a life outside of Chico, or are you back to feeling like this is where you belong? Shawntel: No, it definitely opened up my eyes to a lot of different things. I have such passion for the funeral industry, but not just the traveling and everything, but falling in love with someone that doesn’t live in Chico, I was like, “There is life outside of my little town of Chico.” And it’s a good world out there. It did get me excited for new opportunities or maybe even moving to Austin, like I told Brad that I would do for him.
It sounds like you’re ready to get married and settle down. Is it hard to find guys in Chico or does your profession get in the way? Shawntel: I think it’s a little of both, to be honest. Being a funeral director has challenged my love life a lot. You know, when I go on a date with a guy, once they start talking about “OK, what do you do?” and I start talking about the funeral industry, it’s like a step back. It’s like “OK, wow, that’s different.” And then, growing up in Chico, I know a lot of the guys my age ‘cause we all went to school together, we played sports together, we went to church together. And I probably wouldn’t date them — ‘cause I grew up with them, they’re almost family. But also being a funeral director has challenged that as well. So it’s a little of both.
Shawntel told reporters in her post-elimination conference call that she had never seen an episode of The Bachelor before her sisters signed her up for the show. She didn’t know what she was getting into, but she rolled with it anyway and described it as a true test of her character.
That said, she would probably say yes if ABC asked her to be the Bachelorette. She thinks she has the emotional maturity required for the job — more than some of the other ladies, anyway. (She’s right! But Spoiler King Reality Steve says the Season 7 has already been chosen. Find out who it is here.)
Shawntel weighs in on the strengths and weaknesses of Brad’s final three, saying she’d expected Ashley Hebert to go home after the Hometown Dates, because Ashley never told Brad she loved him or said she would move to Brad’s hometown of Austin, Texas. Ashley also required constant emotional reassurance.
Read on for a lot more from the poised and passionate Shawntel, as she dishes on her awkward Hometown Date, the possibility of ever leaving Chico, her thoughts on Bachelor Pad, and why she loves “elderly men”...
There’s quite a difference in age between some of the girls left and Brad, who is 38. Was that ever a concern? Shawntel: You know what’s funny is, it wasn’t. When I first got, you know when I was in the limo and here’s this beautiful man and someone said, “I think oh he’s 37 or 38,” it didn’t even cross my mind as far as age goes. It’s kind of like, let’s see how his personality is with mine. I’m kind of an older 25, I guess you could say. I’m very mature for my age and he’s obviously very mature anyway. And also he can be this fun kind of younger kid-like and so can I at times. So his age never concerned me, I never thought, “Oh my gosh this guy is so much older than me.” It never really crossed my mind in a negative way.
What personality traits from Brad will you look for in future boyfriends? Shawntel: When I had my most previous boyfriend, a couple of years ago, he was someone that needed to be rescued. I think being a funeral director came into play there. I thought, “Oh my gosh, let me take care of you.” That obviously did not work out. I was drowned in the process. And then with Brad, here’s this wonderful independent man which I was very attracted to. I didn’t need to rescue him in any way. And he had some sadness with his relationship with dad, but that didn’t make him into this “Woe is me.” He was very mature about it and we were able to talk about that. He was just this Southern gentleman — not that I have to marry someone from Texas or anything, but his manners were not something that I was used to. I just really felt like a woman when I was with him. And he was funny, yet he was very serious as well. He didn’t look at my job like it was too weird. I loved when we were in Vegas and he was able to ask me questions about embalming, because it was the usual date conversation that I have. But he was infatuated with it and wanted to know more. So he’s really set my standards as far as the next guy I’m with.
If Brad did choose you and you did move to Austin, do you think you would’ve been happy? Shawntel: That obviously crossed my mind. I was telling Brad when we were in the mausoleum, let’s say I moved to Austin, I could be a trade embalmer in Austin. I love the science part of my job and being a trade embalmer you can go anywhere with your license and you would just use your prep room skills. I could do different conventions, different talks, conferences within the funeral industry. Being a woman in the business, first of all, is very rare. So there’s other things I considered doing and I thought this is the time to explore doing other things with him too. I’m kind of a go-with-the-flow kind of person. And I thought, you know what, I think when you’re in love with someone, no matter what you do, things can change. I just thought, well, if we go to Austin, I’m just going to make this work, whether I’m a trained embalmer, whether there’s a funeral home there I could open up or if I’m not even in the business and end up being a marriage and family counselor, staying within the realm of the funeral industry.
