bachelor nation

The Bachelor’s Demi Burnett Knows Nobody Goes on the Show ‘For the Right Reasons’

Demi Burnett. Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

Hey y’all, you haven’t forgotten about Demi “I’m the damn confetti cake” Burnett since The Bachelor ended last month, right? A ray of promiscuous southern sunshine, Burnett quickly became the go-to contestant to talk about while she was competing around the world for Colton Underwood’s heart, which was defined by a few feuds, a few more memorable catchphrases, and a GIF that made her look like our new blonde overlord. But reality television is sometimes a tease. She ended up being sent home by Underwood in the season’s sixth week, although her divisive presence would culminate in a triumphant Women Tell All return — which nearly ended with a pacifier in her mouth. (It’s a long story.)

Still, there was more depth to Burnett than viewers gave her credit for. She showed a healthy chunk of vulnerability when discussing how her mother’s long prison sentence affected her, and she was also caught off guard by how much she grew to genuinely care about Underwood, whom she now considers one of her best “homies.” As such, Vulture recently gave Burnett a call to discuss her memorable tenure on the show. Among other things, we discussed why she was initially skeptical of Underwood, how she made the best out of group dates, and why everybody who goes on The Bachelor is there for the wrong reasons. Including herself.

How’s your mom doing? Did she enjoy watching you on the show?
She’s been really good, thanks for asking. She probably would’ve been embarrassed by stuff that happened on the show, but she ultimately felt good about it, because she got to see how I felt. That was really good for us.

I still think viewers were deprived of what could’ve been the most memorable hometown date in franchise history.
It would’ve been good. I told the producers I would’ve had to do two different hometowns because of my family situation. With my dad, I was going to take Coco to a drag show, and then I was just going to have him hang with my family. With my mom, it would’ve been a bigger deal because it would’ve been the first time I saw her. It would’ve been a big, special reunion.

What motivated you to apply for The Bachelor? And were you hoping it was going to be Colton?
My former friend who I always watched the show with, she’d been telling me for a while that I should do it. My life back home was pretty boring, so why not? Everybody acts like they’re there for the right reasons, but nobody is there for the right reasons. It’s bullshit. I wasn’t thrilled about it being Coco. I wasn’t sure if he would be ready, because he’d just gotten out of a relationship with Tia and then Becca. It seemed a little messy. I was really surprised by how much I started liking him towards the end of it. But now we’re definitely homies. That’s all we were meant to be.

If you didn’t go on the show for the right reasons, why did you go?
Opportunity. You never know what could come from it. Everyone is always scared to admit that, but that’s why everyone goes on. If you honestly want to date someone and all you want is a relationship, you can go on a dating app. You don’t need to go on national television.

Why do you think certain contestants were so keen on disparaging your age and calling you a “child” when you did something to annoy them, especially when most of the girls were the same age as you? Do you think it was just an easy fallback?
My age was definitely a fallback. I put a target on myself because I have a strong personality and I was younger. You could tell I was the center of attention. I was a bit much, and I’d admit it. [Laughs.] But if you’re not comfortable with yourself or you have some problems within yourself, then somebody who’s acting in a way that’s getting more attention, or is more bold and confident in themselves, can rub you the wrong way. Oh, I wish I could be more like that, I wish I could do something more like that. That made people upset. But I always let everybody know I was everybody’s friend and that I was there for them, even if I was living in my own world and everyone was living in it. Whenever things went sour, it wasn’t fun.

It’s jealousy at the end of the day.
That’s just what it is.

I want to bring up some of my favorite moments of yours. For the group date when you and the Hannahs went back to the hotel for burgers and Champagne, whose idea was that?
It was mine! That date was insane, because we were all starving. We were so hungry, and they were trying to entice us with bugs and worms? Absolutely not. Everyone’s trying to eat that, so I was like, Oh no, we need to go get some hug. And Coco needs some food, he’s getting hangry! During that date, it started to monsoon on us. We got completely, soaking wet. You could see some of the girls’ hair going from straight to curly. It was insane in that jungle. It wasn’t fun at all. You know what’s funny? My girl Hannah B. was loving it. She was in her element, eating bugs and screaming and twirling sticks around.

