'The Bachelor' s Gia Regrets Not Opening Up with Jake

Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Although the New York-based swimsuit model’s mom saw their future in the tarot cards, Gia Allemand and Bachelor Jake Pavelka‘s road to romance ended on a picturesque peak in St Lucia. The 26-year-old stunner discussed with PEOPLE what went wrong and what she learned in the process. –Carrie Bell

You were obviously falling for Jake yet you withheld your feelings. Do you regret it?I regret it. I wish I said what I thought about him. I said it to everyone else but him. But I had a bad breakup and my heart was really broken and I was scared to come out and say it. I just kept waiting, holding off and hoping that I could get it out. I didn’t.

On the winery date, he told you it was okay to fall yet let you go two dates later. Are you angry about that?It was my way of trying to tell him I’m falling for him, that I love him. Every other girl was at that point already. I wanted him to see me and know I had feelings for him too. I don’t have any anger towards him. I understood the situation. I didn’t expect to get this far and know him as I got know him.

Given your reluctance to share your feelings, could you see yourself in a long-term relationship with Jake?After my hometown and seeing how he interacted with my parents, I started really envisioning it. Like this could really happen. This really does work.

Were you shocked that he chose Vienna and Tenley over you?I was shocked because that was the first time I opened up a lot to him. I didn’t say and do what he needed to hear, but I thought we had something. But the other girls were just a lot farther along with him.

Do you think he regrets letting you go or not letting Ali come back?I think he’s happy with his decision, whichever route he chose. He looks happy at least.

Did you know she’d made the phone call?No. I thought maybe she’s coming back. I’m still like, “Maybe she comes back again.” You never know.

You called Jake out for acting similarly with all the girls. Was it especially hard to watch the similar fantasy dates in the St. Lucia episode?It was especially difficult because at that point you don’t see the other girls. I was trying to think that it’s just him and I dating. So, after watching and seeing what they did, it was difficult. It hurt. It brought a little emotion to me. It was really important for me to call him out on that because I didn’t understand. In my head, I thought, “This is our thing.” But talking with other girls, you’d hear he did the same things. I think he appreciated my honesty. Honesty is what he likes best about Vienna.

Would it have been easier for you if he’d let you go before hometowns?Yes, but I wouldn’t have gotten the experience that I got. I’ve always had problems with opening up to and after The Bachelor process, I was able to feel the feelings again. All in all, worth it. The experience changed me. I went through it open-minded, hoping to meet a great guy and get the fairy tale, but I never in a million years imagined knowing myself better because of the process. You really understand yourself and what you want and don’t want in the end. You know more about yourself emotionally

You look fabulous and you model bikinis for a living. Would you consider doing Playboy if they came calling?No. My family would disown me and I like my dad.

What about returning as the Bachelorette?I would definitely consider it. It’s such an amazing experience. I would love to ultimately find love and see how it is on the other end. Craig Sjodin/ABC

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