Commiserations Ash! Were you surprised to be eliminated? It seemed like you and Jimmy had a connection…
I was really disappointed getting the friendzone edit. I know a lot of people didn’t think we had any chemistry but we definitely did – to be top six you would’ve had to have something. I was disappointed I didn’t get to go to hometowns because I spoke to Jimmy a lot. You didn’t see the affectionate side of things – they cut out our extra kisses and things like that so every time there was drama going on, especially at camping, I was actually speaking to Jimmy. I had uninterrupted time with Jimmy because they were all dealing with drama so I was like ‘This is great for me!’ I don’t know if people take notice but I got the first rose a few times so my friends used to call me the Silent Assassin because you wouldn’t see me talking to Jimmy but I was getting through each week. I definitely feel Jimmy and I had a strong connection by the end of it.
You also had one of the first single dates as well.
Yeah I definitely did and the time in between was really hard. I had weeks without having any time with him or leaving the mansion as I wasn’t on all the group dates. I would ask him at cocktail parties ‘Do you still want me here? What’s going on? Where’s your head at?’ because I was genuinely there to find love. I’m 34-years-old so I didn’t want to waste his time or my time so he didn’t and that was fine. He reassured me each week and I think the extra one-on-one time that I had really started to make that connection stronger. It was probably just a little too late with Brooke coming back.
When Brooke came back there were some strong reactions. What was it like for you when you saw her walk back in with Jimmy?
I just knew that we’d be pushed down the line. Obviously she’s going to want to take priority with time with Jimmy and him wanting to catch up with her in that sense. It was kind of like ‘Uh oh we’re bottom of the food chain’ so it was hard to swallow in that respect.
Was she different to the Brooke who was in the mansion before she left?
To be honest I think if we all got time to go out and leave the mansion for three weeks or more, you kind of reset yourself and go back focused and refreshed. I definitely think she was able to gather her thoughts and come back ready to fight for love.
WATCH BELOW: Brooke Cleal returns to the Bachelor mansion. Post continues after video...
You were close with Jay in the mansion. What do you make of all those rumours that she’s only on the show for fame?
Jay is my best friend and I don’t believe any of it for a second. On the triathlon date, they didn’t show that I actually let her go ahead of me as well so there’s so much behind the scenes they don’t show but she genuinely has such a big heart. I’m very particular about who I spend my time with and she has a good energy about her so it’s hard to hear these rumours and negative comments when it’s just not true.
You’re half Indonesian and Jay spoke about her Fijian Indian background as well. Do you think this season had a racially diverse cast or that the show could be doing more?
There was so much diversity that wasn’t shown. No one even knew that I was half Indonesian. Everyone kept saying I had a spray tan, I never had one spray tan – I was like ‘This is all natural, people!’ I think it’s important because we are such a diverse country and so it’s interesting that people had no idea. I don’t know if you have to have this stigma of looking a certain way to say there’s diversity because there definitely was and it was really nice to see.
Who would you like to see win and who do you think will actually end up winning?
I mean I could be biased but I would like to see Jay win. I think they’re very compatible with their active lifestyles and obviously the chemistry’s been there since day dot. But I have a feeling that after seeing everything he could possibly end up with Holly. It’s interesting because obviously I have been behind-the-scenes with everyone but then watching it is different. We see more behind-the-scenes so it’s interesting.
The girls were actually asked if you couldn’t be with Jimmy, who do you think would be most compatible and they voted for me. That was at the family dinner so his sister and cousin told Jimmy that so that was nice to know. I didn’t make top six just by sitting there!
What’s life like post Bachie? Are you dating now?
No, I’m single and ready to mingle. I’m working on my business and studying to be a nutritionist. I had to be mindful on the show as well that I’m a role model for my students and the younger generations so I’m not a b****y person anyway and didn’t want to come across as that. So I guess I’ll keep focusing on my business and hopefully Mr Right can find me because I think I’ve exhausted all my avenues now. I heard Zac Efron’s in Australia so if he needs a tour guide, I can help with that!