Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi’s televised breakup special was — hand chop! — interrupted last summer when Vienna burst into tears and stormed out. The Season 14 Bachelor told reporters on Thursday’s pre-Bachelor Pad Season 2 conference call that he tried to contact his ex-fiancee several times over the past year but she wanted nothing to do with him. So when he saw that Vienna would be on Bachelor Pad — starting this Monday! — he decided to jump on board as well to finish their conversation and get closure for himself, for her, and for America. (Cue “The Star-Spangled Banner”!)
If you ask Jake, things went as he planned, adding cryptically that the best thing about Bachelor Pad is how it reveals peoples’ true colors. No more putting your best foot forward to impress the Bachelor or Bachelorette.
He envisions a time when he and Vienna can just be cordial, but she has to make the next move. He also thinks if he had met her new boyfriend Kasey Kahl under different circumstances, they would’ve been great friends.
Jake says if he does win the $250,000 it’ll go to disaster relief — and maybe he’s truly saying that out of the goodness of his heart but, let’s be honest, he is in image rehab mode and that’s an especially easy thing to say if you think you have no chance of winning this puppy when the finale airs in September. (And despite the suggestion that BP2 contestants don’t get paid, Reality Steve said they get $750 for every episode they last and with six episodes, the most they can make is a total of $4,500 — with the exception of the winners, of course.)
During the interview, Jake also explains how he gets the time off from working as a pilot to do all these TV shows. He’s coy when asked if he has more TV in his future after BP2 and his current VH1 show Famous Food. So — brace yourself — there could be more.
Read on for more from Jake on his biggest competitor in the BP2 house, who he wants as the Season 16 Bachelor, and more.
Did you know that Vienna was going to be on the show when you agreed to do it? If not, would you have done it anyway?
I knew that she was going to be on there. I absolutely knew. I think she started Twittering about being on the Bachelor Pad in February.
So how did you feel about doing the show with her on it? Did that influence you either way?
It was a big motivator. The point of me going on was because she was on. We started a conversation about a year ago that we didn’t get to finish. I’ve reached out to her several times throughout the year. She wouldn’t take my calls, wouldn’t see me, didn’t want to talk about it. And so this was my opportunity to get back in front of her and finish that conversation — get closure for myself, offer her closure, and definitely finish that conversation for America.
What was going through your head when you first saw Vienna again?
The first thing that went through my head? You cut your beautiful hair off! No, you know what, I wanted to see what her reaction was. I was kind of hoping that she would be surprised. I don’t think she was, though.
Did you have a strategy going into Bachelor Pad to get as far as you could and win the money?
My goal, well first off, it’s no secret: I didn’t go there to win $250,000, I went there to have a conversation with her. But I also competed like a badass. … They haven’t determined the winner yet and if it does fall in that direction, if they were to give me the $250,000 it’s going to go to disaster relief.
Is there anything that viewers might see from you that perhaps they haven’t seen from you on TV before?
Probably my competitive side. I don’t know that I came off as being real competitive on The Bachelor. Maybe a little bit on Dancing With the Stars, but I am a born competitor. The bigger the challenge the better.
Was there any other competitor that stood out that you didn’t expect, whether through strategy or just making a bold move in the house?
You know what, there was one other guy that I thought was a really good competitor and that’s Mike Stagliano. But I knew that coming in, ‘cause that kid’s an athlete. I shouldn’t say “kid,” I mean, he’s my age. That guy’s an athlete.
Are you worried at all about how America will take the idea that you specifically went to talk to Vienna? Are you worried about what viewers and the media will say?
No, not at all. It was a way for me to get closure for my life so I can move on to another relationship. ... Don’t get me wrong, I competed and I competed to win, but $250,000 and some of the things you have to do to other people on there in order to win — manipulation, backstabbing — $250,000 isn’t enough.
We’ve seen a lot of contestants go on there and they do find love and relationships. Was that something you were open to or was that not in your head?
Absolutely. Yeah, I was absolutely open to it.
Was there anyone in particular you had your eye on?
No. You know, other than Vienna, I had no idea who was going to be on there until I walked through the front door.
Was Vienna’s participation the only reason to go on the show or were there other factors going on?
It wasn’t the only reason. I keep poking at $250,000 — that’s a motivating factor. But the main reason was Vienna. But, you know, if I do wind up winning the $250,000 in the end I’m going to be able to change lives with it. Like I said, I’m going to give every bit of the money away to charity. I’m not going to keep a cent of it.
