In person, Olivia Caridi is chic, polished, and sporting a new, blunt bob. (“I had to chop it!” she tells us. “I was just over hair, and this is [more] my personality.”) Of course, appearances aren’t everything, especially on The Bachelor. Even the most harmless-looking contestants have revealed scheming ways or made bizarre comments (remember Kelsey Poe last season?). And Olivia, the winner of the much-desired first impression rose, seemed almost happy to have a target on her back from the get go. She wasn’t there to make friends—or possibly, to even come away with a fiance. But off the show, in “real life,” is the 23-year-old news anchor from Austin, Texas, really as selfish and conniving as her TV alter-ego led us to believe? Would she really dismiss Ben’s grief over the passing of family friends to talk about her ankles? Did she only do The Bachelor to make the move from local news to the national stage?
When Caridi sits down with us following the taping of the Women Tell All special, she isn’t quite the evil character we watched every Monday. Being sequestered in a house with women competing for the same man, an endless supply of alcohol, and a lack of a proper good night’s sleep can do that to you. But Caridi is no wallflower, either. She’s outspoken and confident, and she’s learned some difficult (and much-needed) lessons for how not to act (as you’ll see when she sits next to Chris Harrison in the hot seat on Monday night’s episode). Whether you loved watching her or loved to hate her, Caridi has a few things she wants you to know. Listen in!
Glamour: Let’s get down to business: How long were you on that island after being left there on the 2-on-1 date?
Olivia: I made a joke on Instagram that I was there for months, but I was only there for five minutes. Their boat left—and then momentarily, my boat pulled up.
Glamour: What did you think when you saw that episode though? The way the weather was that day, and you’re there by yourself about to get blown over with the waves crashing in the background—it was like some feature film.
Olivia: It was crazy. It really was. It was a beautiful moment. [Laughs] No, it was hard to watch. It was probably the most vulnerable I’ve ever been. It kind of made sense in a way because it was the closure I needed. It was honestly kind of funny, but I was like, “Oh, wow, that’s sad.” I put my heart on the line, and I don’t believe leaving anything unsaid, so it’s OK.
Glamour: Looking back, if you went about your relationship with Ben differently, do you think the result would have been different?
Olivia: I don’t think we were meant for each other, no matter how many times I professed my love. I [do] think the relationship wouldn’t have been as tumultuous. The turning point was when some of the girls went to him and said something. Obviously, if I had done everything perfectly maybe that wouldn’t have happened. I believe that it ended the way it was going to anyway.
Glamour: We have to talk about the cocktail party that happened immediately after Ben learned some dear family friends of his had passed away. The way it was edited, it seemed as if you didn’t console him about that at all and just wanted to talk about your ankles. Did the producers ask you not to talk to him about the tragedy and take his mind off of it or was that your decision?
Olivia: I will say, not everything we talk about makes air. So, of course, the first thing I said was, “How are you? I’m always here for you. I’m your shoulder to cry on.” But it’s a long story, which is why I should have known that it wasn’t going to make [the aired version]. I was very overweight growing up, and I hate my legs. Everyone has something they hate. My first few dates, I had to wear spandex. So I’m like, “Ugh, this is the worst.” But after the soccer date, he sat down with me and said, “I love your legs.” In that moment, I flipped. I was floored. For a man to point out the one thing on your body that you hate…so, was it inopportune timing [to bring that up again at the cocktail party]? Yes. I wanted to tell him that he literally like changed my life that day [on the soccer date].
Glamour: So when you heard the other girls criticizing your legs, that’s why you brought it up to him?
Glamour: So you addressed the loss of his family friends before…
Olivia: Yes, of course I did! I would never [do it otherwise].
Glamour: Do you feel that you got an unfair edit then?
Olivia: I could complain about that, but it is what it is. I don’t feel like Olivia—me—ever really made air. It was a tough experience. I had a rough time. If anything, it was hard enough as it was, so for it to sometimes not to come out the way it happened was hard.
Glamour: What do you want now in terms of your career? Do you want to go back to local news or were you hoping this experience would provide a stepping stone to something here in Los Angeles or in New York?
Olivia: Oh! Well, local news is incredible, and I could easily go back to that. When I was working, and this [meaning The Bachelor] wasn’t an option, I wanted big things. I want to be in L.A. or New York. Everybody in this industry wants that. But I’m reasonable. I have to pay my dues. If I have to go back to local news, I have to go back to local news. I want to go back to work, that’s number one.
Glamour: Were you worried though how being on The Bachelor would impact that?
Olivia: Yes, of course! I want to get a job, so I have to. This is my livelihood. I knew what I was risking with this, but I just felt like it was the right thing. Now, if I’ve learned anything, it’s just how much I love to work and how this career is my life. I don’t know what’s going to happen from here, and I don’t have a plan. I’m just kind of figuring it out.
For more of our brand-new Bachelor interviews, click here to read what Caila had to say about surprising Ben (and her hair secrets!) here. To find out what Ben told us after announcing he’s engaged, click here.
Photos: Jessica Radloff; ABC/Rick Rowell