How did your family react when they found out that Brad did not choose you? Shawntel: I think it was bittersweet. I came home and I think they were a little shocked, because they, too, really did think I was going to be able to explore it a little more. I was hoping to even get more time. I know that word is exhausted — more time, I want more time — but given the circumstances we’re in... But I think that also at the same time, they thought, yes we are happy that you’re not going to make a sudden change and move to Austin, but now we do see that maybe there are other things that you might be doing with your life and not just staying here in our little town of Chico. So it kind of opened up their eyes and opened up my eyes.
How do you feel about how your hometown date was presented, with the funeral music and how they aired the funeral home ad? Shawntel: The funeral music in the background was a little much, but also when I went on the show I kind of knew how things like this worked. I thought, “OK, I’m willing to do this and take different risks.” Like when we saw Emily go on this NASCAR date. There’s certain things we can’t control and we know that could happen. As I watched it, I was like, well, here my dad’s having a really hard time with this, but it’s true. This was a huge shock for my family. There’s nothing wrong with that.
You’ve had interaction with the women who are left. Do you see them with him? Do they have potential to be his wife? Shawntel: My personal opinion is he is in love with Emily. And I think he has been for a while and I’ve just ignored that when I was with him. There was a Rose Ceremony when we were all sitting down and he asked Emily to step outside with this beautiful basket of wine and cheese — and it was hurtful. And we were just like oh my gosh, wow! I even said, “Are you ready to go get married now?” And I’ve just kind of seen that with Brad. [...] I think Emily’s everything he wants. She has a child and I think he wants to be the father to her child. She’s been wanting to get married and have more kids, and he loves that, wants that. Not that I don’t want — I of course want to get married and have kids, otherwise I wouldn’t have gone on the show. But I think Emily already has what he wants. That’s personally what I think.
The last three girls are very different from each other. What do you think are their strengths and weaknesses? Let’s start with Emily. Shawntel: I think Emily, I definitely think Brad is drawn to Emily. I think not only is he attracted to her, I think he just sees this motherly side with her little daughter Ricki, and I think that Emily has a lot of strengths. She’s a strong woman for this tragic incident that happened in her life with her fiance at the time, being so young. When she would talk about that, sometimes I would think, “Oh my goodness, this was the love of her life, which will be with her for the rest of her life.” Being Brad, I would be a little bit — and Brad even said to her, “You know, that’s hard to live up to.” You had your love of your life who, sadly, passed away. And to replace that I don’t think will ever happen. For Brad that’s probably a scary thing.
For Chantal, her emotions are getting to her. They have been on the show. But the situations we’re put in, it’s so hard not to. Unfortunately I think they’ve gotten to her. But also she’s an amazing — Chantal is a girl that I got really close to on the show and she cares for Brad so much. And she was the first to tell Brad, “I love you and I’m here for you and I already have these feelings.” And I think Brad was attracted to that, her honesty with him.
Ashley — she’s fun and spunky and kind of makes anyone feel young and lively, and I think Brad’s really attracted to that. I think she’s 26, and when he’s with her he just feels “we’re like kids, I can have fun.” As far as weaknesses go, she would constantly say to him, “I need that reassurance. I need, I need.” It’s kind of like, OK, we all want that. Every single girl here wants that reassurance, and he knows that. You keep using this word in the situations we’re put in, but that’s the truth, they’re very abnormal situations. But she was constantly saying, “Where’s my reassurance?” And we’re all kind of like, “OK, we get it. We all need the reassurance. We all want to know that he wants us here.”
Out of the final three, who are you closest to? Shawntel: I was closest to Chantal. It’s kind of ironic, from the first night we both met we were like, “Oh, Chantal and Shawntel!” Very uncommon name. [...] She was just a really great girl and she was a very wears-her-heart-on-her-sleeve kind of girl, and so am I. I’m very open, I think. She and I just had good, deep conversations and she was someone that I was like “You know, if I don’t have love out of this, at least I have a friend.” There were a couple of other girls that I felt that I could be good friends with after, but out of the three, Chantal was the [one I was] closest [to].
Would you have preferred to have gone home the week before he met your family, or are you OK with how everything happened? Shawntel: I could not have been happier the way everything happened, because this was a huge thing for me to go on a show like this. My sisters — I don’t know if anyone knows the background — my two younger sisters signed me up for the show. I have never in my life watched a season of The Bachelor or Bachelorette. This is all new to me. We show up in the limo and they’re like, “Oh this is Brad Womack” and I’m like, “I don’t even know who Brad Womack is.” So I had no expectations. My family is so close to me, to be able to have a chance to bring Brad back to my home and to have him meet my family couldn’t have been better, even though it was disappointing that I went home. At least my family was able to be a part of this experience with me, and that was a huge thing to me. I couldn’t have helped at first, when Brad sent me home, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, does this have to do with my family? Do you not like my family?” No one can help but think that, but honestly, for myself it was just, I’m thankful that my parents and my two younger sisters — who put me up to this — got to be a part of it.
