By Brooke Hill | News Editor
Jordan Kimball (“The Bachelorette” season 14, “Bachelor in Paradise” season 5), Leo Dottavio (“The Bachelorette” season 14, “Bachelor in Paradise” season 5) and James Taylor (“The Bachelorette” season 12) came to Waco Tuesday night for a meet-and-greet event at the Backyard Bar & Grill. The Lariat sat down with the men earlier in the night to discuss life post-show, girlfriends, careers and the latest on the Jordan/Jenna situation.
Lariat: How do all of y’all who are on different seasons connect? How do you become friends?
Lariat: Do y’all just slide in each others DMs?
Leo: We all slide in each other’s DMs.
James: Honestly you do, and then one day I’ll be chilling and I’ll play a show somewhere weird and someone will reach out and be like ‘dude, this is where I live,’ and I’m like ‘I didn’t even think about that, he’s from a different season’ … or say for me if I’m in a different town, I’ll be like ‘Oh dude, I’m here and this guy lives here, I’m gonna hit him up,’ so that’s kinda how it works.
Lariat: I have to ask about the Jenna situation — what’s the update? Are y’all finished?
Jordan: It’s done. It’s definitely behind me.
Lariat: Is there anything you’ve learned from that situation?
Jordan: The one thing I have learned is, I try to tell people, be very careful with who you choose bring into your life and listen to what they’re saying, ask questions whenever something doesn’t seem right, and you never really know who someone is unless they share themselves with you, and, unfortunately, being in a situation where we’re isolated, it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not. People can lie about who they are to you. That can happen in the real world as well, there are people who live double lives and stuff, so I would just say be careful with who you choose to bring into your life.
Lariat: Do you still have the gold boxers?
Jordan: Absolutely, they’ll be going on some runs with me for charity soon.
Lariat: Do you have any dating advice for college students?
Jordan: Don’t date.
James: Don’t date unless, I feel like for boys, we kind of have our things, especially in college. You want some hot cheerleader, I don’t know, these are all the things in your mind, but the girl I’m dating now is truly the nicest most selfless person who just cares about me and makes my life easier, helps me in every way, is just good to everybody. It’s almost one of those, go back to basics, remember that stuff parents told you when you were a kid? I know you’re in college now and you can do whatever you want, but back to basics is pretty dang good for your whole life. If you find someone like that, cool, if not, there’s no point. And even then, only if you’re done going out and partying and stuff because if you find that girl you’re just going to screw her over if you’re not really there.
Leo: I would say ease up on the partying because you do have the rest of your life to party in my opinion, you can still party after college. But what college brings to the table that doesn’t happen after is a congregation of people trying to do well in life al together that are young, and it’s a great place to meet someone that you might want to be with for a long time, so I would say just look for inner beauty and not so much outer beauty. We live in a vain world and everyone’s like it’s all about what you look like but and I understand there has to be a level of attraction with someone but like really try to connect with someone on a spiritual and mental level because that’s what’s going to help one day when we’re all no longer attractive, which is going to happen to us all. I think what we have left is that companionship and that inner beauty that you can share with someone, that little world that you create.
Jordan: Says the guy with the man bun.
James: So when you find that inner beauty, still don’t date them.
Jordan: People just aren’t mature enough in college.
Lariat: What do y’all miss most about the college days?
Leo: I went to UCLA for two years and then finished up at Cal State Stanislaus. I majored in business and economics. I mean honestly, probably playing baseball with the guys, but I mean if it’s not baseball just being in the educational environment where people are kinda thinking a lot. I think once you get into the real world it’s about just surviving, making money, paying bills, in essence. In college, we didn’t have that stress. We had to learn things but I feel like it was an environment where it was really interesting to delve into deep thought. Since college I feel like that’s kind of missing in my daily life. I have to kind of find it on my own. I try to read and stuff like that, but it’s kind of difficult to really be in that environment when you’re not surrounded by people who are trying to do the same thing. So I think the general critical thinking that goes on in college, that’s what I miss the most. And baseball. But yeah, once you leave you’re like ‘wow I actually kind of miss those reading, or that book of philosophy.’ There’s a lot of stuff that you just never think about again once you leave college. Trust me, you’re going to miss it.
