By Dave Vrbas
The Wauneta Breeze
It was no bed of roses this week for Chase County’s homegrown reality TV star.
Having received early roses in the two prior weeks of televised competition for the final rose and possibly a marriage proposal from 31-year-old Dallas pilot Jake Pavelka, southwest Nebraska native Elizabeth ‘Beth’ Kitt found herself rose-less on this week’s episode of “The Bachelor.”
On last week’s episode, Kitt — a 1998 graduate of Chase County High School who attended school at Wauneta-Palisade until her sophomore year — pulled beefcake Jake away from the rest of the pack during a group date to Six Flags. During their one-on-one time, Kitt, 29, read aloud a note she’d written to him, detailing an unheard-of rule: He was not to kiss her until she was the last girl.
Kitt received the date rose from Jake, granting her immunity from that evening’s rose ceremony where three other women were cut from the show, but things turned sour when he started to believe she was ‘teasing’ him about kissing as they took part in their one-on-one date under a fireworks display outside the amusement park.
On this week’s show, the third of the season, things came to a head when another contestant, Vienna, interrupted Kitt’s one-on-one time with Jake wherein the two were having a heated discussion about her ‘no kissing’ rule after he accused her of ‘playing games.’
At the rose ceremony later that evening, Kitt did not receive a rose to advance her to the fourth episode and a spot among the top nine contestants. Although she’s limited by what she can tell about the behind-the-scenes details of the show, Kitt wanted to give her first official interview to her fans back in Wauneta and Imperial.
She is a sister of Kristi McNair of Imperial.
The following is a Tuesday morning interview between Kitt and the Wauneta Breeze:
Wauneta Breeze: It’s nice to finally have a conversation with you after watching you on TV for several weeks.
Elizabeth Kitt: Thanks. Surprise! I didn’t marry Jake Pavelka!
WB: That’s probably for the best. That said, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty here, okay?
EK: Let’s do it. Bring it on.
WB: What were your intentions going into the show? Was it a) to find true love, settle down and get married, b) to have a little fun, or c) a launching pad for other ambitions?
EK: A and B. I’m out here trying to find a good sales job, but I’m struggling to find one due to the current job market. I decided that since I was picked out of thousands of applicants, I might as well see if this experience would equal true love. I knew it was a longshot, but why not have a little fun and see? Not many people get offered an opportunity such as this. I never came out here to get into the acting or modeling industry.
WB: You have a huge, supportive following across Nebraska. Anything you want to say to your fans, friends and family here before we dig in too deep?
EK: I am amazed at how wonderful my Nebraska fans are. Even as the episodes went on, I had so many people supporting me and telling me how proud they are to know me. It’s touching. It really says a lot about growing up in the Midwest. People really care.
WB: Your mom, Polly Rothwell, suggested you go on the show, and another friend (Wauneta native Emily Haarberg-Sofia) helped you with your audition tape. Do you appreciate the fact that they guided you into all of this?
EK: My mom has always been my biggest supporter, and my second biggest supporter would be Emily. Mom submitted me for the show in true “You have to meet my daughter” fashion. Emily not only helped me with the audition tape, but when I was struggling to come up with nine dresses for the show, she had a dress in the mail for me the very next day. I still need to send that back to her, come to think of it. I’m blessed to have the two of them in my life.
WB: Let’s go back to the first episode. When your introduction segment came on, I could imagine a collective gasp from all the local folks who remember you as a gorgeous little lady, but maybe hadn’t seen you in a while. Two words: Knock. Out.
EK: Aww... thank you.
WB: What was your initial reaction when you stepped out of the limo and Jake stood there grinning like the Cheshire Cat?
EK: My initial thought was, “Is this really happening?” Then I went with what I know. I wasn’t trying to be anything other than myself. I didn’t want to be cheesy with a gimmick, just me. The snowboarding comment, the football throwing... That was all me.
WB: You seemed extremely cool, calm and collected in that initial meet-and-greet moment. Were you really that calm underneath?
EK: I was surprisingly calm. I felt very comfortable the whole way through. For me it’s not hard to just be myself.
WB: Direct quote from you: “You can tell a lot about a guy by the way he throws a football.” Now Beth, I’ve seen your brothers throw footballs. And Jake, on my TV, just didn’t stack up to those boys in the Football Throwing Department.
EK: I agree. And watching it for myself at home, had I gotten an instant replay that night, I would have retracted my comment about how Jake looked perfect throwing the football. He claims it was hard to throw in a fitted suit, but I was in a full-length gown. He was a good sport for playing catch with me, but good at sports? I think not.
WB: You said in your exit interview that you felt a connection to Jake and thought you two were advancing as a couple. Did you see that connection when you watched the show?
EK: I felt as much of a connection as you can have for someone knowing them for such a small amount of time. He’s attractive and fun, and I would have liked to have been given a chance to know him better, but I didn’t really get that chance. After watching the show and seeing how he was connecting to some of the other girls, it’s clear we didn’t have as strong of a connection.
