Jillian Harris Chose Extreme Makeover Over Ed Swiderski
There's something refreshingly down-to-earth about Jillian Harris. She's arguably one of the biggest success stories of The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchise — emerging unscathed from Jason Mesnick's ill-fated Season 13, heading straight to The Bachelorette Season 5, weathering the tabloid aftermath of her relationship with ex-fiance Ed Swiderski, and now working as a successful designer on-and-off her dream show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. But even after all she's done, you never really get the impression in interviews that she sees herself as a big deal.
How she dealt with the attention after The Bachelorette: "I never dealt with it well and I actually think that I suppressed a lot. I actually think I'm way funnier and way snippier and I've got kind of a sick sense of humor. I'm a total tomboy but I've always been afraid of being judged. I follow [DWTS’] Kirstie Alley on Twitter and I laugh so hard. She does not care what anyone thinks of her and sometimes, I wish I could do the same thing! It wasn't easy being judged and you want everyone to love you and think you're fabulous but I'm not always in a great mood or I have a strong opinion about something. I don't voice my opinion like that because I don't wanna deal with all the articles that come out and the backlash on Twitter. I'd rather stay neutral, which I don't think is a good thing either. When Ed and I had all the negative attention, I was really sick. I was stressed out and crying all the time. I was like, 'Why did I do this?' I didn't expect that. I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me because I also gained so much for my life as well. I've been in the media for almost three years now. Now, if a negative article comes out. For example, on the back page of OK Magazine... I love them... but they posted a quote from me, comparing The Bachelorette to being on Extreme Makeover and my quote was, 'It's completely different show because I'm not making out with guys in hot tubs although I do miss that.' Normally, I would've been so stressed out and mad because I'm so afraid that it makes the show look bad but I did say that because I was trying to be funny. I'm going to own that and that's who I am. I can't try to be somebody else. I don't care about that stuff anymore, as long as it's true."
How she got on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: “When I came off The Bachelorette, Ed and I had a big discussion that neither one of us was going to stay in television and focus on our relationship, ironically enough. ABC had a few ideas for us to stay with them. One was a reality show about our life, which we didn't want to do because we started off on shaky ground. Right off the gates, there were stories about him cheating on me. I didn't think we could handle a reality show. I said, ‘The only way I'd continue to do anything on TV is if it was something I'm passionate about.’ I was driving one day and ABC called and asked if I wanted to go on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I called Ed and he said I had to do it. I was trying to be so calm. I got off the phone and pulled over in my car and dancing on the side of the highway. It was literally a perfect fit for me. I feel so blessed. I can't think of a better job!”