TVGuide.com: You're actually in the same room? I'm impressed.
Jennylee Berns: Yeah!
Niels Hoven: We're not fighting or anything. We're about to go out for pedicures, in fact.
Jennylee: Maybe we'll get the same color.
Niels: I got a good feeling about pink.
TVGuide.com: Why did you try out for the show?
Niels: Improving my social skills was something I was actively working on, and I was interning at this company in San Francisco, Art of Attraction, which teaches relationship skills to guys. I was taking out the garbage, ordering pizza and stuff, all in order to sit in on their workshops. I'm actually friends with Ankur from Season 2, he's in my department at Berkeley. Anyway, I was at a party where I ran into some members of the casting team. I told them how I was trying to become more comfortable in social situations, and they were like, "That's awesome." They set me up with an interview, and the rest is history.
Jennylee: I actually got called in to do an interview. Somebody had referred me and thought I'd be good for the show. I still don't know who that person was. If you're out there, thank you!
TVGuide.com: Was that a compliment or an insult?
Jennylee: I guess I'm quirky. That's what I hear. Actually, when I went in to do my interview, they said I was "Seinfeld-like." I'm unaware of that fact.
TVGuide.com: Niels, I read a bit about your new career with Art of Attraction on your blog, but can you give me a summary of your life as a dating coach?
Niels: We have two workshops. The first one is all about first impressions, teaching guys how to walk up to a stranger confidently, start a fun, flirty, interesting conversation. The second one is about teaching guys to open up emotionally and connect with people they really care about.
TVGuide.com: Do people have confidence in your skills after seeing the trouble you had getting those numbers in the dog challenge?
Niels: Umm, not everybody. Some people think it's great because they get to see where I came from and where I am now. Other people find it difficult to grasp the fact that this show was filmed eight months ago, and I've actually made quite a bit of progress in the meantime. I went to the show, learned so much from the experience, and then I came back and worked really hard on incorporating all the advice that people had given to me. Within a few months I got my promotion to instructor status, and my life has been awesome ever since.
TVGuide.com: So have you been dating?
Niels: Yes. I'm having a good time right now.
TVGuide.com: Of course, Jennylee, we have to talk about your love life. What's going on with you and Nate?
Jennylee: Nate and I talk every day, and I can't wait to see him next. But you know, he's at Harvard.
TVGuide.com: Have you been able to see him since the show?
Jennylee: I saw him once, a few weeks ago in New York, which was really fun. We're playing it by ear. We weren't really allowed to talk, so we're reliving this experience with the rest of the world, on television.
TVGuide.com: What's it like to watch that unfold?
Jennylee: It's really hard, and I'm sure it's really hard for my dad to watch. When they showed us being physically connected, I feel like that lasted 10 minutes. It just filled my screen. Every time I watch the show, I miss Nate like nuts.
TVGuide.com: It was so romantic when he showed up during your exit interview.
Jennylee: That was so sweet. He jumped out of the window, and you're not allowed to do that at all. They keep pretty good tabs on you, but I guess he snuck [out].
TVGuide.com: What surprised you about the geeks?
Jennylee: Just how geeky they were. I was like, there's just no way! Some of them, and others not so much. Everybody's different.
TVGuide.com: Niels, did you have preconceived notions about the "beauties"?
Niels: As a grad student in electrical engineering, this was a segment of the population that I had basically no contact with. It was a real eye-opening experience to get to hang out with them around the clock and really internalize the fact that they're people just like the rest of us. Everybody has their own insecurities, their own fears, their own shortcomings. We're more similar than most people realize.
TVGuide.com: What was the hardest challenge for you?
Niels: The one that bothered me most was getting phone numbers. I'm absolutely pro-flirting — I think everyone should flirt with everyone they possibly can — but I wouldn't get a number from somebody until I actually intended to follow up and call. It made me feel really uncomfortable and manipulative trying to wheedle numbers from old ladies sitting next to their husbands.
TVGuide.com: What was the hardest challenge for you, Jennylee?
Jennylee: Definitely hauling the hay on that ranch. It was so physically exerting that I fainted afterwards. [You can actually watch that at CWTV.com.]
