I Wanna Marry Harry — the Joe Millionaire–esque Fox show on which 12 American women compete for the love of a broke dude posing as British royalty — inspires any number of questions: Who would want to go on a fake royal-dating show? How did these women not realize the setup? Do we have any moral standards left? To answer some of these questions, Vulture spoke with Leah Thom, the easygoing bartender who was voted off in the very first episode. She is still sort of mystified about her experience, too.
How did you end up on this show?
I had recently gotten dumped, and about a week later I received a text message asking me if I wanted to try out for a reality show. And I thought, kind of, why not?
I mean, I don’t think everybody’s first instinct after a breakup is to go on a reality show.
[Laughs.] Well, the guy I was dating is actually trying really hard to get famous, so I might have done it a little bit out of spite?
Have you heard from him?
Yeah, he was at the watching party last night.
What did he think?
He was very proud, he told me. [Laughs.] We’re still really good friends. It’s been over a year since we dated.
So you decided to try out for a reality show. Do you watch a lot of these shows?
Did you have a sense of what you were getting into at all?
Honestly, I think I remember talking to someone about it, and it was like, oh, you get to meet this eligible bachelor, you get to go on fantastic dates. I’m sitting here thinking, Well, you guys could throw me in the middle of a jungle and make me fight lions, I have no idea.
But you were still like, Sure, I’ll just see what happens?
Yeah, I had that mindset. You can always say no.
What did they tell you about the show when you auditioned?
That we were getting to meet an eligible bachelor and get taken on our dream dates.
Did they tell you where you were going?
Not at first.
Was there any mention of the royalty stuff?
So you get to England. How quickly do people start speculating about who it is?
Oh, immediately. We were actually all talking about our dream men, and one of the girls said her dream man was Prince Harry. And I think that’s what kicked it off. But most of it started at the afternoon tea.
Did you think it could possibly be Harry?
I honestly had no idea. They kept it super mysterious the whole time, and you know, I really wasn’t there for long. I didn’t have much time. I was kind of like, well, is it? If so, I’m getting dumped by the one of the most eligible bachelors in the world. Could be worse, I guess.
I probably spend too much time looking at pictures of Prince Harry, but it seems so obvious to me that it’s not him. How did everyone not realize that immediately?
[Laughs] Yeah. Well honestly, the first time we saw him was the Masquerade Ball, and … I was gone by the end of that. So I didn’t really hear much of the speculation from the other girls. There were some whispers here and there, but we were mainly just trying to hang out and have a good time.
If you had stayed, how would you feel about going on this whole journey with someone only to find out that he’s not exactly who he says he is?
You know, a lot of people aren’t exactly who they say they are. It’s just a bigger stretch.
Watching the episode last night, how did you feel?
I was obviously a lot less upset last night. Everyone cheered when I got voted off at my watching party. I had a couple friends go, “Great, now I don’t have to watch it anymore.” But you know, when we were all taking off our masks, there was a smidge of oh, maybe he likes me, but I kind of felt like it was me going home. I had a good second to prepare myself.
Man … He made a comment at one point about how American girls are very forward, and obviously, as you could tell from the first episode, I wasn’t really like that. So in relation to the rest of the girls, who were throwing themselves at him, I wasn’t. So that didn’t pan out as well as I thought it would.
Do you have any regrets about having left so early?
Well, missing out on the fun makes me a little sad. I didn’t get my date like they promised me.
What would your dream date have been?
Oh man, completely different than what they were doing and what all the other girls wanted.
Yeah. Did you have any sense that you’re just … really different from other reality contestants?
[Laughs] You can spit it out! It’s not gonna offend me.
I mean that in a nice way.
No, thank you. I’ve heard that quite a bit. Anyway, I didn’t really have that big an idea how different I was gonna be. I think I might have mentioned in my interview something like, “I just can’t stand sorority girls,” and as soon as I show up the girls are like, “Oh, I’m in this sorority, and I’m doing this, and I’m a pageant girl,” and I’m just sitting there going, I don’t understand any of you. But, you know, they were all really nice.
How has your dating life been since you got home?
What dating life?
Ehhh … you know. Haven’t been getting much action.
Maybe this’ll help?
Maybe. [Laughs] We’ll see.