NEW YORK --Here is the full transcript from the conference call interview with Ben Higgins our season 20 "Bachelor"!
Question: So, I'd like to tell us anything you can about how this journey might have turned for you. I mean I'm assuming you can't tell us if you're engaged but how about if you found love or if you're happy now, anything like that to give us hope the practice works for you?
Ben Higgins: Well, you know, I think in life I'm physically a very happy person and I don't think many things can change that. But this experience in general has been an incredible one from last season even to this season, it has you know, allowed me to focus more on kind of what I'm looking for and also just you know, having some experiences I've never thought it happened in my life.
Question: So, you did pretty much fall in love with Kaitlyn Bristowe, were you definitely over her by the time filming begin and you know, she had probably the strongest personality of any former Bachelorette you know, she was goofy, alcohol and hilarious. Not that you would necessarily looking for a Kaitlyn clone or anything, but you were hoping to find someone with the personality just like hers on the Bachelor?
Ben Higgins: You know, I think I, I definitely know that Kaitlyn is a few incredible one and one that I'm happy and, and glad that I got to meet but I can't say I was looking for any certain type of person. I wanted to meet a person that was their own individual person and you know, yes, I respected Kaitlyn a lot and, and I enjoyed my time with her but I think when it comes to this season, I was looking for somebody to have their own individual characteristics.
Jennifer Matarese: So, were you shocked that Becca and Amber were among your potential Bachelorette and did you know either of them beforehand or watched you know, how they were in Christmas season or Amber on Bachelor in Paradise?
Ben Higgins: Yes, definitely. It's a great question and you know, it's interesting, when I, just you know, when I started, when I started out in the Bachelorette, I kind of took a step back form watching Christmas season, just because I want, when I knew I was going to be potentially dating one of those, and then I want to go in with kind of a clear mind and not have a lot of preconceived notions I'm sure people were.
Now, if I knew Becca or Amber, the only way I knew them was you know, this is a family and I knew of them obviously, I had seen bits and pieces of Christmas season, not the season as a total but into a lot of about. When they came on, was I shocked? Yes, I think so. I think shocked in the sense of you know, I was really appreciative of, and really, like that first night when every woman to that mansion, I just want after another down myself going thank you because, it's really crazy to see every woman show up to this place and you know, I felt the same about Becca and Amber.
Jennifer Matarese: OK. And on that first night did you have a hard time at all keeping all of the Laurens straight?
Ben Higgins: Yes. That's not, that's not only the easy. I think if we're talking challenges of being the Bachelor, I think you know, on that first night kind of getting all the names in memory and, and be able to you know, I really wanted to be able to speak, like speak to everybody and say their names so they knew that I was engaged but when you threw in that name Lauren and not many people, it's tough, it's not easy.
Question: So, my question for you is, I mean, you just said that you don't really watch a lot of Christmas season but a lot of us is seeing that people can stop talking about with, how many girls (Cris) guests last year, so going to the season, what was you kind of thinking you know, with showing like some PDA in the screen, were you like a little more reserved or you know, are you really going to dive in there and, and kiss whoever you want to kiss?
Ben Higgins: Yes. One of my, one of the things I went to this season and after talking you know, these are my mentors and my friends and just also kind of thinking how I want to do it. Myself was, I really want to concentrate on getting to know these women how inside of the physical aspect.
I think that's always important in a relationship and that comes with time but I wanted to you know, make sure that we spend our time getting to know each other one-on-one and not necessarily kissing or you know, making out the whole time. You know, that, that has happened but it's not something that was extremely, it was something I kind of want to hold back from I guess as just things start.
Question: OK. And what about like deal breakers? You know, is there anything that you know, any of the girls displayed or going into, do you have any deal breakers at you know, this girl is definitely not going to make the cut if she does this or if she acts like X?
Ben Higgins: Yes. You know, I don't think I did. I really want to go into this whole experience very open-minded. I knew I was going to meet women from all over the country, probably all over the world. And I wanted to go in with an open mind knowing that there's going to be new experiences, new personalities and new people that I've never been you know, exposed to my life. And so, I tried to not hold myself back from deal breakers initially and I just wanted to get to know these women and see if there's a connection.
Question: So, I was just wondering what the holiday is right around the corner if were going to bring a girlfriend or fiance home to your family this Christmas, what kind of family traditions which you participated?
Ben Higgins: My family you know, I'm an only child. And so, my family and I are very closed. I love my parents very much, we're really good friends. And usually, over the holidays, well, you know, one of our big traditions is on Thanksgiving, we all read a note to each other about what we're thinking for in that last year. I think at Christmas, we have, you know, it's a pretty simple day. We wake up, you know, presents are a huge deal to us. I think more if we have breakfast together. We spend that time that we you know, I don't get to see them all the time so, we spend some more time together and we usually would and that mean we'll have a dinner with the, the extended family.