TVGuide.com: You guys were champs in the elimination room, though.
Jennylee: I was surprised. We lasted more rounds in the elimination room than any other couple.
Niels: We worked really well together.
Jennylee: That's true. Niels was great, because I'm a horrible studier. I cannot retain something I just read, but he can, so he would do that for me and then talk to me about it.
TVGuide.com: Let's talk about the time you didn't work together so well. Niels, why were you so adamant about choosing Cecille and Nate for elimination that time?
Niels: Ceci and Nate were the strongest team in the house. That's pretty clear. Matt and Andrea had been in the elimination room [already], so from the moment this challenge was assigned, they'd cracked open their books and had been studying for the past two days. I really believed that if anybody had the chance to knock Ceci and Nate out in the elimination room, it was Andrea and Matt. I was convinced that, whether or not we chose Ceci and Nate, we would be going to the elimination room the next week. Jenny still thinks I'm wrong in this, but that was my opinion.
TVGuide.com: It seems like Ceci hides her intelligence pretty well.
Niels: She wasn't just hiding [her intelligence] for the camera. In everyday life she hides it, too.
TVGuide.com: Were things cool between you and Cecille before that, Jennylee?
Jennylee: Things were always cool between me and Cecille. We're very different and didn't hang out a ton, but we've always been cool, and we still are.
TVGuide.com: Was she OK with you and Nate being together?
Jennylee: She was pretty cool with it, 'cause I let her know up front. But she was a little, like, I don't want to say jealous, but she was looking to hook up, and that didn't happen.
TVGuide.com: Was there anything about the editing of the show that distorted things?
Jennylee: Some sound bites were put in here and there, like the cow farting when Megan was coughing. And when it looked like there were people in the room when Cecille was bitching about Niels in San Diego.
Niels: If anything, what you see on screen had been really toned down from how I felt like it was in the house. People's personalities are all kind of muted when they're on TV, especially in the emotional scenes. That one day in the house [when we sent two couples to elimination], when everything went haywire, on TV it's all compressed to five or 10 minutes. In the house it was more intense than that for 12 hours straight.
TVGuide.com: There were other times when the editing was making things more fun, though. Like that Niels and Scooter shower scene.
Niels: That was a little unexpected. We weren't actually moving in slow motion! We were covered in hay, which is the itchiest stuff, and dirt from the sheep pen, and were just trying to get it off. I think Nate probably joined in the hosing down, too, at some point, but they didn't show it.
TVGuide.com: Niels, what from your makeover are you sticking with?
Niels: I enjoyed the look they gave me. It turns out that I have some fashion sense. One of the biggest things I got out of the show is that a powerful first impression affects how people treat you. So putting a little bit of effort into how you present yourself is a really worthwhile thing to do.
TVGuide.com: Did you drop your PhD program entirely to be a dating coach?
Niels: I'm taking a break. [BATG] was a chance to step back and look at my life from the perspective of an outside observer, and I realized I wasn't happy in my PhD program, and as a result I put it on hold. It's possible that I'll go back to it in the future, but for now I'm loving life as a dating coach. Eventually I want to do something a little more entrepreneurial, where I'll have the freedom and flexibility to be in charge of my own life.
TVGuide.com: Jennylee, can you explain to us what exactly an Ultimate Fighting Championship ring girl does?
Jennylee: Ring-card girls warn you of the next round. I come out in a bikini, and I also do promotions with their clothing and apparel.
TVGuide.com: And are you still doing that?
Jennylee: Not recently, but I'll be back soon. I do lots of different things. I'm a promotional model, and I've done a lot of fashion shows and print.... I've always done acting and theater. I'd love to do film, and I love hosting. I'm really going in that direction, television. I'd love to do my own travel show.
TVGuide.com: What's next for you?
Jennylee: I hope there's going to be lots of fun stuff in my future. I'm just not sure right now. We're going to be in Las Vegas for the [reunion] episode, on the 21st, at Tao in the Venetian, and we'd love for all of your readers to come!
TVGuide.com: You hear that, everyone? You're invited!
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