Kaitlyn Bristowe was the star of ABC’s The Bachelorette last season, and it was one of the most popular seasons to date for a reason. Millions of viewers were tuning in every Monday night to witness Kaitlyn keep it real and remain authentic throughout one of the most unrealistic and stressful scenarios she had ever been put through. But it looks like that whirlwind was only the beginning for Kaitlyn. Part of the reason her fans continue to both follow and support her is because she’s so easy to relate to. She won’t say what what people want to hear, she’ll just tell the truth – even if the truth isn’t what comes across the best on camera. Kaitlyn is hilarious, honest and down-to-earth. She told us, “I’ve always said that I’d rather be funny than pretty – I just needed to find someone who could keep up with me.” Well, as luck would have it she found Shawn Booth – and anyone who watches the couple on Snapchat can see that Shawn definitely keeps up. It’s a no-brainer why Kaitlyn told People “Shawn was always the one.” So what was it really like for Kaitlyn to be on reality TV, and what has your favourite couple been up to since The Bachelorette? Check out our exclusive interview with Kaitlyn below for all the revelations, details and cleared-up rumors:

It’s stating the obvious that 2015 was an amazing year for you. What’s in store for 2016?

K: I have decided that I am not doing resolutions for the new year anymore, that I am doing monthly resolutions instead. I ask myself, what did I accomplish this month, and what can I work on for the next month. I think that’s the best way to do it. So for this year… there’s a lot, but I am going month to month to stay sane.

I know I want to start planning a wedding, I want to start a podcast, do more charity work, keep up with my voice lessons, do a better job at blogging, and just improve myself over all! I want to be the best Kaitlyn I have ever been!

Image: Karolina Turek Photography

Image: Karolina Turek Photography

What’s something about your relationship dynamic with Shawn off-camera that would surprise people?

K: I cant believe that I’m about to admit this, but sometimes I think Shawn might be the funny one in the relationship. Okay, wait … no. I am definitely the funny one, but he can keep up! He makes me laugh a lot, and with editing they didn’t display his humor on the show, which is unfortunate because that’s something I love the most about him.

The Bachelorette is known for its amazing date ideas, and your season included some especially phenomenal dates. What’s your idea of a SuperDate?

K: I honestly think my dream date would be taking a helicopter (they are so much fun) to the middle of nowhere and camping out. Make a fire from scratch, no cell phones allowed, and bring a deck of cards and bottles of wine (no glasses). The helicopter would make it extravagant and fun, but then we’d just rough it in the middle of no where with ZERO distractions and good conversation.

How much creative control did you have during your season of The Bachelorette? Did you get to help plan or choose the dates?

K: I unfortunately didn’t have much say in planning the dates for the show. They have a whole team that does that! The team has to have all the dates planned and ready before the season starts or they would run into a lot of problems with being organized. BUT I did however have say in who went on what date for the most part.

I knew I didn’t want to take Shawn on extravagant dates, because I genuinely wanted to get to know him, sit and talk, and see what real life would be like with him. Not to take away from my helicopter fancy dates with other guys.

You recently spoke at TedxVancouver and gave an incredibly insightful run-down of what it’s like to be involved in reality showbiz. How were you able to maintain your authenticity and stay true to yourself despite being put into, as you said, “unrealistic scenarios” on “manufactured television”?

K: I constantly had to remind myself that I was on a TV show. I couldn’t become a character and do or say what America wanted me to do or say. I had to stay true to myself, even if that meant people not liking me or agreeing with me. How do you find the successful love story you dream of if you aren’t yourself? I really wanted it to work. There are times of course on reality television when you have to work with producers, keep people you don’t wanna keep, (we all love having the ridiculous one stay around) or having someone get down on one knee who you are about to reject. The show isn’t scripted, but there is of course a format participants sometimes have to follow.

One of the reasons you were voted The Bachelorette was because many of the men truly appreciated your realness, and even in the face of fame you’ve kept it real. How have you been able to stay grounded despite this ongoing whirlwind?

