The former Bachelorette separates truth from stereotypes in the dramedy's opener

By Aili Nahas
Updated June 01, 2015 11:20 PM
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Few people know the Bachelor universe better than DeAnna Pappas Stagliano. After Bachelor Brad Womack‘s final-rose-free season 11 shake-up, she was selected to be the next Bachelorette. She even kept it in the family, marrying and starting a family with Stephen Stagliano, the twin brother of Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad favorite Michael Stagliano. Now DeAnna is providing her one-of-a-kind insight with weekly takes on Lifetime’s TV-love drama UnREAL. Follow her on Twitter, @DeAnna Pappas!

Let’s start with your own experiences. Do you remember any funny behind-the-scenes moments from your own experience that were similar to UnREAL?
Night one is really so intense and a roller coaster of emotions! I remember on my night one of filming The Bachelorette, I was wearing this gorgeous designer gown that was paper-thin and way too long for me. So the stylist draped it on the ground and stuck me in 7-in. heels! It was taped down onto my body in almost every space it possibly could be taped down. I could barely move! And for some reason, almost every guy who stepped out of the limo insisted on spinning me in a circle to get a good look at me! At one point, I almost fell from getting tangled in my beautiful dress while being seconds away from exposing my Bachelorette tatas!!

Speaking of entrances, The Bachelor is known for memorable introductions on night one. Who was most memorable on your season?
The most memorable entrance from my season had to be Jeremy Anderson. He was the last guy out of the limo, and he was gorgeous – very dapper. I remember him being the only guy who didn’t seem as nervous as I was, and he actually hung around to talk to me! He didn’t rush off inside as soon as he got out of the limo. It made me feel safe and that he genuinely wanted to get to know me. In that situation, I appreciated that so much. Just watching UnREAL and seeing the over-the-top entrances from the girls absolutely reminds me of the crazy impressions people try to make on night one. It’s like, in the two days after you come to L.A. to be on the show, you become desperate to make a lasting impression and be remembered by someone you don’t even know.

Some of the entrances were reshot on UnREAL. Did you ever have to reshoot anything when you were on either show?
Of course we had to reshoot things! It is television. We only reshot parts of the show like my entrance into a room or rehearsed bits with Chris Harrison, for example. We never reshot genuine conversations or real moments that actually happened with real reactions.

What did you think of the ladies’ stereotypes (the single mom, the virgin) that were presented on UnREAL?
I hate stereotypes. It seems that the show has them every season. It works. There is always the drunk person on night one, the hot chick that everyone is jealous of, the person with the sob story and then in the end it seems like there are four or five people that are mostly there for the right reasons. I guess it makes for good TV.

We saw lots of waiting around on set. Was that true to "reality"?
The old saying goes, “Hurry up and wait.” Every day it was like this. There are a ton of people to get set up for the shoot – not just the Bachelors and Bachelorettes. There are also several camera men, audio people, producers, PA’s and don’t ever forget that one girl who decides she needs to rush upstairs to put her makeup on because she wouldn’t be caught dead on national television without her full face. It’s a lot and, at times, very draining and exhausting, not only for the cast but I’m sure for the crew as well.

Of course we know alcohol plays a big part on The Bachelor, and apparently on the show-within-the-show, Everlasting, too. Any memories you can share?
People are definitely drinking. Sometimes a lot. I guess at times when you are feeling nervous or even bored, it’s easier to have a few cocktails because there is a never ending supply. I remember when I was on The Bachelor with Brad Womack, there was one point when I was just feeling overwhelmed with the whole process. I mean, I had never seen the show and didn’t know what to expect. So my bestie on the show, McCarten, and I decided to have a few beers and sneak off to the hot tub below the pool because it was never used and we knew there were no cameras down there and no one would find us. I remember I was wearing a sun dress. I stepped into the hot tub just to soak my feet and BAM! I fell all the way in, and under I went. It was hilarious at the time, but it hurt so bad. McCarten, being the best friend a girl could ask for, snuck upstairs to the house while I hid to grab some clean, dry clothes for me. The last thing I wanted was to be filmed like this and embarrassed. She cleaned me all up, and we never told anyone. Except for days, every time I was in a swimsuit, Brad kept asking me about the humongous black-and-blue bruise on my lower back!

So you’re saying cameras aren’t everywhere on The Bachelor like they are on Everlasting? Was it ever hard to get away from them?
In my experience, I didn’t feel that way. I thought they were really respectful. Plus, we knew when they would be filming. They didn’t come sneaking into the bathroom when I was naked. There are definitely cameras everywhere and microphones, too, but that’s what we signed up for, right?!

What about the producers? Are they really everywhere, too?
The producers are definitely everywhere. Just like you saw on UnREAL, they are in your conversations, dressed up as waiters, hidden at times so you don’t know they are listening – and in the limos, too! No contestant is ever really alone. When I was the Bachelorette, I had my own personal producer. Thankfully, I loved him and considered him a genuine friend. Even with genuine friends, we get tired of being with them 24/7. I mean, no one in real life likes to make out with two camera people, one audio person and several producers watching in on the show, do they?!?!

What about when you do know they’re there? What are the interviews really like?
They’re interesting. Sometimes you are secluded where none of the other contestants can hear you, which gives you the courage to be more candid and honest. For those who are trash talkers, I’m sure this is their dream scenario. They can also be tough at times. The producers do try very hard to make you comfortable so that you can feel free to be as honest as you can. Then sometimes, if you are giving enough emotion or honesty, that’s when they pull out the tough questions which can hit you right where they hurt!

It seems natural, then, that we saw a few breakdowns – what was the biggest breakdown you remember from your time on either show?
I remember a few breakdowns from when I was filming The Bachelorette. The first one being the barbecue with the guys. I’ll never live that down. I remember being exhausted. Those early days in filming are so long because there are so many guys and just me. Every time I turned around, I had to film something, and I was just simply tired and craved some alone time. This day in particular, I was annoyed because we were all tired and this one guy in particular was super hungover from staying up drinking the night before and just making things tough for everyone else the next day. I just remember loosing it. My anger was aimed for him but came off as if I was angry at all the guys. I took my experience very seriously, and I tried to be as genuine and honest as the show would allow me. So I got really frustrated at this one guy for making things complicated for us all. I didn’t think it was right for him, or anyone else for that matter, to be there if they weren’t there for the right reasons, and I wanted to be very blunt and brutally honest about that. I gave up my job, my life and was away from my family to try and find my “happily ever after.” My biggest fear throughout was being lied to by any of the guys about whether they were there for the right reasons or not. Trust is a big thing for me.

Finally, let’s talk about the rose ceremonies. Fans would love to know what they’re really like. Spill!
The rose ceremonies are so long! I know I’m not the only contestant who has ever said that. They usually start at dark which is around 8 p.m. and last until 8 a.m. the next morning. So, when you see people sobbing after only night one, mix those emotions with alcohol, exhaustion, rejection and a producer probing you to talk about a person not loving you. It’s really tough. Even as the Bachelor or Bachelorette, it is so hard to let someone go after a rose ceremony knowing they will experience all this. The emotional roller coaster is tough for everyone on the show.

RELATED VIDEO: DeAnna Pappas Stagliano Sizes Up Lifetime’s UnREAL

UnREAL

airs Mondays (10 p.m. ET) on Lifetime.