Question: And what would be a perfect gift for you from a girlfriend of fiance?
Ben Higgins: A perfect gift. I haven't started my Santa Claus list yet, it's tough. I, you know, I actually could use, I just blew out the speakers that I had in college that I have in my house. I could use like a new sound system in my house, like a couple of Sono speakers or something.
Question: So, so many people on the show talked about how difficult it is to have to be the person that since people hold especially having been on the other side. Can you talk a little bit about your struggle with that?
Ben Higgins: Definitely. You know, I think there's a couple of ways to look at that. One is, when going into this season, I never, you always see the end result, are you hopeful for the end result or you're hopeful for how this process is going to go. But on that time, it's really hard to get your mind in place, in order to get through this little thing. You have to say goodbye to a lot of really great people.
And a lot of great women, you know, come on the show and, and the women had really put themselves out there and it's a difficult thing. It's definitely one that it's harder than I ever expected to see.
Question: What was the biggest surprise for you in general about the experiences during The Bachelor?
Ben Higgins: I think saying goodbye to these women you know, how hard that was, was maybe my biggest surprise. I think it was never easy from night one on and part of that is it's just because there's some incredible women that came out here. And I mean, I think everybody that watch us will get to see that but I'm just continue to this day to be very thankful for the woman that came out. With that, it was hard to say goodbye to all of them.
Quesiton: OK. Well, since I'm calling you from Canada, the first thing I wanted to ask you is how you felt about having another Canadian woman in the cast?
Ben Higgins: Well, Canada is great. Why not? (Off mic)...
Question: Exactly. The other thing I was going to ask you was we just heard the news about (Sean) and (Catherine) expecting a baby and obviously, we, we don't know the outcome of, of your season but does that sort of thing you know, give you some hope for the possibility of you know, forming one lasting relationship out of the show?
Ben Higgins: Isn't that often, I thought that too. I'm really happy for (Sean) and (Catherine). I think they are great representation to a lot of people on how a marriage works, how relationship works. I know they were both big influence in a positive way for me as I step into this experience. You know, I think just in life, we could all I mean, I guess we can all look at their, their relationships. Do you know, that's something to kind of not strive for but something that'll be nice to have, just unconditional love between two people.
Question: One thing I think everyone looks forward to when the contestants for The Bachelor, The Bachelor comes out is looking at their bios and seeing what they say their likes and dislikes in their occupations are, are you aware of what they're saying in advance and sort of, can you talk a little bit about what your first impressions of reading those (where youself)?
Ben Higgins: Yes. You know, what I know is what I know from the women. And so, by talking to women obviously I know, I mean at least I hope I would know what their occupations are, what their likes and dislikes are.
So, that's, that's all I know but it's also what everybody else knows now.
Question: Right. So, did you find out what a chicken enthusiast was, I think that was one that everyone was excited about and how did you react to seeing twins on the show?
Ben Higgins: OK. So, the first question was, the chicken enthusiast?
Yes. I mean, I think, I think (Cher) is a, I think she can explain that one. I mean, I just love chicken and I think like a lot of her life, chickens have played a big role in it. And actually, it's, it's pretty cool that something you know, it's like, I guess, I don't, I don't want to speak for (Cher) but what I assumed is like a pet and when you, when you have pets in your life, you care a lot about, they sometimes come like family, and... So, no we've had a dog lover I think before and cat lovers I'm sure at some point so, why not a chicken lover. And then, the twin, and yes, you know, I think that when the twin got in limo, -- for me, that whole night is a little crazy and there's a lot going and I'm meeting a lot of new people and I think my, my comment on that night was, I feel like I'm like, maybe like in the Twilight Zone. Like, for a second, I look at it and we're like, what is happening?
And then, if I got to be found with both of these twins, they're just two incredible women. They're two individuals who you know, I have a lot of respect for and, and that they're, in my eyes, they're two separate women and...But yes, at first, when they got in the limo, it was like, it was, it was, turned me off a little bit.
Question: So, are you just looking for a woman to move to Denver or would you consider relocating and I know there have been concerns about you wanting to settle down at your age but you've made it clear you're ready for that. But I guess what would be like a five year plan, do you actually want kids as soon as possible and stuff like that?
Ben Higgins: Yes. There's a you know, with the age thing, you know, actually I'm surprise with that yet, but, you know, for, for me to be 26 going on 27, you know, I'm definitely ready to find that person, that's not a question in my mind and, and I can say that very confidently.