WB: Close your eyes and picture yourself standing there at the end of the season with that final rose. Jake gets down on one knee and proposes marriage to you on national TV. Were you prepared for that?
EK: I think the hopeless romantic in me would have liked to have been prepared for that, but in truth I don’t think so. I really have dated some amazing guys in the past, and I’ve been on some incredible dates. It was hard for me to get excited about a guy just based on dates that a show created. I would have needed to get to know him on a deeper level before I could commit to marriage. That’s not something I take lightly, and that’s why it was so hard for me to kiss him knowing he’s kissing and falling in love with other girls at the same time.
WB: Your no-kissing letter and subsequent rule received a lot of attention — some positive, most negative. Do you regret having put out that bold rule?
EK: Yes and no. I didn’t intend on reading the letter out loud to him, but for whatever reason I did. I put it out there up front because I saw how he unexpectedly kissed Jillian on the Bachelorette, and I didn’t want him to catch me off guard like that. I didn’t want to be kissing him and getting my feelings involved so early on in the process. I wanted more conversation, and less physical. I do regret asking him if he wanted to kiss me — apparently over and over again. I was asking him that to see his attraction level to me, and to gain some affirmation about how he was feeling toward me, but it came across as teasing. Not what I was trying to accomplish. Yes I was trying to flirt, but I didn’t want to tease him. There have been some negative reactions to the no-kissing letter, but everyone has their own way. In the end, I’m glad I didn’t kiss him and I stand behind my choice.
WB: Was the no-kiss rule a pre-meditated strategy? Or simple, old-fashioned conviction?
EK: I think it was a way to guard my heart so early in the process.
WB: Entertainment Weekly’s recap said this morning that he branded you with the ‘Scarlet T’ by calling you a ‘tease’. Did it hurt to hear him say that? Does it make it worse to know millions of people were going to hear him say that?
EK: No. It doesn’t hurt at all. If the worst thing he can say about me is that I was a tease, then I’m okay with that. I needed to kiss him in my own time, and I wasn’t ready. Not to mention the fact that I was dating a guy who was kissing all my roommates. It’s difficult to let your guard down under those circumstances.
WB: A lot of blogs, internet sites and even Ellen DeGeneres agreed with the ‘tease’ label he gave you. How do you deal with that negative buzz?
EK: Everyone gets negative buzz from time to time. You have to just laugh along with them. My 15 minutes of fame will be over soon, and then they’ll be on to the next. I can think of a lot worse labels to have.
WB: There are some interesting personalities still on the show, to put it kindly. How did you balance a competition against a gaggle of other fangs-out gals with your own beliefs?
EK: I made some really close friendships while I was there. I didn’t consider it a competition against another girl. I really wanted Jake to find his best match. It wasn’t about winning for me. Everyone wants to find love, and I hope one of the girls was able to find that with Jake. I can’t wait to find out.
WB: Are you okay with how the producers portrayed you?
EK: It’s the name of the game. It’s why they call it entertainment. When someone has cameras on you 24-7, recording your every word, you have to have a sense of humor as to how it turns out. At 29, I’m confident in who I am, and I’m not offended by it in any way. I do wish someone would have pulled me aside and given me some lipstick though. Come on, my makeup was not good!
WB: Who are you rooting for now that you’re off the show?
EK: I formed a pretty great friendship with Tenley. She’s one of the sweetest people I know. She’s beautiful inside and out, and I hope she finds love. If not with Jake, then with someone else.
WB: What’s next for you? Any interest in becoming the next Bachelorette?
EK: If I were offered to be the next Bachelorette I think I would definitely do it, but my guess is that Ali or Tenley would be chosen since they are more ‘America’s sweetheart’ kind of girls. I don’t think I’m cheesy enough. I think being the one to choose the guy would be a lot more fun though.
WB: Reflect for us, if you will, on the experience as a whole.
EK: The experience was one of a kind. It’s surreal to be noticed in public, and to have millions of viewers watching you on television. It was also nerve-racking each week to see what happens next. It was filmed last fall, so you forget about a lot of things. Though there were some embarrassing moments, I was very entertained, and enjoyed watching it each week with a room full of friends, hysterically laughing, pausing and rewinding, and of course making fun of myself the entire way through. I will admit that the character I ended up being was pretty confusing, and agree with even my worst critics. In the end I feel blessed to have had such a unique experience to add to my ‘life of crazy experiences’ repertoire.
WB: No ring but no regrets?
EK: Exactly. I didn’t end up finding true love on national television, but I’m still hopeful that he’s out there somewhere … and when I find him I WILL kiss him. Because after all, I’m a really good kisser.
WB: May I stop watching this show now? Pretty please?
EK: Yes, you may. You have my blessing.