Although Ella Nolan, a realtor/hairstylist from Knoxville, Tenn., spent her birthday with Jake Pavelka at Sea World, her wish to be the last woman standing on The Bachelor ultimately didn’t come true. The 30-year-old southern belle spoke with PEOPLE.COM about what went wrong, whether she regrets introducing her child to him and who is her frontrunner. – Carrie Bell
Do you think being a single mom had anything to do with not to getting a rose?Jake was fantastic with my son. They really hit it off and bonded over flying. I think bringing my son out on our first one-on-one date was a double-edged sword. As great as it was for me to see my son and to see him with my son, we didn’t get to build a romantic connection.
Were you upset your son met Jake considering you were eliminated?I go back and forth. Jake’s a fantastic guy but as great as it was to see how Jake interacted with him, it was difficult to explain to him that he was probably not going to see Jake again. It wasn’t a TV show to him. It was a little boy meeting a pilot and developing a bond. It was hard to come back and tell him it didn’t work out. But if I did not think Jake was worth it, I wouldn’t have put myself in that position. I have no regrets whatsoever. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
How does he feel about it?Right now he thinks I’m the coolest mom in the world. He’s the most popular kid at school. I think he’ll be proud of how I portrayed myself.
How was your house experience?I loved all the women. It was a nice mixture of women … I didn’t see it as a competition so I didn’t get catty or jealous. I didn’t think there was that much drama because I stayed out of it.
Seemed like Jessie got booted because she talked trash on Vienna. Should he have listened?None of us were on their dates and she’s different with him than she was in the house. I can see him not just taking the girls’ word for it because he’s not seeing it on his own. Vienna is misunderstood. Vienna comes out and says what she feels or thinks. She doesn’t really think about what she says before it comes out. It rubbed some of the women the wrong way. But I liked her.
What about Rozlyn?Rozlyn’s a good person dealing with a lot right now. I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes. I saw her and the producer being very friendly but nothing out of the ordinary.
Jake revealed his high school nickname was Mr. Dateless. Believe it?I don’t know about dateless because he’s a cutie-pie, but I can see him not being a go-getter when it comes to women. There were times he felt overwhelmed as most men would with a house full of beautiful women. The show, realizing that he’s very good-looking and that women desire him made him break out of his shell.
Were you shocked he eliminated more women then scheduled?It was a shock he choose Kathryn over me. I was disappointed we didn’t have another date to see how we interacted alone. When I saw he let Kathryn go also, I was pretty shocked. Then again, they hadn’t had enough time to bond. I expected Jessie. I thought he had a great connection with Ashlegh so to see him let her go early and over Corrie was a big shock. I love Corrie to death but I don’t she’ll get a hometown date.
Which girl do you see making a life with him?Him and Tenley have a lot in common. He made a strong connection with Ali on his first one-on-one. Him with Gia was really cute. I could see him with any of them. In terms of growing old with one of them, his best bet is Tenley.
Have you dated since the show ended?I’m focused on my son and work right now. If God sends someone into my life, great and if he doesn’t, that’s ok too. I’m happy. I don’t want someone to try to get to know me because I was on a TV show. That’s fake.