How did you plan to react to Vienna and kind of the awkward situation arriving at the house? How did you plan to break the ice?
I knew that there would be a moment, an organic moment that would kind of make it natural to get back into it and see and let the cards fall the way they fell. You know, really all we needed to do was just seal up and finish that conversation that happened that night, what was it, July last year?
Who was your biggest competition out there and why?
My biggest competition on there? By far Mike Stagliano. It’s all about challenges, mental games. Mike is smart, he’s an athlete, and he was the one I was most worried about during competition.
When you got on the show, were there any contestants you were surprised to see?
No, no, not at all. It’s Bachelor Pad!
Anyone you were particularly excited to see or maybe was looking forward to kind of getting a connection with later on?
This is kind of going to sound like an oxymoron but that same guy, Mike Stagliano. You know we were on Jillian’s season together on The Bachelorette. We got to be real good friends there and kept in touch.
How do you get time off work to keep going on these shows? How can you afford it?
I’ve been flying with the same airline for 12 years. I’m not the most senior guy there but I’m not real junior either. And I didn’t, this time, actually have to take a leave of absence. I was able to move trips around. I flew right up to the time we started production and then the day after we wrapped production I went right back into flying. I actually flew a four-day in Atlanta.
How long was your layover, let’s say?
A couple of weeks, for filming.
Even so, giving $250,000 is a wonderful altruistic thing, but based on what pilots make how can you afford this? Do you have, like, family money?
No! You know what, that’s exactly — you know how some kids want to be a fireman, a policeman? I aspire to be a trust fund baby. I’ve always been really good with my money. I’ve owned and sold companies and been involved with real estate, livery services, and stuff like that. You just save. You save for times of excitement and down times as well. I’ve just always been real good with my money.
Because you don’t get paid, it costs basically to be on these shows.
Oh yeah. It costs, like you said, in the airline industry, it cost me several thousand dollars to do the show but that breakup with Vienna was a life-changing event for me and it was time for closure.
Are you still acting as Jake Landrum?
Why not? Acting is a great thing and it seems like you have a lot of contacts.
No, acting is fun, you know, it’s a good thing. I still study out here occasionally… and I go on auditions. But no, I’m Jake Pavelka. That name came up in 1996. I had a manager out in Dallas and she was afraid with the last name Pavelka I would only be cast in foreign films. She insisted I change my last name. I guess Landrum was the best we could do!
You spoke of wanting to have that conversation Vienna. Is it allowable to say whether she wanted to have any kind of conversation with you?
I can’t speak for Vienna. Obviously we did talk several times, I don’t know if the goal was achieved, but I can’t speak for her.
When she saw you coming her way, did she try to get out of the way? Or was she okay with talking to you on a surface level?
That’s one of those questions — I hate to throw this at you, but you’re gonna have to watch on Monday night to get that one.
We’ve been talking about Vienna but there were also other women from your season in Bachelor Pad. What was it like seeing them?
Oh yeah, I had a crush on a couple of the girls.
Was there awkwardness or was it so far in the past that the fact you sent them home didn’t matter.
Oh, you’re talking about Gia and Ella! Oh I love Gia. She is such a great friend. You know what, Gia and I are close to best friends. There’s a pretty dynamic relationship. Of course, she has a boyfriend. There’s a pretty dynamic friendship on the show and I think that’ll be interesting to watch.
Had you been friends before Bachelor Pad or was it being on Bachelor Pad that brought you together as friends?
Oh no. We’ve been friends ever since The Bachelor ended. … Ella was also on there. That was really great to see her because we really needed to have a conversation as well.
The Bachelor and Bachelorette community is very tight with a lot of close friends. As we saw last year in Bachelor Pad there were a lot of little cliques. Are you in any of the cliques this season? You’re friends with Gia, anyone else? Did you have allies?
I don’t really know. I think you kind of get maybe the trend of the show from the opening clips that, when I walk in the door, it’s very cold. Very, very cold.
Were you expecting that?
Yes. I’m not gonna lie! The entire experience was really tough. It was really tough.
How did you handle the sleeping arrangements there?
Why, whatever do you mean? The sleeping arrangements this season are a little bit different than they were last season and that’s kind of all I can say about it at this point.
Was it at all awkward — it must’ve been — that Vienna had her new boyfriend Kasey there?
Oh no not at all. Kasey’s like a big teddy bear.
So you guys ended up getting along, is that what you’re saying?
