From first sight to hindsight. Married at First Sight’s Jamie Otis goes into great detail about her infamous kiss with Ben Flajnik on Season 16 of The Bachelor, and reveals inside secrets about her experience on Bachelor Pad 3 in her packed new memoir, Wifey 101: Everything I Got Wrong After Finding Mr. Right.
In an exclusive interview with The Knot, Otis — now happily married to MAFS costar Doug Hehner — explains, well, everything about her life back in 2011. Read five things we learned during our Q&A, along with juicy excerpts from her new book, out Tuesday, June 7.
1. Jamie Clashed With Ben, Thought He Was Rude During Filming
Otis recalls one particularly tense moment of filming in her memoir. She writes:
When we were in Panama, we visited a poor local village and hung out with the natives. It was cold and rainy that day, and we all infamously wore skimpy bikinis adorned with beautiful beads made by the tribal women (Ben wore a loincloth with nothing underneath). Well, all the ladies were cold and miserable but sucking it up. I’ll never forget what Ben said right in front of these wonderful people, as we ate cold sandwiches in one of their huts, which had no indoor plumbing. “I can’t wait to get back to the hotel and take a hot shower and have a warm meal,” he moaned. I was totally grossed out and he became so unattractive, I didn’t care about getting a rose. “I like these cold sandwiches,” I shot back.
The Knot: The Panama story was crazy. It was then that you knew Ben was a jerk. Did you give him a heads up about this book? And Chris Bukowski and the others [on your season of Bachelor Pad]?
Jamie Otis: I didn’t talk to anyone about my book other than Courtney Robertson, Erica Rose, and a few others. I don’t keep in touch with the guys. I don’t think Chris will be surprised by anything I say. And if Ben reads my book, it will be the most interaction we’ve had since that kissing catastrophe! Ha!
2. Jamie Believes Producers Kept Her Around — Not Ben
Otis claimed that beloved longtime Bachelor producer Elan Gale encouraged her to share her story with viewers, but she didn’t feel comfortable at the time opening up about her childhood. Otis writes:
I think the only reason I was kept around for seven episodes wasn’t because Ben liked me. We barely spoke five words. Elan wanted me to “open up” about my past but I really didn’t feel comfortable talking to Ben about my “impoverished, abusive upbringing.” I was embarrassed and it didn’t seem like a good way to win a man’s heart. Besides, I barely knew Ben, let alone trusted and respected him enough to share my most intimate, less-than-flattering life story. He seemed like a very judgmental, un-empathetic guy.
The Knot: The line — “The only reason I was kept around for seven episodes wasn’t because Ben liked me” — stood out. Is this the case with most cast members? Are producers the ones deciding who gets the roses?
Jamie Otis: I can’t say what the case is for most cast members, but I can’t imagine Ben was the one who chose to give me those roses. I feel like he had his eye on four or five girls and the rest the producers chose.
[Editor’s note: ABC declined to comment.]
3. Jamie Did Not Fit in With the Girls — But She Made Some Lifelong Friends
Before I stepped foot in the mansion, I genuinely believed I could meet my husband and live happily ever after. But the second I sat in that limo heading to meet the Bachelor, it was over for me. I was instantly insecure and knew I didn’t belong there. “Go back to the trailer park, where you belong!” kept running through my head. Kacie “B” Boguskie was in my limo and I was so intimidated by her beauty and confidence, I could barely speak. Why would Ben pick someone like me, when he could be with Kacie, who wasn’t trailer trash and probably had a father and money and a nice house? And the rest night, when the drop-dead gorgeous girls, including Courtney Robertson, Casey Shteamer and Rachel Truehart, fought for Ben’s attention, I talked to the grandma who was brought in for comic relief. I did not feel nearly as incredible as the other women there. I felt like I had more in common with the grandma than I did with any of these women.
The Knot: The line — “I was always more concerned with the girls liking me than the guys” — was also interesting to us. Who [from The Bachelor/Bachelor Pad] is in your inner circle?
Jamie Otis: I didn’t really make a lot of friends when I was on The Bachelor. I never told any of the girls (except for Casey Shteamer) about my home life and upbringing. Turns out Courtney Robertson – the ultimate “villain” and winner of my season – is the only one I am still friends with and talk to regularly now-a-days. But I do love, love, love Casey S., Rachel and Nicki. By the way, Courtney’s co-writer for her NYTBS memoir I Didn’t Come Here To Make Friends is also my cowriter for Wifey 101. Her name is Dibs Baer and she is absolutely stellar!
4. About That Kiss…
Unlike Robertson, Otis wanted to make friends. She writes:
And the seven episodes I made it through were torture for me. I had zero friends—I was the unpopular outsider who never found a clique. I was scared and anxious and lonely. Ben barely knew I was alive and even the producers started giving up on me. I’d never been a quitter so, as Courtney would say, I pulled on my big girl panties and decided to try hard one last time to capture Ben’s heart. Chris Harrison encouraged me to “open up” and in Bachelor terms that meant two things.
- Open up about something traumatic…
- Do something sexual. Ben had already made out with everyone in our house, except for me. As we all know by now, this would be difficult because I was still the most awkward person on the planet sexually. But I wasn’t a quitter and Ben didn’t deserve Option No. 1 so I decided to go with Option No. 2.
5. Would She Do It Again?
The Knot: Your book explained why you reacted the way you did with Ben during that kiss scene — and how things went down on Bachelor Pad. If you were approached, would you do it again?
Jamie Otis: I would never, let me repeat, NEVER go on The Bachelor or Bachelor-anything again. Not the way I was doing it, anyway. I was doing it to potentially find a partner. You’ve got better luck winning the lottery. In hindsight, I wish I had just gone for the “vacation” and “travels.” There are some fancy destinations and really fun dates on The Bachelor!
The Knot: Fun side note: Who are you rooting for JoJo Fletcher to pick [this season of The Bachelorette]?
Jamie Otis: I really like JoJo. When it is this early I feel like you don’t really know the guys well. But based off the first episode (I missed last week) I really like Jordan [Rodgers]! I want to see more of Saint Nick though! I bet he’s a really fun guy!
Pick up a copy of Wifey 101 on Amazon.com.