Eventually, just before last week's comedy roast group date, he decided it was time to unveil his true appearance to Ashley. Her reaction? "I'm happy he finally took it off. He's a lot older than I thought he was, but he's cute." Unfortunately, what followed was an awkward group date and the explosive departure of Bentley, which left Ashley heartbroken and contributed to her decision to cancel the cocktail party and proceed straight to the rose ceremony, where Jeff was cut from the running.
Jeff spoke to reporters about his decision to wear a mask, his thoughts on Bentley, and what he took away from the experience:
Were you surprised to be axed before having a one-on-one date?
"To be honest, I thought that having the balls to walk into that house with a mask on I thought I would potentially get a one-on-one date with her sooner rather than later. It just kind of kept getting dragged out a little bit. I guess I was a little surprised by it but it wasn't straining on me or anything like that - I'm just a very laid back person. In life, things that unfold in front of us and whatnot, that's the way it's supposed to happen. If I was booted out of there on the third episode that's essentially the way it was supposed to be. Maybe I would have lasted to the fifth or sixth if I wasn't wearing a mask but the way I look at it is ten years from now there will be people that remember the girl that had the fangs [Madison from last season's The Bachelor]. That stands out, and so does the mask. If I go in for three episodes and I'm out, I'm sure ten years from now you'll remember some idiot wore a mask."
At what point after being cast did you decide to wear the mask?
"People that know me - my friends and family - know I have an extremely dry sense of humour and I love comedy… There have been 600 plus people who have done this show before and I'm like, 'Why the hell would I walk in as just regular old Jeff? That's easy'. I kind of was thinking about maybe doing a fake moustache like Tom Selleck or something, or getting out of the limo eating a doughnut, or being a fake limo driver with a hat and gloves, and really kind of flipping the script around and throwing her and everyone off. That's how I operate. I knew I wanted to go in in disguise and that's kind of how I had the mask idea. After talking to the producers, of course they said, 'We think it's genius and let's roll with it!' The whole idea behind it, as much as it was a joke, had great meaning because it had a great message which is, 'Don't judge me for what I look like or money I have or materialistic things'. I had a brain haemorrhage when I was 29 years old. You only live once and I pretty much said, 'That's it, I'm going to do it. Why not?'"
"No, I didn't really feel a connection at all. I think the mask was distracting in conversations, you have cameras around and whatnot, and you're trying to spell out a bunch of stuff about you right away and it was never real loungey, like let's just go sit on the coach and just hang out like you do at your house and chill and talk and get to know somebody... I usually date girls with darker hair and whatever. I don't know. She has a hilarious sense of humour and I bet you if we were hanging out one-on-one regular without a mask on and going to a movie and grabbing dinner or something, that our conversations would be very normal just like they were the night I had the mask off at the comedy club."
Did you go on the show to find love or make a point?
"If you spoke to any of the casting directors about me they would tell you I'm a very genuine, sincere person and I do want to find somebody I can spend my life with. I've had great relationships with people and what's hilarious about this whole thing is I'm a very normal, regular person. The casting directors would tell you, 'Jeff is just a nice guy'. I treat people with respect. You don't go there knowing exactly who it's going to be. If you get lucky and you walk in and there is chemistry or something it makes the experience that much better, but I didn't talk to Ashley all that much. I only talked to her about three times in the whole time I was there."
You spent a lot of time with Bentley. What do you think of him now after watching the show?
"Bentley was my roommate. I hung out with him a lot and I don't know, it's a hard read, to be honest with you. I've been in sales and whatnot my whole career and have a pretty good judge of character and can read people very well, and my situation walking into that house was basically like a social experiment. I knew what I was getting into, I knew I would walk in and get slayed immediately by pretty much everybody, but there was an exception of a few people in there who did not immediately kind of shun me, so to speak. Bentley was one of them - I immediately was talking to him and Ames. Those two guys right off the bat were really cool. It's hard to read now I have seen some of the stuff. I know he wasn't really happy to be there. I don't know… kind of confusing, to be honest with you."
Did you feel hurt by anything that Bentley said?
"There was no doubt in my mind he missed his daughter but I think it sounds cool or something to maybe say, 'Yeah I'm using the daughter thing and that's really not the case'. If you try to add everything up he'd say… I've had friends say it's very contradicting and it doesn't all add up. Maybe that's what he was trying to do? I have no idea. Did it offend me? No. You move into this house and a lot of people are there not to make friends. You stay in touch with some people and I have a feeling I'll be in touch with Bentley. We talked a lot about business and we're both entrepreneur type guys."
Who do you think is the right guy for Ashley? Do you think she will end up engaged?
"I don't know, I think maybe she'll end up engaged but it's hard to say. I could tell there were a few guys who really seemed sincerely into her. One, of course, everyone has talked about is JP. He seemed like a nice guy. I didn't talk to him tons but again, the reception to me was never real warm... Probably JP, He seems like he was genuinely into her. I'd go with him."
Did you learn anything about yourself from the show?
"It didn't change me as a person. I don't take myself real serious at all and make it a point every day to laugh and smile and try to put smiles on people's faces. I think if there is anything that I learned it's that I have more more balls [than I thought]. I've had so many people reach out to me who have said, 'Dude I could never do that'. I was just like, you know what? I could have bailed and not done it or whatever but I stuck to it and I don't regret it at all because I think it's hilarious."
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC
> The Bachelorette recap: Week 3, Bentley leaves
> Bachelorette Ashley "felt hurt" watching Bentley
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