Of all of the musicians looking for love this season on The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart, Juila Rae might have had the toughest time of it.
Sheridan Reed immediately had eyes for her, and she had eyes for both Sheridan and Brandon Mills. Brandon, meanwhile, had eyes for like four people. And even as Brandon and Savannah McKinley kept choosing each other, Brandon and Julia never forgot about one another.
It seemed like Julia had finally gotten comfortable with Sheridan (and Brandon never seemed uncomfortable with Savannah) when Chris Harrison decided to step in with news of a couple swap that was clearly designed with Julia in mind. She was to go on a date with Brandon, and while the other two swapped couples hung out outside or had a spa day, Brandon and Julia got to do a romantic songwriting session and performance in an iconic LA music venue.
Whether it was a ruse on Chris Harrison’s part or not, it worked, and Brandon and Julia both had to return to tell their partners that there were feelings to deal with.
Neither of them really intended to say goodbye right then and there to Sheridan or Savannah, but because Sheridan and Savannah are normal people with normal emotions, they both immediately left after hearing that their chosen partners liked somebody else.
That left Brandon and Julia to pretend for the rest of the episode that they were meant for each other, through an argument with Natascha and a lackluster performance of “We Belong” (which was not Brandon’s jam because he’d only previously heard it six times in hair salons, honestly get rid of him) which got them sent home by the judges.
Like we said, Julia had a tough time, and that’s before we even mention the online hate she’s gotten for all her indecision, but things are looking up, and she and Sheridan are talking again.
E! News: So how are you not only dealing with quarantine right now but also watching yourself back on TV?
Julia: Oh gosh. It’s been very difficult for me honestly. I have trouble watching myself back and realizing the mistake that I’ve made and trying to learn from all of it. And I think that’s the silver lining that I’m taking from it is just the growth and figuring out how to take this experience and use it to become a better person.
I feel like you haven’t had the easiest time on the show. It didn’t look easy for you or for us to watch. Could you feel that in the moment, or are you only seeing it now?
I think two things are true. I was an emotional wreck during this experience and watching it back I realized how you can see that. There’s no way to see anything other than a girl that was spiraling and not handling the situation well. I think that there was there was a multitude of reasons for that. I have been dreaming of a music career all my life so going into this the stakes were felt so high for me. On top of that I was torn from the get go between the two guys for very different reasons, you know. I had very different connections with both of them.
My favorite thing about the show is that I feel like everyone on it is a regular person rather than a reality star, and it seems like it would be easy to turn into an emotional wreck in that situation. Have you felt like you’ve had to defend yourself a lot?
Yes, I feel so misunderstood and it’s been very difficult to get the feedback. I certainly understand why people get the impression of me that they’re getting from the show and what they’re seeing but you know, the parts that they didn’t see are the amazing friendships I made and the connections that I had with both Sheridan and Brandon. And I think, because there was a lack of time to do those justice, it kind of feels a little out of context, which makes me look even, you know, perhaps more kind of like, What the hell are you doing? You know, like, I certainly have asked myself that watching it back, like, what were you thinking? But I would, I am not afraid to experience every emotion that comes over me. It’s not a great quality about me, you know, in some ways it is in some ways it isn’t. And I’m kind of learning that now.
Can you talk me through what you saw in both Sheridan and Brandon? Because we saw you more with Sheridan, so the Brandon connection felt a little less sure to people watching.
Totally. Yeah, I mean, for me, it was the classic tale of like, I have this amazing, immediate intimate connection with Sheridan. And that was real and it was beautiful. Like it was probably the greatest part of this experience for me about what my picture was sharing. Brandon and I had the first kiss, like we had that chemistry right from the get go and it was the kind of chemistry that is that spark, that is hard to say goodbye to unless you know that it’s the spark that fizzled. I needed to like, give it that time, which is why I made the decisions that I made.
So I was yelling during the episode. Not just at you, but at everyone, like Jamie breaking down in tears after her performance. I felt like you all could use some hugs.
We need a lot of hugs.
Tell me how it went down from your perspective. Like did it feel like that couple swap was entirely just to torture you? Because it felt that way to me.
Yeah, honestly, I woke up that morning going alright, cool. Like, snap out of it. Sheridan is amazing. You guys click so well musically, you nailed the performance because that is your true connection and give it up. That was my like mentality that morning and then Chris Harrison, who walks in is like “surprise.” Oh, and then my date with Brandon went really well, it did. And it confused me. And it made me believe that the spark there had substance to it. Bottom line is that wasn’t the truth. It was just a spark. And it fizzled and it blew up in my face. And that’s clear. So, yeah, from my perspective, I was not like, I was hoping to go on a date with Brandon. I thought we were coupled up and I was happy to be with Sheridan and you know, you didn’t get to see Sheridan and I’s rehearse together and how much we really connected on that level. So I had a connection with Sheridan and I feel horrible that it’s not airing just because, for his sake, I think people are assuming I was just holding on to something that wasn’t there, but it really was there.
