Fan favourite misses out on final rose, but has no regrets

It is a common American reality TV show premise: 25 women vying for the love of one man. Now The Bachelor has transitioned to Canada, where its first season wrapped up a few months ago.

Chantelle Harink, a pastor from Sylvan Lake, Alta., was one of the selected contestants looking for love with The Bachelor Canada — Brad Smith.

The 26-year-old Harink became well-known on the show as the bubbly blonde pastor who wasn’t afraid to tell the bachelor and all of Canada, that she was a virgin.

The Calgary Journal recently caught up with Harink who made an appearance at a bridal show on Feb. 3.

Reflecting on her experience with the show, she says she felt that it was important to be honest with Brad and not to mislead him in any way. She mentions that she did feel a really strong connection with him.

“Brad is such a genuinely nice and sweet guy,” says Harink.

Harink works at Sunnyside Christian Retreat Centre as the assistant director. She also co-founded Makaway Kids Kamp — giving children ages seven to 11 the chance to go to summer camp.

As Harink looks back at her time on the show she can’t stop smiling.

Although she didn’t win Brad’s heart, she says it was an once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience.

On the big screen

Jennifer Smith, one of Harink’s friends and old roommate said that she first found out about Harink being on the show when she saw her picture on the front page of a Calgary newspaper.

“It was a little surreal, I won’t lie. But exactly who she was on TV is who she is in person,” Smith says.”It was funny to see all those little mannerisms and hear that laugh.”

Although, it is not everyday that you see a pastor trying to find love on a reality TV Ever since her debut on The Bachelor Canada, Chantelle Harink has been invited to appear at several events — including the Bliss Bridal Show, on Feb. 3 in Calgary at the Carriage House Inn. 

Photo by Meagan Gillshow.

“She is a Christian, so it is a little different to have those kind of beliefs and be on a show like that,” said Smith. “But honestly, I was so supportive when I saw her on the show.”

Harink was the valedictorian when she graduated from Vangaurd College in 2009, with a degree in pastoral theology. She first attended Briercrest Bible College where she met close friend, Tabitha Gari.

Gari said that although there were some people who questioned Harink’s decision to go on the show, she still remained true to who she was.

Harink says that because of her appearance on the show, she actually has been asked to preach at various churches throughout Alberta and even in other provinces.

“Being a woman of values was highlighted on the show,” says Harink.

She often preaches to teens and young adults on love, sexual purity and abstinence.

“I definitely talk about abstinence since that is something I really value and treasure in my life,” says Harink.

Harink has even been asked to officiate wedding ceremonies.

Making new friends

Harink describes going on The Bachelor Canada as an extremely positive and fun experience.

“Honestly I encourage any girl to try out for the show,”says Harink. “It is such a great learning experience — you really learn a lot about yourself.

“It’s not just a TV show — these are real girls. I think finding love on TV really does work.”

Harink says that people recognize her now and that she makes new friends wherever she goes.

“It’s like people think they know you, from watching the show. So it takes a little bit longer to get groceries now,” Harink says, laughing.

Harink says she made some great friends with the other girls on the show and still keeps in touch with many of them.

She even travelled to Cuba with another fan favourite — Laura Bateman.

Harink also defends fellow contestant Whitney Lee, from Calgary, who was considered by many to be the show’s “villain.”

“She is such a nice girl,” says Harink. “She was competitive and aggressive and they highlighted that [in the show]. But I think she’s a sweetheart.”

A contestant not like the rest

As a virgin pastor, Harink doesn’t quite fit the description of a typical contestant.

Some of the others that were fighting for Brad’s affection included a cocktail waitress, strip club server and a Playboy model.

Harink chatted with the brides-to-be about their wedding plans, although they were the ones trying to give advice on her love life.

Photo by Meagan GillDuring the taping of the show, Harink didn’t agree with all of the challenges expected of them.

In one of the episodes early on in the season, the women had to create a burlesque dance and perform it in front of Brad. Harink, not wanting to show too much skin or make it too sexual, decided to take the ‘goofy’ approach and just had fun with it.

To go, or not to go?

During the taping of the show, Harink received a phone call that her grandfather had died. She was left with the difficult decision of leaving to attend his funeral or staying at the mansion.

“The hardest thing was the week that my grandpa passed away,” says Harink. “I was feeling really torn on what to do. It was a really hard decision. Everything else up to then was fun and exciting, but when I got that call, my heart just dropped.”

Harink left the show in the fourth episode and hasn’t looked back. Although, sometimes she wonders how far she would have made it if she stayed.

“Once in awhile, I do think about it. But I received closure when I talked to Brad on the after-the-final-rose show,” said Harink. “All things happen for a reason. It all worked out.”

Moving on

Harink says she is happy for Brad and the last woman standing, his now fiancé, Bianka Kamber.

“[Brad] is a sweetheart, I think he is an amazing guy — but I definitely think Bianka was the right one for him,” says Harink. “They’re so in love.”

Harink may not have received the final rose from bachelor Brad Smith but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t found love off-screen.

Although, she remains quite shy about revealing the identity of her mystery man.

“We have been friends for seven years and once the show was over he asked to take me on a date and the rest is history,” says Harink.

What’s next?

As for the future, Harink plans to continue working and spending lots of time with her friends and family. She is also enjoying making public appearances and getting to know all kinds of different people, now that she gets recognized from being on the show.

“Right now, I’m just going to keep working and preaching, I love to preach,” Harink says.

For coverage on Chantelle when she first auditioned, visit: Auditions for ‘The Bachelor’ hit Calgary.

mgill@cjournal.ca