When Britt Billmaier got a call informing her that she had been chosen as one of 30 women to compete on Season 15 of ABC’s television show, "The Bachelor," she assumed it was a joke. "I thought it was a prank," she says. "And I didn’t take it seriously at first. But, after some convincing, I realized it was real. I subsequently learned that a friend of mine had nominated me on ABC.com without my knowledge."
Billmaier, a 2003 WHS grad, who currently lives in San Francisco and works for Groupon as a fine dining specialist, was familiar with the show, but she wasn’t a big fan.
She opted to go on it because she viewed it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that she couldn’t pass up.
"I thought when else in my life will I get to do something crazy and off the wall like this," she explains. "I’m single and I felt it couldn’t hurt. Plus, I thought I would get to have some cool experiences in the process."
"The Bachelor" is a reality television dating game show revolving around an eligible bachelor and a bevy of single women, among which possibly includes a potential wife for the bachelor.
Each week, the bachelor goes on dates with the women, initially in big groups and then eventually on a one-to-one basis. The show follows an elimination format that entails the bachelor giving out roses each week to the women he wishes to continue to pursue.
Those who don’t get the flowers must leave.
In Season 15, Brad Womack from Texas, was the bachelor.
"Brad is an attractive guy and a gentleman," comments Billmaier, "but I never sensed we had a strong romantic connection. We really didn’t have much in common. And when we went on our one-on-one date, it was clear that we weren’t a match. We both came to the same conclusion."
She adds, "I wasn’t surprised when I got the boot because I expected to have been long gone before then."
Billmaier was the sixth to the last woman to be cut from the show. Womack eventually chose Emily Maynard, an event planner from North Carolina, to be his wife.
Billmaier, however, had bet on Chantal O’ Brien, a Mercer Island woman, to receive Womack’s final rose.
She says, "Chantal was just so open with her feelings and so very much in love with Brad. I just thought she’d be his choice. But, I think Emily and Brad have a lot in common and a number of attributes that will make them a successful couple. I wish them a lifetime of happiness."
In describing her time on the show, Billmaier enthuses about the other women and emphasizes that getting to know them was the highlight of the experience.
"We bonded over these unique experiences and developed close relationships," she adds. "For me, that was the best part of being on the show."
On the flip side, Billmaier notes that the process was emotionally exhausting and says, "You are in an odd situation. Every day is different and you can’t count on a typical schedule. And you definitely don’t get enough sleep.
"Plus, you’re not allowed to use cell phones, watch T.V. or use any technology-oriented devices. You’re away from everything and everyone, so you don’t have a regular support system. I really missed my family because we are very close and I wasn’t able to talk to them at all."
She adds, "The crews are always there filming you all the time, so you don’t get much privacy either."
Although the situation is set up to be competitive among the women, Billmaier says she got along with everyone and avoided being entangled in the drama that occurred between some of the other contestants because she wasn’t perceived as a threat.
"There was definitely drama here and there, but I didn’t know all of it," she explains. "Not until I saw the show on T.V. It was really fun to watch it afterwards."
Though she is glad she had the experience, Billmaier doesn’t think she would do it again.
"It was a lot to handle for me," she says. "I’m a fairly reserved person. In fact, people who knew me in high school would remember me as being painfully shy. This type of thing was way outside my box.
"But, it gave me a great eye-opener into reality T.V. and I got to have some incredible experiences and stay in some unbelievable mansions and villas in places like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Costa Rica and Anguilla. And, of course, I got to meet some really great people."