The 29-year-old star of the first edition of The Bachelor Canada says that looking for love on the small screen is more intense than it may appear—and that’s coming from a guy who used to make a living getting tackled in the CFL. We caught up with Smith to discuss Pretty Woman, the perils of drinking and dating, and whether a wedding is in the cards.
I just watched the second episode and I’m dying to know whether that jewellery-box snap (à la Richard Gere in Pretty Woman) was off the cuff.
I’m cheesy enough to know that movie pretty much off by heart, and as soon as I saw the box, I was like, “Oh, man, this is happening.” When I did it, I was a little worried there would be crickets in the room. But I think it went over pretty well.
To what extent are we seeing the real you?
Mostly they just put me in a situation and said, “Go.” And from what I’ve seen so far, it’s 100 per cent me. They allowed me to be myself—goofy and imperfect.
By episode two you already seemed less nervous than you did that first night. So I guess you really do stop noticing the cameras.
The first night [a cocktail party where the bachelor attempts to spend time with all 25 women] is a total baptism by fire. If you can get through that, it gets a lot easier. And, yeah, eventually it’s like, boom, the cameras are gone. Part of that is the amazing camera people and producers who just made everything so comfortable. These are people I now consider close friends.
Close enough to get invited to your wedding?
So there is going to be a wedding, then?
What I mean is that they will be invited regardless of when I get married. Even if that’s in the future and outside of the show.
I was just trying to trick you there, Brad. Tell me about the giant tattoo on your chest, over your heart.
It’s a memorial piece for my two friends that died. I was never really a tattoo guy, but the experience of losing two people I was close to became a real transition period for me. All the people who are chirping at me about it online are going to feel pretty bad when they find that out.
How intense was the filming experience? Was there a lot of lounging around between dates?
No, definitely not. I was either seeing the girls or travelling every day. Before we started shooting, the producers told me that it was going to be pretty strenuous. I know dating doesn’t sound all that strenuous, but you have to be constantly on, always trying to make the best impression. Then I’d get on a plane for 10 hours. I probably got about two or three hours of sleep a night and then it was like, “Time to dance, monkey.”
How much drinking goes on at the house?
After that first night, I don’t think anyone went too crazy. I mean, we would have parties on group dates, but I don’t think I ever had more than three drinks. I didn’t want to be that guy.
Right, but some of the ladies became “that girl.”
You can’t judge them, though. They’re putting themselves out there 100 per cent and they’re really just thrown into this. Just because you have a few drinks and it’s caught on tape doesn’t define your personality.
I agree, but it just seems like not getting wrecked while the cameras are rolling would be a no-brainer.
I think that’s a lesson everyone thinks they know before they go on, but that first night is just so incredibly awkward. All the girls were pretty wound up and they all just wanted to get some time with me, which wasn’t easy.
That’s an understatement. You were being yanked back and forth like a rag doll.
And that’s just the part that you’re seeing.
Let’s talk about some of the women who didn’t make it past that first rose ceremony. Who was the one who wore hiking boots under her gown?
Those boots were a major boner-killer, no?
She was being who she is, which is great. For a different guy those boots might have been the best thing he’s ever seen. I definitely think it was the funniest introduction.
No, the funniest introduction was Bubba. She’s probably someone who could have laid off the liquid courage.
Keep in mind I don’t hear all the stuff the girls are saying on camera or to each other, so I missed most of that.
Like when she said, “Bubba don’t chase c–k”?
Yeah, I didn’t hear that at the time. I did hear her kind of trashing Mindy. To each his own, but I’m a class before crass kind of guy. I’m not going to say that she was wrong in how she acted, though. Bubba is a great girl. I think she was just out of her element.
Okay, I guess we have to talk about the obvious front-runner, Whitney. You know she’s bad news, right?
Maybe she’s bad news to other girls.
Yes, but girls who can’t get along with other girls are trouble. Trust me on this one, Brad.
If I decide to be with a girl who everybody hates, that’s my decision. I’m not looking to be with someone other girls love, I’m looking to be with someone I love.
After two episodes, your French-kiss tally is three girls.
I’m batting low averages, eh? I’m not a makeout bandit. I’m not going to kiss a girl who I don’t like just because I’m in a situation that is supposed to be romantic.
Your worst sport?
Favourite junk food?
Obama or Romney?
The Bachelor Canada airs Wednesdays on Citytv.