As far as am I looking for a woman to move to Denver or not, I mean, I love Denver, it's, it's an incredible place to live and I've had I have roots here and I have good friend group here. I would really love if a woman would to Denver. But, I'm not going to force it. And I think I'm still open to whatever stage or step is next for us. And if she feels strongly about at different city or if a woman in my life feels like we need to move away from Denver, then, I'm open to it. I want to make sure that this, the conversation that happened amongst us and not just me saying, "Yes, you have to do this."
Question: Sure. Absolutely. And a very memorable thing about you from Kaitlyn season is that you feared being unlovable and Chris Harrison tease recently that sentiment will play out throughout the season, I guess, did Kaitlyn sort of add to that insecurity and did you find yourself needing a lot more reassurance in the typical bachelor, like how did it play out I guess, how would you tease that?
Ben Higgins: I don't know if, I mean it's a very real insecurity of mine and, but it's not add of a need for reassurance. I think it's add of a need for, I just, I'm, I'm excited, I'm ready to be loved and to feel that love back. And I don't know obviously, if I've ever felt that, that love, that feels like this could last forever and I'm, I'm excited for that. I'm ready for that. I think going through with The Bachelor, I feel like you know, I was going, I'm not, not confident as a man. I think that just an insecurity that fits me because it is a fear of mine. Is you know, away from my mom, I want to be able to go through life and maybe never feel that love.
Jennifer Matarese: So, I was wondering if you had any ideas going into this about how if your found someone coming out of the situation you would a transition into real life and, and how to make it successful?
Ben Higgins: Yes. I think obviously you go through this whole experience and it is an incredible one. From start to finish, it is something that I will forever be grateful for. Just, because of the experiences you know, and I think stepping back and the life for me now, you know, I'm back in Denver right now and, and I'm going to start my job again. I want to get back to you know, my house needs a little work, that empty for a couple of months as you probably all know so, I have start doing some yard work. I'm just going to be back to life.
And I think when I started this whole thing, it was important for me to never lose my roots, lose the base and the foundation for which my life has build up and that I have an incredible friend group and a lot of support. I have a great family that kept me grounded. And I have a faith in Jesus that you know, continues to remind me that I'm not the biggest thing around. And that's what I'm excited to get back to.
Jennifer Matarese: And seeing you getting back to normal life, would you ever consider doing a show like Dancing with the Stars or something like that like that a lot of other past contestants have gone on to do or other TV opportunity?
Ben Higgins: I think I am excited about what experience, like what experiences are next in life. And just like I never expected to be on The Bachelorette, I never expected to be The Bachelor. I don't know what to expect next and I'm open to anything and I think as life moves forward, like I just said, I have a great life here in Denver and I love my life here in Denver. I don't want to change my life, but if there's an opportunity maybe in (Hanset), I'm off for it.
Question: So, this is kind of another followup question with your (off mic) so, I know that was something that was shared on Bachelorette and you even said it again on the, in the pilot but do you still feel that way like you can go into other traffic and so many women I'm sure will reach out to you in social media and your you know, that guy now, how has that changed?
Ben Higgins: Yes, definitely. You know, I'm looking, when I speak on that insecurity, I don't think insecurity to things you just throw out the window because a bunch of people tell you, "Oh, that, I can't believe that, I don't believe that, that is a make scene." I think insecurity (sit) sometimes big and I you know, I'm excited, I'm ready, I'm looking to not feel that way but I can't say that it is just something that we'll never come up again.
I think we can all probably say that insecurity sometimes hang with is a while but it's definitely not something that paralyzes me, it's not, it's not a fear that keeps me questioning everything. It is something that has always kind of set all my heart. It is a burden that I have cared.
Question: How are you? I'm also calling in from Toronto today but I just wanted to ask when the idea of you becoming The Bachelor became real or possibility, was there anyone either inside about your family or outside of it do you turn too for advice?
Ben Higgins: Yes. The Bachelor family is great one. I think I'm learning more and more as I go out many incredible people men and women are involved in this. And you know, initially, when it was asked I, I did reach out to (Sean Lowe) because he's a man that I've, I've always looked up to. And I don't even think I watched this whole season. But just the way he cared himself during the show, post show, you know, it's something I can look up to.
And I want to reach out to him to hear how he went about it. I also reached out to one of the most recent Bachelor's Chris. And you know, I think I want to hear kind of his experience and, and both of them had some incredibly encouraging thing to say. And they really helped me as I move forward.
Question: Now, I also know that now that you're recognized everywhere, is there anyone you've met that you're big a fan of, any celebrities?
