Let's face it: Emily Maynard's a great date. In the midst of her stint as this season's Bachelorette, the 26-year-old sassy single mom from Charlotte, North Carolina, accepted our invite to paint pottery at New York's Make Meaning and talk a little shop. We may not have gotten a rose, but she sure won our heart.
TV Guide Magazine: So, filming just wrapped... Did you find what you were looking for?
Maynard: Well, I was happy before I was on the show, and I am happy now. That's a plus, right?
TV Guide Magazine: Wow, you're good. How was it balancing the show with real life?
Maynard: My mom duties went on just like normal. I'd get home from filming at 5am and was up at 7am making breakfast and packing lunch.
TV Guide Magazine: ABC couldn't spring for Lunchables?
Maynard: [Laughs] Well, [my 7-year-old daughter] Ricki is a picky eater. And I'm that mom. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich has to have the crust cut off.
TV Guide Magazine: How did you manage to stand up with so little sleep?
Maynard: I tried to remind myself that there are a million women who would give their arm to be where I am, so I had no right to complain. I wanted to be the best for the guys when I showed up, because it wouldn't be fair to them.
TV Guide Magazine: What did Ricki think of the guys?
Maynard: You know, she didn't meet any of them. I kept her very protected throughout all of this, so she just thinks I was going to work. But one day, I'm going to be really proud to tell her about the decisions I made.
TV Guide Magazine: After your short-lived engagement to Bachelor Brad, how did the producers convince you to do this again?
Maynard: I was like "no way!" At one point, I told them to please stop asking, that I was never, ever going to do this. But I prayed about it and made a list of why I would and wouldn't do it. Everything on the "cons" list was out of fear. What if it didn't work? What would that magazine print?
TV Guide Magazine: You'll be run out of town!
Maynard: Exactly. [Laughs] It turns out no one really cares. And [all of] Charlotte was so supportive. I would go into grocery stores and the magazine covers that had something bad about me would be turned around or ripped off.
TV Guide Magazine: Have you heard from Brad?
Maynard: No. Although I did see an interview he did, saying he dodged a bullet.
TV Guide Magazine: He dodged a bullet?!
Maynard: That was my reaction, too! [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: Now that both experiences are over, what did you learn about yourself?
Maynard: I learned I'm stronger than I give myself credit for. I never thought I'd be able to look at somebody and say, "You need to go."
TV Guide Magazine: Did you ever second-guess yourself during those rose ceremonies?
Maynard: A lot of times! I would go into the cocktail party with my mind made up, then something would happen and I'd change [it].
TV Guide Magazine: And you weren't aware of any beefs between the guys, either, right?
Maynard: No, not unless one of them told me. The first night's drama with Kalon and Stevie? I had no idea any of that had happened until I watched the episode.
TV Guide Magazine: But Kalon brought that on himself, showing up in a helicopter.
Maynard: Oh, totally. But I always stick up for the underdog. Even if he brings it on himself, the mama bear in me wants to protect the guy that's getting picked on.
TV Guide Magazine: Did Chris Harrison ever step in and say, "We need to talk about someone"?
Maynard: He is amazing. He really does care, but I think I made pretty good decisions.
TV Guide Magazine: So we won't spend the season thinking, "Why is she keeping this jerk around?"
Maynard: There [might] be a couple. Remember, I don't get to see what's going on in the house when I'm not there. Maybe I'll be surprised watching!
TV Guide Magazine: What did you think of them casting a race-car driver? [Maynard's first fiancé, NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick, died in a plane crash in 2004.]
Maynard: Honestly, if it had been anyone but Arie, I would have thought something was up. But he's such a great guy, it didn't bother me.
TV Guide Magazine: What ended up being easier, giving out the roses or getting them?
Maynard: I'm not sure what was easier, but I know what was more fun: Giving them out.
TV Guide Magazine: Showing these guys who's boss?
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.