Since you never watched the show before, did anything surprise you as you watched it? Shawntel: Well, of course with the one-on-one interviews that some of the girls had that you’re watching, you never obviously heard what they had to say until now. But as far as, you know, we’re filmed all day every day and yet not as much is used and you don’t see [most if it]. That amazes me. [...] But it makes sense why they do that, because they want as much stuff as they can so they can work with it, but for the most part I think it was better that I had no expectations going into it. A lot of the girls are like, “Oh, we know when the date card comes,” and I was like, “I don’t even know what I date card is.” I think it was better that way, to have no expectations on the show and to just kind of go with it.
What was your best memory on the show with Brad? Shawntel: Oh my goodness, my best memory was in Anguilla. I was just, it was so funny to watch myself on my little interview ‘cause I’m like, “I’m tripping out right now! This is my best date ever!” It literally was the date that stands out, even over hometowns, over anything. Riding bikes with him, going to a farmers market was oh my gosh — it could not have gone better. There were little baby goats, and I love going to petting zoos. I was like OK, this is a little too perfect. Our conversation was so good. I loved watching him interact with the locals. Playing dominoes and just — it felt like there were no cameras there and it was just he and I in this cool town having fun. And that’s when I fell in love with Brad, that’s when I was like, “I can see myself spending the rest of my life with you.” Because we can be in a setting where it’s not overly done. We didn’t have helicopters, we didn’t have anything too extravagant. It was a farmers’ market with these amazing locals in Anguilla and we’re just having a good time.
Do you see yourself doing anything like Bachelor Pad or being the next Bachelorette? Shawntel: As far as The Bachelorette goes, I think I would. I think to be the Bachelor or the Bachelorette you really have to be a strong, emotional person, and as we can see, Brad was. I mean, this was his second go-round. You are talking a lot. You’re doing a lot of interviews. You’re up late. And you need to be able to handle that. And I think I’m one that could do that. As far as Bachelor Pad goes, I probably wouldn’t do that — actually, I know I wouldn’t. Nothing against the show — I would watch it, ‘cause I’ll probably know some of the girls from my season, but it’s not something I would put myself up to. But The Bachelorette? Different story. Yes, I would probably do that.
What did you learn emotionally on the show that you would you take into The Bachelorette, if you are chosen? Shawntel: When I went into The Bachelor I was already like “OK, I’m a pretty strong person.” I think being a funeral director helps with that, because I have to control my emotions when I’m a funeral director. I have to professionally separate myself from these families. And I think going onto the show, I was like, “I’m going to be open with this man, I’m going to be open with the girls.” I did really well at doing that. As I watched myself, I was really proud of myself in how I handled these weird situations, and I think as far as anything I would change when I’m the Bachelorette, it’s more like I’m prepared now if I was to be the Bachelorette. [...] Of course it’s a different situation being the Bachelorette, ‘cause now you’ve got these 25 or 30 guys that you’re individually talking to, but it’s kind of like you’ve been prepared now. And that was the difference with Brad. He wasn’t a contestant for The Bachelorette at all. He was just the Bachelor, so a lot of the girls would say to him, “You don’t really know how we’re feeling in this situation.” And that was something that he didn’t really understand, when it came to [hearing] “This is hard for us. We’re watching you go on these dates with other people and we’re telling you that we’re felling in love.” And he couldn’t compare to that, he couldn’t say, “I know how that feels.”
What do you think would set you apart from any other girls as a choice for The Bachelorette? Shawntel: The hard thing is, there are a lot of good girls on this season. I think some of it could be being emotionally stable. When you’re the Bachelor or Bachelorette, you have a lot on your plate and I think I could handle it [...] and still show emotion and definitely be there to fall in love with someone that knows that I’m a funeral director, and hopefully they’re comfortable with that.
When you watch Brad now, how do you feel about him? Shawntel: In the beginning it was weird, it was hard to watch, especially when he would go on these one-on-one dates with these girls and he’s making out with them, he’s telling them how he feels about them. Then it comes my turn and he’s kind of saying the same thing he’s saying to the other girls. So it’s different and I kind of knew that going into this, “OK, this is going to be hard to watch.” But it’s different [now] because I’m not in love with him, so it makes it a little easier. But it was something that sometimes I was like, “OK, I don’t need to watch him making out anymore with someone else.” But, again, the situations are awkward and abnormal, but it helps that I was able to take the time when I was off the show until it started to kind of heal and be better. So that helped.