James: I wish mine was that deep, that sounds awesome. Mine is video games. I don’t play video games anymore and I miss that. I miss the boys, everyone gets home from class, if you have a 1:00 class and you’re done at 1:50, 2:30 or whatever it is and everyone coming home, playing Madden, chilling. Literally just hanging out with a fun group of guys that live together and your buddies are next door, so the girls you hang out with are next door, that’s fun. And going out with friends, and Big 12 football back then, we were in the Big 12. I miss going to the games, coming up here to Waco and we’ll put up on some Bears… I’m just messing with you. But football Saturdays, those were awesome.
Lariat: After watching the show, was there anything y’all would have done differently?
Leo: I mean for Paradise, yeah I probably wouldn’t have thrown a drink on Joe. I didn’t think it was going to be that big of a deal. I mean, he did push me first, they edited that out. But, maybe would’ve, hindsight is always 20/20, but I probably would’ve done a few things differently in Paradise. I really liked my Bachelorette experience, I thought it was pretty phenomenal. In Paradise, maybe I just wouldn’t have gone. I don’t think it’s the kind of place for me. I was a mid-week guy, I came in when everyone else was already 8 days in, and that’s like an eternity over there. I probably would’ve taken it easy and maybe just wouldn’t have thrown a drink in Joe.
James: I guess my big mistake was throwing Jordan [Rodgers] under the bus. It was never really meant to happen, I was just naive and believed the producers … I just wouldn’t have had so much trust in the process. I really believed it, and it was all really, for me, very organic and real and that was the one thing where I was kind of like ‘Oh okay I kind of got played, stupid me.’ They’re making a show here, so.
Lariat: Do you think being on the show has affected your dating life?
James: Yeah I just started dating a girl 5 weeks ago, Leo knows all about her. But yeah, it’s hard to just find someone who really likes you. It’s fine if they like you cause they kinda saw something they liked — that’s fine, that’s what we all do in real life is see something you like about somebody, whether they’re attractive or cool or whatever, you like their personality. But it’s a whole nother thing when they’re planning it, telling their friends they just like you cause you have followers on instagram and people know you or something. That’s very very common, and it does make it really hard to find someone, but luckily now I kinda have. She didn’t even watch the show, it was great.
Leo: I’m dating someone as well. She had never watched the show, but it was shortly after Paradise, and she didn’t find it all hilarious, which is good, but her friends filled her in. It’s tough to find someone who you think genuinely likes you, but it’s pretty new, it’s a couple months in, she’s very very intelligent and I know she knows what she wants so I feel like if we had met at any point we probably would have gotten along.
Lariat: What has been the biggest surprise about being part of the Bachelor franchise?
James: I think the biggest surprise for me is just how much… I didn’t watch the show, so I had no idea how much your life would change. For me it’s 2 years later, I think one day I lost 20,000 followers because I said my political views — I said a big thing about how I love Trump and it was like ‘Whoa, people hate you.’ Didn’t really know that would happen, didn’t really know everywhere you go, sometimes I’ll be stuffing my face cause I’m starving and I’ll see someone taking a video and I’ll sit up a little bit. Just the afterwards stuff to me is the big thing. Like these guys, I just met them yesterday and we’re already friends.
Leo: We shared that experience, so.
James: It’s a cool unique experience that kind of bonds you. I feel like people on your season you’re always closer with unless you hang out for a long time, but I meet them and I’m sure they haven’t spent too, too much time cause it was just so recent but they’re already like boys and you just become a really tight knit group. There’s good, there’s bad, there’s ugly, there’s a little bit of everything, but pretty fun.
Leo: I think the biggest surprise for me was the Bachelor nation obsession with the show. I think it’s unbelievable that people can be that passionate about something, almost to a fault. I feel like we’re almost like professional wrestlers in a way — there needs to be a villian, there needs to be a good guy, we are almost. So that was surprising to me, the passionate fans reactions to everything was interesting to see.
