When The Bachelor: Rome's Erica was denied a rose last week, she packed up her tiaras in an emotional exit. Ah, but you have not seen the last of the the 23-year-old Houston socialite, who will return on tonight's episode (9 pm/ET, on ABC) to help Prince Lorenzo Borghese. TVGuide.com talked to Erica about why Lorenzo didn't keep her around, how she stirs up trouble and who she thinks should win the final rose.
TVGuide.com: Why did you want to be on The Bachelor?
Erica: It was actually my dad's idea. He saw an ad for it in a Houston newspaper and suggested it because he knew that I'd been having so much trouble with my dating life. We knew [Lorenzo] was a prince and I did my research on him. If it was, like, a football player, I don't think I would have done it.
TVGuide.com: Why is his being a prince the thing that made you do it?
Erica: I just thought that was really cool and that hopefully we would have things in common and get along really well.
TVGuide.com: Is he as charming in person as he appears to be on TV?
What you're seeing is really how he is. He was always nice, even when he was letting you go. He's a considerate person, thoughtful, nice.... It definitely wasn't an act.
TVGuide.com: Why do you think you were picked to go to Rome?
Erica: I think they wanted to have all different types of girls, for him and for it to be interesting to watch [for viewers], and there were no other girls there like me. I don't think there's ever been a girl on The Bachelor that's been like me, and you can't say that about all the other girls. Jennifer's a teacher, and Jeannette, too, but every season there's a teacher. There's never been a girl that was a proclaimed socialite before, so I think that's part of the reason [I was chosen].
TVGuide.com: You told Lorenzo you flew coach class for him, which you had never done before. Was that really a big deal for you?
Erica: I said it more in a joking way; I wasn't dead serious and I hope he realized that. I actually have flown [coach] a few times [within] the country, but never out of the country, especially on a flight to Europe. That was about a nine-and-a-half-hour flight [to Rome], so it really was a big deal. When I normally fly first-class, it's very easy to sleep and relax, but this was a terribly unpleasant experience. People were screaming and being loud. I felt like I was making a big sacrifice for him, and I was hoping he would be worth it.
TVGuide.com: Was the castle overwhelming?
Erica: He stayed there, and we stayed in a villa. Our living situations weren't very satisfactory, but I was definitely excited to look around his place. I remember I made a comment to him like, "I'm impressed by this, and I'm not usually impressed."
TVGuide.com: How did you feel during the first night when everyone was trying to get time with Lorenzo?
Erica: That was hard just because I was overwhelmed when I walked in. There were so many girls and most of them were pretty attractive, yet not all of them seemed incompatible with him. There were a lot of girls being very aggressive, but I just made sure to have an interesting conversation with him and make myself stand out. I wore my tiara and I think that helped me stand out, too.
TVGuide.com: Did you always have that tiara?
Erica: Yeah, I've had a few tiaras for a long time, and I brought some of them to Rome with me. It was very weird that none of the other girls brought tiaras. I thought they would think, "Well, I want to look like a princess, so I'm going to wear a tiara," but I guess their minds just didn't work that way. Or they didn't own any.
TVGuide.com: You were pretty upset about being voted off last week. Why do you think you were sent home?
Erica: First of all, I'll be back [this] week. But comparing me to Agnese, he had to pick one or the other, and I think he secretly thought he should keep the Italian girl around for a long time because he is from Italy and that would seem good of him. Maybe he wanted to try to identify with someone from his native land. I can 100 percent in my mind say that I don't think he's going to end up with Agnese. I don't think they ever had a significant conversation. He told me that I was changing myself for him, and I had no idea what he was talking about. To be with him, I don't think I'd have to change at all, so I found that a little offensive. I said going into that situation that if he genuinely got to know me and didn't like me and gave me a good reason, then I'd go home happily. But I felt very unsatisfied.
TVGuide.com: They're bringing you back on this week's show. Are you able to receive roses when you return, or are you just there as a special guest?
Erica: I come back mainly to decide which girls should be deserving of a one-on-one date with Lorenzo, and that is a huge deal, because that [lets] him get to know these two girls better than all the others.
TVGuide.com: Who are you favoring?
Erica: Well, I can't say who I picked for that date, but I can say of the girls left that I would not want Agnese ever to be with him, because she's not nice and I don't think she's princess material at all. I've always thought that Sadie was the cutest little thing ever and that she looks like a little princess. She's the only one that I can see him taking with him to elegant charity events. She would fit in just because she always looks so great.
TVGuide.com: Who is there for the wrong reasons?
Erica: I doubted the sincerity of Agnese because she was just a hard person to get to know and I don't know if she really liked Lorenzo. They barely spoke. I don't know if she [appeared to] like him just because she wanted to move to America and live this different lifestyle.
TVGuide.com: Does anything dramatic happen during your return to the castle?
Erica: Ohhh, yeah. Definitely. The girls get very upset about the activity that I make them do, because I make them express their opinions about each other. Some of them cry. I was shocked, because some of them would pretend to feel one way about certain girls and then in the confessional, where they didn't realize I was listening, they would express their true opinions. [My return] will definitely stir things up a bit.
TVGuide.com: How do you feel now, seeing the show on TV? Do you feel you're being portrayed accurately?
Erica: In a sense, but I don't think I ever seem like I'm at all a nice person. I seem like this very self-absorbed person who's always crying and whining about things, but I really did get along well with the other girls. I expressed my true opinion, and I actually think they respected me for that. I was never mean or snobby toward anyone. I wasn't always crying or complaining about something. I was having fun a lot of the time, and I don't know if that ever comes across. My friends get upset watching it, because they're like, "You're so sweet and so fun," and I'm like, "OK, you guys, calm down. It is a TV show, don't get too caught up in it."
Hey, reality-TV fans! The new TV Guide features an interview with Dancing with the Stars' Mario Lopez.
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