So were you expecting Sheridan to then leave after that conversation? It wasn’t entirely clear if you were breaking up with him.
I was walking in thinking, alright Julia, you need to say goodbye to Sheridan because in that moment, I felt like I needed to see what, where, when and where that connection would be. But then when I walked into that mansion, and I started talking to Sheridan, the conversation went the way that it went because I was still so conflicted. Like, I didn’t want to think about it with Sheridan and I hope that that is clear. I’m sure it’s probably like wow she looked so confused and wishy washy. And that is because I was so confused. I didn’t want to say goodbye Sheridan and being faced with actually saying goodbye to him, I was unable to actually say those words because I didn’t really know what I wanted. Unfortunately, I needed to make a decision for the process, though.
And then after that, one of the most frustrating things for me was yes, it was sketchy that Natascha told you what Brandon said when she did, but she was telling the truth, so then we were watching you guys getting mad at each other instead of being mad at Brandon.
Mhmm. Totally. And I totally understand that what she was telling me was true. Like obviously I know that now. I knew it in my heart, even then, but I was so desperately trying to make my connection with Brandon work and I, as a performer, was rightfully outraged that 40 minutes before taking the stage she chose to drop the bomb on me, whereas, you know, she had done the ear muffs moment. Why didn’t she pull me aside right after that? You know, things could have probably gone a little bit differently had she done that and you know I don’t think she had malicious intent. I think her timing was so off. But, you know, it was unfortunate the way that all played out.
You know, I am very sassy. I think if there’s anything that has come across to America it is that about me. And I, you know, in person, I think that comes across a little bit better than it’s coming across on national television. Watching it back. I’m certainly cringing, but I also know that I don’t have malicious intent when I say those sassy things, you know, I’m usually just there to meet people laugh so when you know things come out of my mouth like, “ding ding ding,” that’s what that is, you know.
How have you been since? Have you forgiven people?
It’s been an emotional rollercoaster since coming home from the show and now that the show is airing, it’s an even newer, crazier roller coaster. I have forgiven people. I reached out to Natascha. I texted her before the show started airing and just to say, you know, of course there was drama. You know, we could expect there to be but I hope you’re doing well and I wish you well. I didn’t hear back from her, but I do wish her well.
I have spoken to Brandon and I’ve forgiven him. I didn’t appreciate the way things went down with him but I wish him well as well. I have spoken a lot to Sheridan and I apologized to Sheridan and Savannah and I mean that. I certainly see where I screwed things up royally butI hope you know since the show has aired it’s been hard for me and Sheridan to connect and I hope that can one day change.
I was about to ask if you thought there was potential for you and Sheridan outside of the show, since you seemed to regret sending him home, and since now you’re not in a house filled with people making you question yourself.
Yeah, yeah. That has been my message to him is that I think things could have been different had we not had the circumstances we were facing. So I’m hopeful. I understand why he probably doesn’t want to talk to me right now. I can totally get that but I’m hopeful for sure.
I mean, I watched this and I was just mad at Brandon the whole time because he could not make a decision to save his life and that was all Brandon. And then it was just sad that it was everyone else getting mad at each other and not everyone getting mad at Brandon, you know?
For me, too, it’s like, I could tell what was happening when it was happening, but your emotions and your moods and your anxiety are so high and when Brandon would say certain things to me in the head and be like, Oh my gosh, why am I not like saying anything back to him like, this is not okay. But it was like pressure the situation that made me I think, just accept that. And I was so desperate to make it work. I was so sad that I had said goodbye to Sheridan and now this was going the way that it was going. I mean, I pretty much immediately regretted saying goodbye to Sheridan. And it’s hard. It’s really hard to watch back.
Do you have anything you’d like people to know after seeing the episode?
Yeah, I hope people can understand that I really did have pure intentions going into this. I was hopeful that my person was there and I was so excited to have that opportunity and platform to pursue my dream, my wildest dreams that I’ve had since I was a baby like I’ve went into perform my entire life and because that desire for me to find love and make this dream come true, are the greatest parts and goals in my life. The weight of this journey was real for me. And I got so emotional because of that. And I certainly made mistakes and missteps, and I take full responsibility for them.
I hope people can understand that I’m not a mean girl. I’m a woman for women and I misdirected my anger at Savannah when it should have been at Brandon, you know, you’re absolutely right, Lauren. We should have been holding him accountable for the things he was saying. And I hope people can understand where I was coming from I know and I get why they can’t from what they’re seeing. But, you know, it’s really hard to be getting the messages that I’m getting and the cyberbullying because I think people are just seeing it for the two hours they’re seeing rather than the bigger picture and it’s been an extremely difficult time for me and the darkness that comes when you feel so misunderstood is real. And I hope that people take the time to get to know me a little bit more before they pass judgment based on a reality show.
The Bachelor Presents: Listen To Your Heart airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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