Did having a leech suck on your arm hurt, even with your sweet blood?
It hurt so bad. That leech hurt so bad! I would not recommend it. I don’t know the benefits of it. Are there even benefits? It was painful and it left a huge bruise afterwards. I still have a scar from it. I was happy when I finally got the leech to latch onto me, it took a long time for that to happen. At one point, Colton was trying to get it to latch onto me, and it dropped onto my chest. He didn’t want to touch my boobs! I was like, Colton, just got it off me, this is not the time to be shy, get it!

How did you settle on your opening line to Colton, “I have not dated a virgin since I was 12!”
I had a lot of options and I wrote them all down, although I can’t really remember what they were. Some were pretty serious. That one was supposed to be a funny joke. Ha ha, I haven’t date a virgin since I was 12! But it came out very strong and heavy.

You also brought a lot of pizzazz to the rose ceremonies. I loved when you kissed Courtney good-bye with your rose. Why was it important for you to keep these ceremonies fun, when they’re usually so dispiriting?
The rose ceremonies were seriously the worst. It was so serious. Everybody was miserable. It’s interesting, because the girls put this pressure on you to be serious at all times. Why are we being so serious right now? I’d do whatever I could to not be serious. Colton would walk in, I’d be like, Hey handsome, and I’d get all of these side-eyes. This is ridiculous, why do we have to be so quiet! If we’re going to go home, we might as well go home with some fun. I wanted to try to lighten the mood. It’s a rose, calm down.

Speaking of Courtney, did she ever apologize to you for her Women Tell All antics? That was borderline violent.
She did apologize. We texted back and forth. We agreed to be civil with each other going forward. We’re never going to be friends and that’s okay, but we can be cordial. No need for awkward tension. From the Women Tell All, she got a lot of hate online. I don’t like that; I do feel bad in that sense. She’s responsible for her actions, she’s an adult, and she knows it wasn’t okay to do that to someone at the end of the day. It was refreshing to hear her apology.

During your time on the show, you were praised for how well you played “the game” in terms of becoming a successful and popular contestant. Were you conscious about how your managed your edit when you arrived at the house?
I would be lying if I didn’t say that I did know this was a funny game. Most of it wasn’t even intentional, I just subconsciously knew what I was doing. Who I am in real life is who I am on the show, and I’m very good at being the center of attention. I love attention, it’s okay to admit it. I know my personality generally stands out, so I knew I’d stand out on the show. But I was going along with it, too. I kept thinking: How long can I get away with this? When is someone finally going to get on to me?

Did you consider yourself to be the season’s villain?
I don’t think we even had a villain on the show this year. I thought I was going to be perceived as the villain, but when it aired, it definitely didn’t. All of the producers told me, You’re not a villain, you’re just real, you’ve always been yourself. That’s how my edit portrayed me — as real, as not afraid to say things. I never wanted to be polished or try to be perfect, like a lot of people do. It showed that I’m not scared.

You also showed a great deal of vulnerability throughout your journey to find love, especially after you and Colton parted ways in Vietnam. Were you surprised that this reality show encouraged you to be more open with your emotions?
Definitely. I genuinely didn’t think that would happen for me, especially since I was skeptical of Colton at first. But as the journey progressed, I started to get more and more vulnerable, and that’s when I started developing more feelings for him. It made me stronger and it made me feel, Okay, you can think about stuff like this and you don’t always have to be funny and boisterous and loud. The vulnerable side of me is also me and I’d suppressed it for so long. It felt so good to finally let it out.

Looking at Colton and Cassie’s relationship now that they’re out and about in public, do you think they’re a good match?
Yeah, I think they’re a good couple. We’ll see what happens. They have a lot going on. I’m interested to see what happens when everything slows down. I think they’re really good for each other. They’re both good friends of mine at this point, so I want them to be together.

You spoke earlier about opportunities. Should we be on the lookout for some Demi money moves coming soon?
As far as where I’m gonna be, I’m constantly flying back and forth from Los Angeles to Dallas. I’ll probably have to move to L.A. What I’m working on now and what I’m interested in doing is growing a YouTube channel. I’ve been meeting with YouTube people and talking about it, so that’s in the works. It’s gonna be so fun.

Demi Burnett: Nobody Goes on Bachelor for ‘Right Reasons’