Jillian Harris brings 'The Bachelorette' to Canada

The Bachelorette Canada (W Network) is coming to small screens or the first time in 2016, and casting is now open to eligible men who are interested in appearing on the addictive reality romance. Cameras will start rolling in March, and the homegrown version of the long-running series is expected to start in the fall. Former Bachelorette and Bachelor contestant Jillian Harris tells Hello! that she’s excited about being part of the show.

“I am going to be involved in some capacity. I can say that I’m not the Bachelorette,” says the Love it or List it Vancouver designer. “I don’t think my current boyfriend would appreciate that. I obviously have a lot of experience in the area, and I’m a diehard Bachelor and Bachelorettefan. When I heard it’s coming to Canada, I thought, ‘I can’t be left out of this one!’” Here, the TV personality – who is happily dating Justin Pasutto – fills us in on what to expect from the show.

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What are you most looking forward to seeing on The Bachelorette Canada ? I think it’s going to be a really fun series. It’s going to be a really great opportunity to showcase how great Canadians are, and we’re going to see a bit of drama and a really great love story. I didn't end up with the guy that I chose, but it was successful for me. I fell in love and we were together for a few years. It didn't work out for natural reasons, but it was such a cool experience and it changed my views on love. I used to be a little bit jaded, I didn’t know if I really believed in it. But it changed my views on love, relationships and being hurt.

Did your experience change your approach to dating? It just made me more open-minded. I met my current boyfriend in line at a bar, and the bar was called Roses, so I thought, “This is a sign.” I was open to that. After going through the show I realized what’s possible when it comes to love. I also never imagined you could be in love with more than one person at a time. In that process, it was possible. With my last three guys [on the show] I still think I could’ve picked any of the three and it would’ve ended up the same. I loved them all.

The show is known for such over-the-top romantic dates and scenes. Are you a fan of big romantic gestures? No. I still don't care about that kind of stuff. But I actually like to plan those kinds of dates. I still do that with Justin. I always plan these Bachelor- or Bachelorette-style dates, like, “We’re going on a helicopter ride!” For me, it’s so fun.

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What’s something you’d include on a date for the new series? When I was on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, something that fans [mentioned] to me over and over again [was] how much we showed of Canada and how beautiful Canada is. As Canadians, I feel like we’re always saving up to go away. I’ve travelled a lot and realized how many beautiful places we have in Canada. I think about Lake Louise, Montreal, Tofino, there are so many gorgeous places that I hope we’re able to showcase.

What advice do you have for the guys who will end up on The Bachelorette Canada? You want to find love, but you also don't want to make a [fool] of yourself because if she doesn't pick you, you’re known across Canada. The show has brought me some really incredible opportunities. You really have to challenge yourself every day to be the best version of yourself and make the right decisions. I think it applies in life and on the show. And don’t be afraid to be funny and goofy. I think most people in life could use a laugh and the opportunity to not be so serious.

Is there anything you wish you’d known going into your experience as the Bachelorette? If I could do it again I wish I could be more present and even less scared to be myself, to not have a filter and to be goofy. It’s hard. It’s typically everybody’s first time on camera. So, it’s really hard to be present. You just have to let yourself go. Go for it and see what happens.

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