K: I think the timing was right for me to find love and be exposed to the world. I think a lot of my realness has come with age, and being happy with who I am. I don’t want to change. I want to be the same goofy, edgy, care free woman that I was before the show. I of course want to improve every year, but I am happy with myself. And if anything, I believe the show has been a reminder to keep it real. I have seen people let it go to their heads, or lose who they were. I have been meditating lately to reflect and remind myself what makes me happy, grounded, and what I am thankful for. I always think of the same things. Friends, family, and now Shawn. If I have those, I am grounded and humble.

You mentioned on your blog that you lost hair during filming due to stress. How surreal was the news that you would be The Bachelorette, and what was the most stressful part of the experience?

K: Well as you may recall, I didn’t get the news that I was The Bachelorette until the men had decided that on night one. I still look back on that night and think, what a terrible thing to put us through. Again, you can be as happy and confident as you are with yourself, but when you are put next to another beautiful, sweet, outgoing woman, and waiting for men to decide who they would prefer…. That is stressful. And as stressful as that was, I don’t even think that was the worst of it. I am a person that functions on sleep. I didn’t sleep much, I was constantly hurting peoples feelings, you are making a life altering decision based on weeks of knowing someone, you don’t have family, friends, or anyone to talk to until they meet the last 2 guys, and you make mistakes on national television. I’m not sure which was the most stressful out of all those things but it’s just really tough stuff.

You’ve had some awesome travel opportunities recently, both on the show and afterwards. Where’s your favourite place you’ve traveled to recently and why?

K: I think Ireland was my favourite destination. People are just happier in general over there and give less f’s about everything. (Am I allowed to say that?) Their lifestyle is work hard play hard, they are all about traditions, its historical, and the countryside is BEAUTIFUL! It’s just a stunning, fun, happy place. You’ll feel like you’re in a different world there. And those people like to drink. I love it.

Image: KaitlynBristowe.com

Image: KaitlynBristowe.com

In your Brides interview, you stated that your relationship with Shawn has only gotten better since the cameras stopped rolling. How has it been living with Shawn and getting to know each other off camera? What’s an activity that the two of you love doing together?

K: We had a few tough times on the show, it wasn’t all roses. (EW I can’t believe I just said that.) We just wanted to get off camera, and be together. So life has been great for us since. There were no surprises after moving in together. We are both clean, we like the same music, our taste in movies and TV shows are similar, we enjoy cooking meals together and playing games! (I have monopoly on my iPad and we play that a lot). We work out together, and laugh a lot. We are also a couple that spends very little time apart so of course we also get on each others nerves now and again. I will never be a person who tries to pretend I’m perfect.

Image: Instagram.com/KaitlynBristowe

Image: Instagram.com/KaitlynBristowe

Your Snapchat followers want to know: what are the chances of you and Shawn getting your own reality show?

K: The idea of having cameras around all the time again kind of gives me anxiety. But at the same time we don’t rule anything out. We didn’t have control over any content The Bachelorette produced, and if we did have control with our own reality show, it would probably be a lot more fun than last time! SO WHO KNOWS!

We know you felt strongly about Shawn from the beginning (he even got the first impression rose). What was it about Shawn that stood out?

K: His realness. From the moment he spoke to me with that sexy low voice… He was real. He looked me in the eyes, and said things he meant, and I felt that. He didn’t try too hard, and he didn’t not try enough. I knew that he was a man, with a good heart, and he just happened to be ridiculously good looking too.

It’s also pretty obvious that you and Shawn bring out the best in each other when it comes to playfulness and humor. Was it important to you that Shawn appreciated your sense of humor?

K: I always looked for someone who appreciated my sense of humor, and someone who could keep up with it. When my family met Shawn for the first time, it was under very serious circumstances since I was about to be engaged to someone they were just meeting for the first time. The million-dollar question they all had for him was will you be able to keep up with Kaitlyn? Let me tell you: He not only keeps up, but he joins in. Anyone who watches our snapchat knows how goofy we love to be together. From letting Shawn do my makeup, to Shawn letting me style his precious hair, to dance-offs and constantly laughing together, we know that humor keeps our relationship strong. I always say that lovers are lunatics, and that’s not a bad thing.

What’s it like to be off the market and to have found true love?

K: It just feels right!

You can follow Kaitlyn on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Her Snapchat is snapbackbean and her personal blog can be read at KaitlynBristowe.com

Image: Karolina Turek Photography

Image: Karolina Turek Photography

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