When Desiree Hartsock competed for the affections of Sean Lowe on season 17 of "The Bachelor," she fell short of the final rose after a visit home resulted in a tete-a-tete betwen Lowe and her protective brother, who called him a "playboy" on national television.
Despite only reaching the final four, the 27-year-old bridal designer won the hearts of the show's fans. Her popularity has allowed her to continue her quest for love as the star of season 9 of "The Bachelorette," which will premiere on Monday, May 27 on ABC.
Hartsock spoke to OTRC.com about the upcoming season, in which she will have the opportunity to pick and choose from the 25 suitors in competition for her hand in marriage. The Los Angeles native talked about her "extremely emotional and dramatic" journey, which involved lessons in love, a reappearance from her brother and "lots of abs."
Check out 5 highlights from OTRC.com's exclusive interview with Desiree Hartsock below and watch the videos above for the extended version.
1. It'll be just bikinis for Desiree Hartsock on "The Bachelorette."
OK, so, what is your bikini budget for this season?
"[laughs] I don't have one! No, I don't know."
Because the guys are always seemingly without a shirt, so I suspect you'll be traipsing around in next to nothing.
"Exactly. I had to be a part of it. If they were gonna have their shirts off all the time, so you'll see a lot of abs... from them, not me."
Are you ever in a one-piece, or is it all bikini?
"No, all bikini."
You smile when you say that, but...
"Because we really were in our swimwear a lot."
But aren't there wardrobe malfunctions that can happen when you're walking around like that?
"Mmm, we're careful. We're very careful."
2. Her brother will return.
So, back to last season. You got a lot of attention with what your brother said. And he ended up being quite right. So, will your brother be back to help be a little bird in your ear singing?
"My brother will be in the show. He will be in the show."
Are you happy? Do you thank him now?
"Of course! I mean, he was looking out for me. It was circumstantial. It wasn't how he feels about everything. So he's supportive of me this season."
3. Is she in love? Maybe ...
Are you in love right now?
"I, um, to be honest, this journey was extremely emotional and dramatic and there's going to be a lot of surprises. And you'll just have to stay tuned."
See why I say I can be... I'm not convinced you're in love.
"Well, you'll have to stay tuned."
You're tough, you know. You're tough. But when you talk about that, I can see a little bit of glassy eyes.
"Glassy eyes? [laughs] I believe in love. I truly do, that's why I did the show. I believe it's real and it can happen. It can happen online. It can happen at the grocery store. It can happen in the office. Why not on TV?"
But if we're gonna invest all these weeks in watching you seemingly fall in love, we kinda do wish for a happy ending. And you're not telling me there's a happy ending.
"I want you to be able to watch and be surprised because there are so many twists and turns. And it's gonna be interesting to watch, and I can't say if I am or if I'm not."
4. Will she get married ... on TV?
[The bachelors] need to know that their odds are 1 in 25 that their life could kinda change in a dramatic way. So, I believe that Sean may take ABC up on its offer and get married in primetime. Would you ever want your wedding to be so public?
"Um, if, and when, that time comes, I would give it a thought. But a wedding to me is really special, and it's? I want it to be intimate and small, so odds are, I don't know, to be honest."
5. What "The Bachelorette" taught her ...
What did being "The Bachelorette" teach you about being yourself that makes you a stronger person, a better person, a happier person?
"Um, let's see. Actually, I think just what I learned throughout it is that sometimes in life I always thought I knew what I wanted in my life. But I think I learned and I realized what I actually needed in my life. And that was a huge learning curve for me."
Sometimes, when you do these shows and you see the person that you might be in love with, there's suddenly a 3-year-old that's part of his or her life, you know, where you could be an instant mom. Exciting for you?
"Oh yeah. If someone I end up loving has kids, I mean, I'm okay with that. I mean, I don't see anything wrong."
You really went into this with an open mind.
Reporting by George Pennacchio and Cari Skillman of KABC Television, which produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).
Can't get enough "Bachelorette"? Check out Desiree Hartsock's interview with WABC Television, sister station of OTRC.com's parent company, KABC.
Watch three clips from the new season of "The Bachelorette" below.