Ben Higgins: Oh, yes. That's a great question. Let's see, you know, honestly, I think I've stayed fairly quiet I guess, I mean, I haven't met a lot of what I would say are celebrity that I met, I met a lot of great people and I think any of fans that come up to me and talk like, I mean, last night, I went out to dinner and there's a group of people that when I walked, they said, "Ben." And I went over and they just, we're incredibly encouraging and supportive of me in this whole process and you know, I think you put a lot on the line when you do this.
You, you just explain your love life to a lot of people and I think everything and every person has been really great for me and, and I've enjoyed that.
Ben Higgins: Wait. Sorry, can I say some more quick? Can I finish that? Actually, and I've just like, I was thinking, -- for some reason I can't think of it, I rode on an airplane two days ago with the oldest surviving veteran from Pearl Harbor. He's a 102-years-old. I'm like, I got to talk to him and he appreciate himself and he's a man that stands for his space and stands for people and stands for the people he love. That, actually was something that like, almost brought me to tears and that has been the foolish thing I've done.
Question: It's becoming sort of common place that former bachelors and bachelorette show up on other season to take another shot at love. Obviously, this season we have Becca and Amber for you but was there anyone during casting that you really like, I really hope she gets out of the limo?
Ben Higgins: No. You know, I think I did not want to have any preconceived notions about the women that were going to come, the women that we're going to be willing to come or that I want to come my way, to go into this you know, I'm very open to any woman that have the desire to come and try to see if it makes it work. And I, I guess I could say I was not disappointed in any way with the women that came and I also was not frustrated to someone who didn't come.
Question: And then, I was just curious, you talked a lot today about how close you are with your family and I was wondering what kind of advice they gave you prior to the start of filming?
Ben Higgins: Yes. That's a, that's such interesting dynamic is you know, how do your parents or how do your friends or how do your families gives you advice as you enter into experience that very few people have done. My parents I think and my friends even, they came about it in a very similar way. They came about it with the foundation of love and of hope and of trust and I think it was the three things that I tried to do in the whole process is to continue to stay hopeful, to continue to trust not only in myself, these women but also the process and you know, the level along the way.
Question: Ben, now that the season is wrapped, is there anything that you regret that you did or that you would do differently if you could go back?
Ben Higgins: Looking back now, I, I think they're, the experience in general push you, puts you in places that, it was hard and there's not always a clear answer for its right and wrong. And I have to be confident in my decision. I have to be confident, I could say this, I guess to that question is, looking back now, I am confident, I stay true to the man I want to be that I am.
I feel like these women were worthy and, and definitely just of the best experience if possible, like I wanted them to have this experience and to feel like they're be the most out of it and yes, I, I can't, I honestly can't with back and say regret it.
Question: And Ben, do you have any like must-have qualities that you seek in the woman that you want to marry?
Ben Higgins: You know, I think you know, kind of when it comes to the deal breakers, it's, I want to be very open. But some of the things that I look for, I would really like to find a woman to have a similar faith as I do, I think that'll be important as we raise a family as we move forward in life.
So, faith is important for me. Also, somebody that offers grace because I think I'm going to need a lot of grace in my life. And I think we can all say that sometimes we're not the easiest to deal with especially if you're going to live life with somebody. And so, and, and it takes with, so that all goes with patience but I really just want to get to know these women, get to see these qualities and see how it's laid out a few what I was feeling kind of, I get to need to know these women.
Question: Is there, are there any places that you definitely wanted to travel to this season because I seemed to remember you saying that you like to travel?
Ben Higgins: I do, I do like to travel. I, you know, when this whole thing started, we also down, we, we can talk through kind of the ideas of places, different idea of days and all that. I think I was just excited, I'm just you know, I do like to travel and I know that any place that we're going to go to, we're going to do it well, we're going to see things and see different cultures and different people, that really when I was (one). And I wanted to look back around this and be, and just be really grateful for the experience in general as well as you know, kind of where it took me. And I think it's so good to see some great places.
Question: What do you think you learn about yourself doing this?
Ben Higgins: Yes. Jesus, a lot.
Question: Too much for this call probably?
Ben Higgins: Oh my God. Yes. I mean I can sit down with you over coffee some time about this forever. It's such a great thing. It really is and I hope as everybody watches, you know, my desire was to be myself and to be vulnerable to feel things, to allow myself to feel things. To be just as real in every situation and I was and as a result, you know, I grew out as a man. I think every experience in life.
One of my, I remember this is at middle school I had on my bathroom near, what they're saying is said, "I want to be a better man tomorrow that I was today." And I think with this experience, it offers a lot of opportunity for that, you know, it's not always easy. But it's something that definitely helped grow as a person.
