Daniel Smith/FOX

"There is only one guy and 12 women so you really have to make your mark," Thom tells PEOPLE of competing for the affections of a man she was believed to be Prince Harry

May 22, 2014 10:30 AM

Leah Thom is not like most girls – and she is okay with that.

As one of the 12 American girls selected to compete for the heart of a man they were led to believe was Prince Harry on FOX’s I Wanna Marry ‘Harry’, Thom, 24, did not share the same enthusiasm for fawning over a stranger she just met and was the first sent home by the faux prince.

Now back in the United States, the cocktail waitress from Fort Worth, Texas, talks to PEOPLE about being duped into believing the bachelor Matt Hicks was actually the royal redhead and why she went looking for love on national television.

What did you think of the premiere episode? Were you surprised about the other girls criticizing your fashion and makeup?
I watched it yesterday with everybody else. I quite liked it. It was pretty funny. And I’m not really like the other girls. I don’t spend a lot of time doing my hair and makeup. All the girls were pretty upfront about how they felt about me and there was nothing surprising there.

What made you want to go on a reality dating show?
It is not something that I thought I ever would do. I just got a text message one day asking if I wanted to audition and one of my best guy friends said I was really awesome and I had to do it. I almost chickened out on the day of the audition but he made me go and it just kind of worked out that they liked me.

RELATED: I Wanna Marry ‘Harry’‘s Matt Hicks Calls Dating American Women an ‘Eye Opener’

Matthew Hicks as Prince Harry
Daniel Smith/FOX

Were you actually convinced you were dating the real Prince Harry?
I don’t really follow pop culture – as was made very apparent by the first episode. And my Internet is limited to watching TV shows so I honestly had no idea what he really looked like or if he would do something like this or anything like that so it was really up in the air.

Were you upset when you realized you all were being misled?
It wasn’t that shocking that he was a fake because, of course this was too good to be true, but I wasn’t really there for too long so it didn’t affect me as much as it would the other girls.

Why do you think you were sent home first? Matt said you didn’t look like you were having a good time.
How could you not have fun being at a masquerade ball in England? But I was super nervous. It is not something that you do every day so maybe my nerves got the best of me on that one. The whole thing was kind of like speed dating of the worst kind because there is only one guy and 12 women so you really have to make your mark and unfortunately his comment about American girls being very forward wasn’t really about me.

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