The tides turned for Jill Chin during Bachelor in Paradise Episode 5 — and not just because of that well-timed full moon. To recap: after being burned by the season’s first love triangle between Romeo Alexander and Kira Mengistu, Jill told Rodney Mathews she was feeling “painfully single” on the beach. But even the promising newcomer ultimately got together with Lace Morris, leaving Jill with few options. “Thus far, you’ve seen that my journey has been less than desirable,” Jill tells Bustle.
But then, Jacob Rapini entered the chat, and while Jill says she didn’t really consider Jacob a possible match at first, they forged a fun, flirty connection during Episode 5. “He’s so sweet, in everything that he does — sweet and tender and quirky and unexpected,” Jill says today.
The pair of Leos went on a date in Week 3 that involved crystals, Tantric breathing, and a moment of nudity. “I’m inclined to think they’re basically perfect for each other,” Aaron Clancy says during the Oct. 11 episode, as Jacob whisks Jill away for the evening. “Because they’re both weird.” (It’s clear from the entire beach’s supportive reaction to Jill and Jacob’s date that this was meant in the most endearing way possible, of course.)
The night did have one little hiccup — namely, Kira’s return and her (unsuccessful) attempt to get together with Jacob.
Jill’s reactions to all the Bachelor in Paradise drama leave no secrets about how she’s feeling at every twist and turn, but if you want even more insights into her very big episode, we’ve got you covered. Below, Jill talks about her relationship with Jacob, Kira’s return, and where she stands with Romeo today.
We don’t see the beginning of your time with Jacob. What did those first moves look like?
It’s so strange because I had written him off from the beginning. I’m like, “This dude? Absolutely not.” The only interactions we had were me making fun of him, or we would joke from a distance. And then one night, we were just like, “You know what? Let’s go sit down and actually talk.”
People described it as, “We just heard howling and screaming in each other’s faces.” And then we realized, oh my god, this could actually be something. And then he started actually pursuing me.
That Tantric date! Can you talk through what it was like at the time — making the decision to get undressed and just go for it?
I was super unsure. Obviously, getting naked in front of strangers, in front of cameras, on TV — your parents are going to watch this! It’s scary. But I found it empowering to be able to bare it all and be totally comfortable with who I am, and to be able to share that with someone I care about. I felt so comfortable with him, and he just made everything so fun and lighthearted. We were really able to connect that night, and it did so much for our relationship.
And then, of course, you get back, and Kira shows up. What was going through your mind, having another connection interrupted?
I was frustrated, honestly, and you see me kind of spiraling. I was really going for it. And I feel really bad because she’s being honest with Jacob, and she is getting really emotional. She probably did need to have that conversation, and I’m just over here being like, “You ruined my life!”
But from my perspective, it seemed like a personal attack. So I was just really upset because we had this amazing date and we were just like, ah, on cloud nine. And then this happened. But obviously, Jacob was able to come, and we mended things. But I do feel bad about my behavior during that. I do regret that a bit, just letting my emotions get the best of me.
We’ve seen unlikely friendship moments this season, like Genevieve Parisi and Shanae Ankney coming back together. Are you in a good place with Kira today?
We haven’t talked at all since Paradise. I’m not sure if there’s anything to come with that relationship. I’m definitely open to honest conversations. But I do respect her from afar. She’s an incredible woman, an incredible doctor, and I respect the hell out of her. So I’m not sure, but I think we’re both happy where we’re at. We’ll see if our paths cross again.
And you did have that friendship with Romeo going in — have you been able to repair things with him, since he and Kira left the beach?
No, that hasn’t been repaired. I respect Romeo, and I care about him a lot. I feel really badly about the way things went. But I think I have to stand true to myself, like, “This is your last chance. I have to move on with my life. I can’t spend any more time on this.” But I do wish him all the best.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.