On your hometown date, would you say that Brad scares easily? Shawntel: Oh my gosh, yes. I was really hesitant to ask Brad to sit on my table, but I thought, you know, he was so infatuated with the embalming process when we were in Vegas. He was asking me all these questions. And I probably wouldn’t have had him lay on that prep table if he didn’t in Vegas, if he wasn’t like, “Shawntel, tell me about this embalming process, this is so intriguing.” So I thought, OK, you’re intrigued by my job, so why don’t you lay on the prep table and I’ll really give you an idea of what I do. And I think it creeped him out a little bit — it would creep anyone out who was not in the business. I thought, “I’m going to lay out all my cards for you, Brad, and if you are comfortable with it, keep me, if not, I guess you’re going to send me home.”
You seem like you are passionate about what you do and you have a healthy attitude about it. What do you love about her job? Shawntel: I love my job. And it’s weird to say to say this, it’s going to sound funny, but I didn’t when I was young. I was like, “Oh, this is weird, Dad, that you do this job.” I would go into the prep room with him and sit on the counter while he was embalming or going on removals I would be at the funeral home. And as I grew up, I started working for him and I was thinking I would become a psychologist or something. Then my dad was like, “Why don’t you work for me a little bit. I’ll pay you some money while you’re going to school.” And I started going on removals with him, I started assisting on embalming, we get to assist on autopsies, we work a lot with the elderly. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, science, elderly, and psychology are three things that I have passions for.” And within the funeral industry, that’s all there. I was like, this is like everything I really do enjoy, with the psychology part in these grieving families I that I’m able to be there for, whether it’s an infant death or a 101-year-old lady that we’re celebrating. I’m there for the families. The science part, I’m a licensed embalmer and I get to assist in autopsies, which is very interesting to me. And I get to use the science part of my brain. And then, elderly people, we’re serving them all the time. And I love elderly men! I just think they’re so cute. And I get to help them a lot — or even elderly women. I don’t know, it really makes me appreciate life. Sometimes I think everyone should be a funeral director for a month, to hear these stories and to appreciate your life in a different way.
What did you learn on The Bachelor that you could pass onto other women interested in going on the show? Shawntel: That’s a good question. I’ve had, my girlfriends even asked — would you recommend this to your little sister or any of our other girlfriends? And it’s something that I wouldn’t suggest anyone just right away within a snap of the fingers think, “Yes, I want to do it.” It’s something you really need to think about ‘cause it’s a really true test of your character. That’s what I learned from myself, coming back from the show I was like “Wow, I really learned about myself.” You’re secluded from your family and your friends and you really only have yourself, whether it’s to fall in love or just see what kind of person you are in these different, awkward situations. So it’s not that I would not recommend it, but it’s something people need to think about and realize “These situations I’m going to be put in are not normal. Am I going to be able to handle that or not, with cameras in my face?”
What was your family’s feeling about Brad after meeting him? Shawntel: My family did like him a lot. My mom’s side of the family is from Alabama, they’ve got that Southern little charm, so I was like my mom’s going to love him. You don’t see my mom talking to him as much, but she thought he was just a doll, she really did. I think there was some hesitance, because everything came at them at once, me coming to them and saying, ”I’m falling in love, I’m in love with this man and I might be moving to Austin.” It was a huge shock for them and “Oh my gosh, now our daughter might be completely leaving this lifestyle we have here in Chico that we’re so comfortable with and might be moving out of state.” I think it was just a shock for them, but they really did like Brad. They could tell that I was in love and that I was happy. And I haven’t been in love in a very long time. And the last time I was, it wasn’t good. It was a very unhealthy relationship. So I think they were refreshed to see a man that was treating their daughter well.
Have you been able to move on or are you still heartbroken? Shawntel: You know, since it’s been a little while, I’m OK. I kind of compare this a lot to someone who has had a death and has lost a loved one, because we go through the same stages that you do as with a death. So with me losing Brad, I allowed myself to get angry, to start bargaining and wondering, “Gosh, could I have done something different,” almost in denial with me. And I allowed myself to go through these different stages of grief, in a healthy way, and I’m not in love with him anymore. Like I said in the limo, I wish Brad happiness. I thought he was just an amazing person and all I want for him is to be happy. And I think he got really lucky with the girls he had to choose from, ‘cause he had some really great girls there.