Question: OK. And the followup I was going to ask was, do you have a, a strategy for you know, social media when the show is airing because I know there can be a lot you know, bad as well as good you know, Twitter, Facebook, whatever, what, how, how are you going to handle that stuff?
Ben Higgins: Definitely, yes. I think we saw with Kaitlyn. People can be just downright mean and I have no doubt that I'm not going to make everybody happy. Honestly, that's not my goal. I think I wanted to be treated myself. I wanted to be treated to like I said my, my faith, my friends, my family and to the one man I want to be.
So, when it comes to social media, I think some of those things do hurt. I don't know what people are thinking sometimes when they write stuff and they think, well, maybe, we don't read it. Well, sometimes I do and I know you know, past Bachelor is in Bachelor at that time as well. But you know, I, I'm confident enough in myself to be able to I think most of the time overlook all that and stand firm in my decisions and stand firm in who I am. Not without, still trying to grow and mould as a person. But people can say what they want.
Question: So, I was just curious as to what your favorite part was within the process, I was (off mic) but I didn't know we were travelling or many people or even going back home to work as The Bachelor, so what was your favorite moment?
Ben Higgins: What was my favorite moment, you know, I think, I think just in general if I could speak on, on the kind of an overwhelming moment was being in more self. It's pretty, it's really, it was really great to be back in the place that supports me, that I have a lot of great memory that, that you know, I was raised up and being back there and sharing this experiences with them was definitely not only a very surreal moment, sometimes an overwhelming moment but also just a moment that made me, that made a lot of my worlds come together and it's really cool for me.
Question: Ben, going back to all that talk about criticism on social media and what not, because of things like that, did you have any reservations about becoming The Bachelor to begin with when you were happen to make that decision?
Ben Higgins: You know, no, because I think if, personally, I, I just have to continue and this might be because of my friends and my family supporting me in it but it's almost like the people that are going to love, they're going to love you. And the people that aren't, it's going to be you know, I don't want to try to go out of my or you know, force myself to be a different person for other people to, to like me. You never going to make everybody happy.
But when it comes to your question, and I think that is something that everybody needs to consider, I don't think you can hold yourself back from opportunities because of a fear of what people are going to say or thinking. If this opportunity I felt was right, and everything aligned for it to happen, I wanted to do it. And that's how I want to do life because I'm not, I don't want to be fearful of what everybody is going to think all the time. That's paralyzing.
Question: OK. That's great. And were you very sensitive to the idea of women being on the show for the wrong reasons, like how important was it to you for example that the women got along with everyone in the house, you know, typically, bachelor more of the bachelor about the particular girl, a lot of the things tend to be true even though The Bachelor doesn't want to get involved in the drama.
Ben Higgins: You know, I wanted these women because they came out and they risk, and they put themselves out there to meet me and to go through these experiences. I wanted them to get the most out of the experience. I wanted them all to be treated fairly by (now) and myself with these, the other women. I wanted every woman that came and also the woman I had to say goodbye to lead going. You know what? I'm glad I did. I'm just glad I was here. I'm glad I gave it a shot.
And I hoped and, and it was one of my prayers that this woman would come here with the right reason and mind because I came in through it very open to the idea that at the end if I felt things that you know, this could be a lifetime thing and I wanted those women to come into with the same ideas.
Question: Hi, Ben. Would you say this is the craziest season and yes, like in regards to the different entrances and first impressions and all that?
Ben Higgins: You know, I haven't, I've been a fan of the show but I haven't you know, necessarily gone back and realized every entrance in every limo entrances in every season before this. I was really proud of the women, they came out for this season. They did a great job. They made me laugh. They made me smile. They've made things very interesting. And so, in my mind, it was maybe not the craziest but definitely the best limo entrance did ever.
Question: And what about the most dramatic season, would you say it was this fun?
Ben Higgins: You know, I can't say this would be the most dramatic season. I, I really think that it was for me, it was just very, very real and there was a lot of great things but I don't know if this is the most dramatic. It's hard to say.
Question: All right. So, you don't really know too much what was going on behind the scenes?
Ben Higgins: Well, not necessarily behind the scenes. It's because you know, it's mostly, what was going on like a lot of times it goes amongst the women and just like you know, when I was The Bachelorette, I was one amongst men, maybe the, the, The Bachelor batch doesn't always know. You know, sometimes we, we get filled in but it's just when somebody wants to bring it up to us so, it's hard to say what was going on in the house about time.
Don't forget! The big premiere is on Monday, January 4th at 8/7c on ABC!