You know, I think probably had Kasey and I met under different circumstances, we’d be really good friends. But, I mean, at least on my part there’s no animosity. Unfortunately Vienna’s filled Kasey’s head with some things that aren’t true and he’s basing his — when he met me that’s kind of what he had in mind, a lot of the things that Vienna had told him about me, which unfortunately were not true. Or fortunately were not true, how about that.
You’ve mentioned the main reason you went on the show was closure with Vienna. Are you happy with the closure that you got?
So everything went exactly how you planned or did it go differently?
For me, it went how I planned it. I don’t know what America’s going to expect and I don’t know what Vienna’s expecting. I’ll tell you, the greatest thing about the Bachelor Pad is — you know, when people are on The Bachelor it gives them the opportunity to put their best foot forward, especially when you’re around the Bachelor or the Bachelorette, I mean that one person you’re vying for attention. Then some layers fall off during the airing of it and that’s where Vienna and I kind of went wrong. I saw a completely different person watching The Bachelor with her. Now on Bachelor Pad it is true colors. No best foot forward anymore. Everybody is really themselves.
Who do you think the next Bachelor should be?
What’s the guy that came back in Fiji, was his name Ryan? They’ve got a couple of good choices. The guys that seem to have really successful seasons on The Bachelor are the guys that are vulnerable and will talk about their feelings. They’ve just been raised in a way that they’re comfortable with women, kind of opening themselves up a little bit. That allows America to follow how the guy is feeling and I think probably the guy that his heart is probably in the right place and ready to fall in love and really make a go for a relationship would be Ryan.
You said you expected a cold reception and in a preview we see you talking to Ames saying something like “no one in that room likes me.” Why do you think people took Vienna’s side as opposed to yours?
Vienna knew that she was going to be on Bachelor Pad, if you go back to her tweets since February. She hangs out — a lot of those people are her friends, they hang out on those cruise ship rendezvous and stuff like that. So she’s had a year to fill people’s heads with whatever she winds up saying and some people had a lot of preconceived notions that I was a monster or whatever she said in that tabloid. So that’s kind of what I was up against.
Do you ever see a time when you and Vienna can just be cordial to each other?
Absolutely. Absolutely. I’m there. I’m ready. I’ve taken my step, now she needs to take her step and that just might happen on the show.
You’re also on Famous Food right now. Do you plan on doing more television or is this it?
I can’t answer that question.
Would you ever consider being like Gia and doing Bachelor Pad again?
I think people are fools when they say never, but you know what, that’s not in my plans. I don’t think so. Can’t say never, but that’s a tough show.
Any particulars on why?
Yeah, there’s a bunch. It’s a tough way to meet somebody ‘cause there’s $250,000 on the line, but on the flip side, what you have to do in order to win that $250,000 is, it’s a lot of manipulation, it’s a lot of back-stabbing. You just have to kind of work your way through problems and strategize and sometimes it ends up hurting other people. That does not feel good to me. That’s not who I am. Really when you get down to it, there’s no amount of money — especially $250,000 — it’s just not enough money.
You said if you won the money you would donate it to disaster relief. Any particular reason or personal connection to that?
There’s really not a personal connection. [Back in the second to last week in May, right after the tornadoes] I was flying into Springfield with the airline and we flew over Joplin. I thought I had problems in my life. What I looked down on — we were just a couple thousand feet up and I could see, it was unbelievable to see what happened to that city. And it just minisculed anything that happened in my life and I realized that I might have an opportunity to win a couple hundred thousand dollars and that could be life-changing for some people there.
You said it was tough for you on the show. How did you react to that reception? Did you fight back and say “That’s not who I am, this is who I am” or did you just kind of ignore it and stay by yourself?
You know what, I got out of that limo knowing that that’s how it was going to be. I kind of mentally prepared for a cold welcome. But I knew if I was just myself, I didn’t have to tell anybody anything, I wanted to show them. Then I could possibly turn it around.
And did you? Show them?
You’ll have to watch.
Would you want to be the Bachelor again, like Brad Womack, if that was ever offered?
Ummm. I don’t know. Never say never. I don’t know about that. They have not asked. If they did I would tell them no, right this minute.
On Us Weekly’s cover this week, you know Vienna had some surgery done on her nose. Do you have any comment on that?
I knew that she had gotten some elective surgery done, but I haven’t seen any pictures. She looked fine before.
Okay, you didn’t think she needed it.
I didn’t say that. Whatever makes her happy.
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