The Bachelor Australia

EXCLUSIVE: The Bachelor star Steph reveals why fans shouldn't cast off Bella as the villain

''There's a lot of stuff you don't see.''

By Jess Pullar
Anyone watching this season of The Bachelor will tell you there are two very clear frontrunners - Bella and Irena.
But after a curveball episode last night which appeared to show another side to one half of the duo, Bella, the tides very quickly turned.
In a scene that no one was quite expecting, Bella appeared to take her misgivings about Irena to the next level, by going straight to Locky to voice her concerns.
Fans speedily set up camps (albeit despairingly so - a show pitting women against each other once again? How very non-refreshing...), continuing to hedge their bets on Bella, or calling Irena as the firm favourite.
But there are two sides to every story, and after hearing one version from someone who actually witnessed the whole thing go down, it looks like it's a side worth hearing.
Steph Harper left the mansion without a rose on Wednesday evening's episode, despite the Victorian's initial connection with the Bachelor himself, Locky.
Speaking to Now To Love following her exit, she gave us the non-watered down version of how it all played out - including the blindside that knocked her for six, and what she really made of Bella and Irena's disagreement.
Steph was left rose-less in the latest episode. (Network Ten)
Now To Love: Steph! What a roller-coaster you've had. How are you feeling now that's it's all over?
Steph: I'm actually feeling like I got a bit of closure today, I didn't realise until watching it back last night that Locky had friendzoned me.
Oh wow, so how did it actually feel when you guys were filming?
Well, I feel like we talked so much during lockdown and we did have a lot of deep chats, too.
There was one time we were on the phone for four hours, it was just really easy between us. We both felt a connection on the red carpet at the start and we did have that really fun banter-y side to us. But I guess maybe he just didn't see it romantically.
Steph and Locky had a connection at the beginning, but it seemed things changed for the Bachelor. (Network Ten)
Do you think what we're seeing on TV is a fair depiction of what really went down in the mansion?
I do think we're seeing a lot of reactions about how Bella acted on the show - but there's a lot of stuff that happened that wasn't shown at all.
I've had contact with the girls off the record and I'm aware a lot of stuff was said about Bella that wasn't very nice, so I understand where she's coming from.
I adore Bella. I have so much love for her.
So what are your thoughts on the way Bella was portrayed on the show last night when she called out Irena to Locky?
There's a lot of stuff that you don't see between Bella and Irena - so much happened.
I do think Bella was justified [in calling out Irena]. She had a reaction to something, and yes, she might have gone a bit OTT, but in the mansion, who doesn't? I know I had my moments there.
Who do you think seems really genuine on the show?
I think that Irena has really genuine feelings for Locky, but I'm just not so happy about the way she went about it all.
Steph reckons there was more to the Bella and Irena fallout that was shown. (Network Ten)
So what's next for you now, Steph?
I've just moved from Victoria to Brisbane - it's a new chapter for me and I love it. So many of the girls are up here too which is amazing.
And are there any blokes on the horizon?
Well I'm actually going on a date tonight! I saw a cute boy at a bar so we'll see.

Want more news on The Bachelor? Check out the stories below!