TORONTO - Apparently, it's not easy being a Bachelorette.

Earlier this year, Internet commentators relished in taking shots at Jason Mesnick, the indecisive star of "The Bachelor" who proposed to a contestant but then publicly dumped her six weeks later in favour of the second-place finisher.

But Jillian Harris, the first-ever Canadian star of "The Bachelorette" and a third-place finisher during Mesnick's run, says while she still doesn't like the way he handled the situation, going through the process herself has given her a bit of perspective.

Turns out, it's not such an easy gig.

"In 'The Bachelor' and 'The Bachelorette,' you get to a certain point with somebody where there's a proposal," Harris said during a promotional stop in Toronto. "But really, you're really only at that place where you're comfortable saying: 'I really like you, I really want to start a relationship with you.'

"How many times in our life have we done that with somebody, and two or three months down the road realize that they're the wrong person for us?

"So I think, though I do take a proposal or an engagement very seriously, people also need to understand how quickly these relationships develop, and it's a lot of pressure. I don't judge him at all for what he did."

Having said that, Harris makes it clear she won't waver in her decision.

While only four episodes have aired, the season has already wrapped. And Harris, who hails from Peace River, Alta., says she's thrilled with the way things turned out.

"There were ups, there were downs, but I'm in an extremely happy place right now," she said.

The fourth episode found her returning to another "happy place" - Vancouver, where she lives.

The episode practically constituted a Vancouver tourism ad - Harris and her hopeful suitors waltzed around several of the city's landmarks, including Stanley Park, Granville Island and Grouse Mountain Resort. They even went curling, though most of the contestants treated the sport like an exotic oddity.

Harris says she was "adamant" that the show feature the town where she lives, and producers were eagerly onboard.

"We got to spend a lot more time there than I anticipated, which was a big surprise and a huge perk for me," she said.

But after they finished curling, the fourth episode found contestants throwing stones of a different nature. A few of the competitors warned Harris during their dates that some of their rivals actually had girlfriends at home, and weren't on the show for the right reasons.

The news had Harris in tears, but she said that she's come to feel better about the situation over time.

"There are 30 grown men who all signed up to do this, they're not going to go celibate for six months before," she said. "I think a lot of people don't understand I'm legit, I'm actually looking for someone to fall in love with. And all of a sudden they sign up for this and they meet me and realize it's for real."

The fourth episode also found Harris ditching three suitors - including David, who complimented Harris effusively on the shape of her behind and pouted petulantly when she refused to kiss him.

She said that watching the show now has changed her opinion of some of the guys.

"This is the whole process of the show, and it's designed in such a fashion that I don't get to see a lot of their behaviours, but I did end up seeing David's," she said. "But when I watch the show, certainly, there are a lot of different personalities (that) shine through. Some people I wish I had let go sooner and some people I had wished I would have kept longer.

"But in the end I made the right decision, and I'm in the place I wanted to be in."

Meanwhile, she continues to weather criticism for her taste in men. One outgoing contestant, Sasha, said in interviews that Harris might be attracted to jerks.

Harris says she expects the issue to keep coming up, and clarified what it is she looks for in a man.

"I'm not looking for that poster child of a husband, someone that says: 'I promise I'll make you happy and I promise I'll do everything right,"' she said. "I'm looking for somebody that's really raw and who has energy and who has depth.

"And sometimes ... maybe people can assume that they're there for the wrong reasons, or that they're bad guys."

She says she has trouble watching herself on TV - "I'm like any other viewer, I'm sitting there watching the show and I'm going, 'Jill, come on! How could you have not seen that?"' she explains - but tries to remind herself that the show is meant to be entertaining.

"This is the part where everybody gets to enjoy it - I've already done all the hard work, now everybody can sit back and laugh at us and make fun of us, like they're supposed to," she said.

But watching the show now, does she have any regrets?

"Of course there are certain things that maybe you wish you could have done differently, but no, no regrets," she said.

"In the end, all that matters really to me now is that last final decision that I made. And that's why I'm so happy and so I guess, no regrets."


"The Bachelorette" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Citytv.