After her Bachelor debut in 2015 on Chris Soules’ season, Ashley Iaconetti, better known as Ashley I., has taken the world by storm. Not only has she starred on two seasons of Bachelor in Paradise and the first season of The Bachelor Winter Games, Iaconetti successfully hosts two podcasts, The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast and I Don’t Get It, and has created her own seven-episode talk show series, “The Story of Us.” Since her graceful public breakup with Bachelor in Paradise contestant Kevin Wendt, she’s been keeping busy with a variety of ambitious projects and recently took the time to speak with Her Campus about her retirement from reality TV, her favorite Bachelor couples and her experiences with dating in the real world.
Her Campus: You’ve recently started your own mini talk show series called “The Story of Us.” What are some things you’ve learned about love and relationships from the couples you’ve interviewed?
Ashley Iaconetti: The thing that just came to my mind is to have a good sense of humor about your relationship, because all of the couples were kind of laughing at each other and those little idiosyncrasies. Everything was just a really light-hearted feeling.
HC: You were inspired to start this show by your inability to find love on reality television—why do you think it was so hard for you to find it? In general, why are so few couples successful in staying together?
AI: I feel like for me, I’ve definitely found people that I’ve had strong feelings for on the show. It’s just a matter of them feeling it back at the time. As far as why I think some of the couples make it, I think it’s a great atmosphere to start a relationship in because you’re forced to talk about lots of things that you probably wouldn’t normally and are kind of uncomfortable to talk about in the early stages of dating, but these couples kind of have to. It’s a blessing even though at first it can be a really awkward feeling, but in the end you’re definitely stronger. The foundation of your relationship is stronger off the bat. You can really tell you like somebody a lot if you can be with them 24/7, basically in a Bachelor in Paradise setting, and not have any distractions like phones or TVs or internet. That’s why I think they’re successful, because if they’re successful in the moment and survive that portion of a relationship, real life may be easy or it may be harder. It just kind of depends, and that’s why I feel like couples are either together in the real world for a brief amount of time or forever.
HC: Which Bachelor couples inspire you to keep searching for The One?
AI: Definitely Jade and Tanner, and Kaitlyn and Shawn. They just have the cutest relationships ever, and I always tell Jade and Tanner this. I think they just complement each other so well.
HC: Do you foresee yourself going back onto Bachelor in Paradise or are you retired from the franchise?
AI: I definitely say that I’m retired as cast member for sure, but if they want me to come and make a little appearance on a date, I’d love to.
HC: You’ve been very open about your breakup with Kevin Wendt after Paradise. Have you been leaning on Jared throughout this breakup, or has he helped you in any way?
AI: Jared is always in my life. He’s always a very positive force and somebody who makes me happy. As far as the breakup goes, I don’t talk about that stuff with Jared too much. But I’m glad I was able to talk about it pretty publicly because I want people to know that Kevin and I do adore each other as people.
HC: It’s fantastic that you and Kevin are still friendly. What advice would you give a young woman who wants to try being friends with her ex?
AI: It’s really a case-by-case basis, that’s all I can say. Some people you can be friendly with afterward, and some people it’s probably not good for one of the people to be in a friendship environment. It can still be leading the other person on. For a lot of people, it’s easier to be friends afterward because they’re just going to miss that component of their life as that person played such a big role.
HC: Now that you’re single again, are you enjoying your time alone or are you back on the market looking for that special someone?
AI: I think I’m just enjoying my time alone right now. I think it will be a little bit before I really start being out there with somebody. At the moment, I have a lot of work. I’m back at ClevverTV, which I took off for The Bachelor Winter Games season. I also have my two podcasts still going on and then a whole bunch of miscellaneous. There’s always something. The other day I covered one of Becca’s dates for Cosmopolitan, and a couple days before that I interviewed some of her new guys for Access. All these little things pop up.
HC: Is it hard to date in real life after all this TV dating?
AI: The funny thing is that being on TV makes real life dating easier because you’re like “Oh, I’ve dated on TV before,” so it can’t really get more nerve-wracking than that. Also, all the things you go through on the show basically allows you to really embrace yourself and be completely yourself when you’re on a date with somebody. You’re like, “Eh, I love me. If you don’t love me, then see you later.” It actually makes dating pretty easy.
HC: When you meet a guy, what’s the first thing you notice about him?
AI: Definitely eyes and mouth. He’s got to have a good mouth and pretty eyes, or I probably won’t be into it. I tend to like guys with really nice bone structure, just classically handsome. After that, I think it’s about conversation. I feel like that’s easy, if conversation is good and I feel comfortable being around him. I can tell pretty much right off the bat if I’m going to be myself with him, unless I really like him and he makes me really nervous in the beginning. Then, all I do is hope and pray that I’ll be able to get over that hump. If I’m nervous initially, that probably means I like him a lot.
HC: What are some things that turn you off or find unattractive in a man?
AI: This is really situational, but when somebody says, “What’s your flaw?” and then I tell them my flaw. Then they go, “Oh, we’re going to change that.” I’m like, “Mmmm, no.” I just realize this is part of me, and it’s a part of me that’s probably never going to change. You’re going to have to love and accept me for me, or it’s just not going to work. Also, any guy who’s too controlling or super possessive, or insecure is obviously a complete turnoff.
HC: Along those same lines, what’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?
AI: It was probably a date I went on over the summer. It was so bizarre because it was a dating app date and the guy asked what I did. I told him, “Oh, I do this and that,” and he said, “How do you have the following to do that?” I said, “Well, I was on The Bachelor.” Then he said, “Oh, one time I watched that show because my girlfriend used to watch it. There was this girl on there, and she was a virgin. I’m like, ‘What a liar.’ That b*tch wasn’t a virgin, and she just lied to America.” I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting because that b*tch is me.” But I didn’t say that. I didn’t admit to anything. I’m just like, “Okay! We’re going to power through this date as fast as I can.” And that was it. That guy was a total d*ck. After completely having like zero chemistry, he said, “Let’s go to Taco Bell.” Then we’re walking to Taco Bell, and he’s trying to make out with me along the way. I’m like, “Are you joking me right now?” That was a bad one.
HC: We know your plate is pretty full already, but are there any future projects or endeavors you’ve been thinking about starting or have already started?
AI: I definitely want “The Story of Us” to be a success, so that maybe I can do that again with some more couples. I’m having couples email me their stories all the time. I had this one amazing girl email me a couple days ago about how she fell in love with guy at work. His girlfriend broke up with him, and then his cancer came back. She spent the first two months of the relationship in the hospital with him. It was such a sweet story. I want to really highlight those stories again, so I really want “The Story of Us” to continue on. I’m always trying during The Bachelor/Bachelorette off-season to put together some sort of charity event. Right now I’m trying to do “The Bachelor Girls Yard Sale.” I want to get all the LA girls together and all of our clothes that are too nice to throw away into the donation pile, and have the fans come and basically shop. It would be like a Bachelor mall. We can only wear things a certain number of times because we’re photographed, so I thought let’s give these clothes away and give the money to charity. It would be awesome, so that’s what I’m trying to put together now.