He may have been rejected by Bachelorette Jillian Harris, but Jake Pavelka is ready to soar on his new quest for love. Premiering Jan. 4 at 9/8c on ABC, The Bachelor: On The Wings Of Love will feature the commercial pilot as he narrows down his search from 25 women to one final lady. TVGuide.com spoke with the 31-year-old about the show's famous hot tub, how he responds to being labeled perfect, and why he has no regrets from either season.
TVGuide.com: What did you bring from your experience on The Bachelorette to The Bachelor?
Jake Pavelka: When you're on The Bachelorette, you have a lot of time to think, analyze and go over different conversations you've had. You don't have a cell phone, your parents to talk to, your friends, and everything just slows everything down to a good pace. You start becoming really aware of how what you say affects people and it makes you a lot better at dating and in relationships.
TVGuide.com: Given the show's not-so-stellar record, are you a bit skeptical of the process?
Pavelka: Well, you can have everything in common with somebody, the same goals, same values, same temperament, same dreams, and there's just not that indescribable magic spark that makes a relationship pop. So I didn't go in pushing. I knew everybody would be unbelievable, and they were, but I was waiting to see where that spark was going to be. The show does have a bit of a rough history, people breaking up or changing their minds, and that's OK. I tried to be very honest no matter how painful it was and I just remained really open-minded.
TVGuide.com: What is something that viewers would be surprised to know about you?
Pavelka: When I was younger, I did a little bit of acting. I played young Chuck Norris on a television show thinking I wanted to be a professional actor. Coincidentally, I'm terrible at it. It's too boring for me, I like a real high-paced environment, so I gave it up and fly airplanes for a living and love it.
TVGuide.com: Did you ever imagine you'd be back on TV?
Pavelka: No. When I closed the door on trying to be an actor, I thought I was done with TV. But it does not feel like we filmed a show. You get so used to cameras being around it's almost like living a normal life and dating 25 amazing women. I kind of forgot all this was going to air. It's going to be really weird reliving it January 4 and going, "Oh my gosh, there really were cameras there."
TVGuide.com: So then it's safe to assume you were in the moment, whether that involved hot tubs or not?
Pavelka: My answer to that is I'm going to go on there to be myself. In regards to the hot tub stuff, if I were to go in and meet a girl in Starbucks, date her, start getting really close and then jump into a hot tub with her with a swimsuit on, why not do that? That's the problem that everybody tacks onto the show, "This isn't real life." It really is. So if you go on there trying to be something you're not, "Well I would get in a hot tub in real life, but I'm not going to do it here because it's on TV," it's almost a little hypocritical. You're not being yourself and not allowing these women to get to know who you really are.
I stressed to the producers that that's exactly what needs to happen this season: everybody being themselves. A lot of the dates and different activities we got to do on the show were geared around what I would do in my normal life — what dates scream Jake.
TVGuide.com: Last season, some of your fellow contestants thought you were too perfect. How do you respond to that?
Pavelka: Is it perfect or too perfect? [Laughs] Well, being perfect, I think, what a compliment, golly! I don't know what it is that makes people or made the guys on the show and Jillian say that I was too perfect. Something that I see in the dating world these days is a little bit of a lack of chivalry and it's gotten so bad that women almost don't expect it anymore. In my opinion, it doesn't have anything to do with being independent or as strong as men. I just think it's something that an attractive, intelligent woman should expect from a man. Just a little bit of chivalry.
TVGuide.com: Do you have dating rules you to like to follow?
Pavelka: After an unbelievable date, if I want to call her the next morning, I'm just going to call. If that turns her off, "he's smothering me, it's too much too quick," then that's OK; we're probably on two different pages and better now than later. When I like someone, I want them to know. Dating does not have to be that complicated. The one thing that is a little bit different on the show is it's an accelerated process. If you're truly interested, you got to lay your heart out there and do it quick and that's something I'm really good at.
TVGuide.com: Well, since you're a pilot, I have to ask: Have you joined the mile-high club?
Pavelka: [Laughs] I am not a member of the mile-high club, but I'll leave you with this: I aspire to be, no I don't aspire to be, I will be.