Jordan: The biggest surprise I would say is that people expect you to display yourself in front of the entire country and not do anything socially afterwards. I think that no matter how good you are, you can’t ever be good enough, and I think sticking to yourself is the best thing you can do because if you don’t, and you do try to please everyone, you still won’t please everyone.
Leo: Yeah, you can’t please everyone.
Jordan: So the biggest surprise is that people, no matter how good of a person you are, instead of having an ability to agree to disagree, they will attack you. Our personal social medias are a form for people to judge you. I don’t go on anyone’s page and judge them. It’s one of those things where whatever you put out is what you get back. You gotta have high knees, like in football, and just keep trucking along. There’s surprises within the house with how some of the things operate, and then there’s surprises with like me walking in an airport and someone’s recording me walking on one of those little speedy things. I think expectations are a surprise for people with what you should do after the show. I’d like to see them go on the show and I’d like to have my expectations for them.
Lariat: Jordan, how has being on the Bachelor affected your modeling career?
Jordan: Right now I’m doing a number of things. I’m doing motivational speaking, I just extended my contract with ABC. For me, I pick in choose. Would I rather speak to an audience or be on an ad? I think I’d rather speak to an audience. So I think what I’ve been able to do is take my image and use it in a positive way, make myself relatable and address things that occur in life and try to help people navigate through that. Being able to do that is why people get into modeling. For me I’ve always wanted to use my image in a positive way, so modeling was a stepping stone in my life no matter what. I’ve got this weird platform to deal with now, and you can either let it wrestle you on your back or you can pull it down from under you and ride it all the way to the finish line, so I put a saddle on and I’m riding away right now.
Lariat: Leo, do you have a favorite stunt you’ve done or show you’ve participated in?
Leo: That’s a good question. I did a plane crash scene for Fox’s 911, and they had me rigged up, I was strapped into an airplane seat playing a guy that was about to die in the crash. They put an actual part of an airplane, each crane had two ends of it and they’d dip it in water. So I’d be strapped into the seat and go underwater for a second, I was really trusting the process there. I could eject if I wanted to, but you know, they want it for the shot. It was a well known director, he directed a lot of American Horror Story. So yeah, working on that was pretty fun. I also worked on American Horror Story, and I did this big fight, but they barely showed it on Season 10 episode 10. But I would say the 911 episode is my favorite one I’ve ever done.
Lariat: James, do you have a favorite place you’ve performed?
James: Not just saying this, but I sang the national anthem here at y’all’s basketball game when y’all were the number one team in the nation. It was sold out, there was like 20,000 people there. That was pretty nerve wracking. Something about the basketball arena where everyone’s totally 100 degrees around you, and singing that, that’s not an easy song to sing really, and no accompaniment, you can see yourself on the big screen while singing, it’s weird. That was really cool.
Lariat: James, what’s the latest update on your music career?
James: For the last year I’ve been working on a new album and we just finished it, so that’s great. Just takes forever, it’s just long … you’re not going to just crank out 10 songs and that’s it, you’ll do 15 or 16 and knock them down to the best 10, so really just honestly working my butt off on that, found some big investors and we’re about to get cranking and put out the album in about a month. Just really giving my best 10 songs all I got with some money behind it. It’ll be my first time to really have the money to push them, and really just see what happens. We have a good plan to get them on radio and a plan to get them with some bigger influencers.
Lariat: James, since Jojo was a Baylor girl, did y’all ever talk about Texas roots since you went to A&M?
James: Oh yeah, that was fun. It didn’t really show on TV because most of the country would be like ‘Who cares you went to a big university in Texas?’ but yeah we joked about it, if this works out I’ll be with a Baylor girl but my kids are going to A&M, I’d just mess with her about it, but yeah it was definitely brought up like night one, and we talked about her being from Dallas — my little brother was living there at the time and still is. We talked about the down home roots and that similarity.