In your parting words you said you were shocked to be going home. How did you think your hometown date went? You seemed to think it went really well, even if the editing didn’t suggest the same to viewers. Shawntel: I did think it went as well as it could with Brad laying on the flat table, being at the funeral home, which is — it’s a lot to take in on a date. And then to meet my family, who Brad can obviously see is having a hard time taking this all in. But I think why I said it was a shock to me is because I really thought that he accepted my job and was OK with it and was going to still allow me to go one step further to maybe talk to him more about that. ‘Cause it was like, he and I didn’t have a lot of time, as you saw. At the very end, when I tell him, “I am now in love with you,” it was like minutes, where then he leaves and it’s the Rose Ceremony. I wish he would still allow us a little more time to explore kind of “OK, what did you think about this funeral home and my family? Like I said, even though my family wants me to stay, I’m willing to move.” That’s why I was very shocked. I really thought I would have at least kind of that one next step to explore it even more. But unfortunately he just wasn’t feeling the same.
How big a role do you think your dad played in Brad’s decision — how he made it clear you would be missed in Chico and they expected you to take over the family business? Shawntel: Well, I think on Brad’s part it had a big role. I think he really saw that my dad was having a hard time. He did give his blessing, but I think Brad felt uncomfortable and I think he was like “Wow, Shawntel’s family is not really in support of this.” For me, I was up front with my dad and I said, “You know what, things are going to work out. I am in love with this man. If he proposes to me, it’s going to work out. And I might be moving to Austin, or I probably will be moving to Austin.” So there was a strong role with my family, but I stuck up for myself.
Going into the show, you didn’t know that Brad would be the Bachelor. Is he the type of guy you normally date, or was he a new type for you? Shawntel: Brad was a completely new type for me. I don’t have a lot of men that I can compare him to, because my past relationships — I’ve had two guys I’ve been in love with. I’ve dated, but as far as calling them my boyfriend and being in love, there’s been two: One in high school — which is hard to compare, ‘cause I was so young — and then two years ago I had a boyfriend and it was just a very unhealthy relationship. He was someone I tried to rescue and I was being drowned in the process. So when I met Brad, it was totally fresh and new, this Southern gentleman that I was like, wow, I didn’t even know this existed. And I even said on the show that I didn’t even know this love existed because I haven’t felt something like this before and it could be because I haven’t had this amazing man in my life yet that I’ve fallen in love with. So it was all refreshing, very new to me and I absolutely loved it.
Do you have any regrets telling Brad or your family that you were in love with him? Shawntel: No, I have no regrets at all telling Brad that I was falling in love with him. It was already an uncomfortable situation telling him that I was not only falling in love, but then at the end after meeting my family, that I’m in love, because I know that he can’t say that back to me. And that’s uncomfortable for a woman or a man to be in a situation like that, but I put myself out there and I said, “You know what, I want you to know this is how I’m feeling” and that’s who I am. I’m very comfortable with my feelings and telling people how I feel and I wanted him to know.
Now that you’ve seen the other dates, do you feel like he made the right choice to let you go? Shawntel: I had a hard time, now also watching it because he’s been on these one-on-one dates that I never went on and didn’t see, and when we came into our last Rose Ceremony, a huge reason why I said, “Gosh, I was really shocked” is because when he called Ashley H., I personally thought she was going home, and I thought I was going to be the one staying. So it was really sort of a shock to me because I knew that she hadn’t told him that she was falling in love with him or in love with him, and I had and I was just like OK, he’s letting a girl go that has put herself out there and has really expressed that she is in love and willing to kind of leave her life here in Chico and go to Austin when you have another girl that hasn’t. It was just a shock to me in many ways.
You told Brad that you loved him when he was leaving your house and then later he said he didn’t feel the way a man should feel when he hears that. Did you get that vibe from him in the moment when you said it or were you surprised when he said he didn’t feel the same way? Shawntel: Well, it was kind of both. When I told him that I was in love with him, we had moments to talk. Unfortunately, with our dates you don’t get a whole lot of time. So after he met my family and everything, I had these couples of minutes to tell him really how I was feeling. Obviously he can’t say it back, which is uncomfortable and difficult already, and then when the Rose Ceremony came I was shocked because I really thought that we would explore it a little bit more so we could talk about it more. [...] So that’s why I was shocked. And then him telling me, “I didn’t feel the way a man should feel,” now that I look back and when I told him I was in love, maybe the look on his face was uncomfortable. As I watched it, I was like well, I thought he was just looking at me that way because he can’t really say a whole lot anyway. But maybe he just — obviously he didn’t feel the same way. And that was hard. And that’s why in the limo I was saying I was shocked. I didn’t use “I’m in love with you” as a trick to keep me on there. It was real. I was just in shock that he didn’t want to explore it a little bit more. Because he kept saying how natural he felt with me and he could see me as his wife. I completely put out all the cards for him and some of the girls hadn’t, so I was just like, wow, I was surprised.