“I definitely told myself when I went in there, I’m going to fully be myself. A lot of my friends were like, Be careful Natascha — you tend to be really blunt,” pop singer Natascha Bessez laughed over the phone a few hours before her entrance into ABC’s Listen To Your Heart aired. “It’s like, if I’m careful, then I’m thinking. And if I’m thinking, I’m not natural. If I’m not natural, it comes across as ‘I’m not being me,' which is fake. And I just can’t do fake.”
Natascha proves as much within her first day in the Listen mansion, which viewers watched unfold during Monday night’s “Week 2” of the Bachelor spin-off. Natascha's first conversations with the cast reveal she has a fraught connection with American Idol alum Trevor Holmes, love interest to the youngest person on the show, Jamie Gabrielle. Natascha informs her new housemates that although she has never met co-star Trevor, his ex-girlfriend Sierra Nielsen — who is Natascha’s close friend — said he committed “indiscretions” during their relationship. Those shady actions led to the couple’s breakup. By the time night has fallen, Natascha has made an evasive Trevor admit to “lying and cheating” on Sierra.
The scene is Bachelor Nation truth telling at its most dazzling — and it’s only the beginning of Natascha’s honesty blitz. The Listen to Your Heart breakout hopped on the phone with Refinery29 to spill more — even juicier — secrets about Trevor that she learned after filming, and explain what she “loves” about dreamy cast member Ryan Neal, the crooner she ends up taking a rose from by the end of “Week 2.” Yes, of course, glam powerhouse Natascha was still sporting perfect wand curls for the conversation — even from quarantine.
Natascha Bessez: “I heard nothing about it. I didn’t even know what the hell was the premise of the show, really, until contracts were signed. Then I find out literally in like a press release the day after I signed my contract — Oh! We’re going to be competing against other couples in order to win a grand prize. I was like, What’s the grand prize? We’re competing as couples? What? What’s going on?”
What made you sign on with such little information?
“I was like, I’m going to find the cutest boy. I’m so excited. It’s going to be so wonderful … I’m on the search for The One. I’m 33 years old. I’ve been heartbroken before. I’ve gone through it. I’ve gone around it, in it — all sorts of directions — to find love. I am just like, Whatever the universe brings me in order to get closer to that guy, I’m open arms to it.”
Thank you for choosing someone I think is the cutest boy: Ryan.
“Isn’t he a cutie? I just want to squeeze him! [There are] so many great guys on the show — and there are so many not great guys too. It took us a while to get that connection. He might have been a little scared of me … But once he started to get to know me, he kind of put whatever judgement he had from when I first walked in with my bad news aside. He was like, Okay, let’s be open minded. That’s what I love about him. He doesn’t give a crap what anyone thinks, what anyone else says, he’s so his own dude. That to me is hot.”
That’s not a didn’t-think moment. That’s a decision that you made to continuously be a jerk.
Speaking of “not great guys,” what inspired you to be so honest about Trevor off the bat?
“It’s just, what are the odds that I would know this dude? I was shocked to know that he was on the show. I’m like, How do you go from literally serial dating and serial cheating and being a pathological liar to every girl you’ve met, to then going on a dating show looking for ‘The One?’ I’m going to defend my girlfriend. Because that’s what girlfriends do if you’re a real G — you’re there for your girl.
“I was not about to let him pretend like he was going to pull one on one of these sweet, innocent girls in this house. Especially Jamie, who’s the young girl in the house, obviously the most inexperienced relationship-wise. I’m twelve years older than this girl, I’ve been through it. I’m not going to sit here and let this master manipulator take advantage of this sweet girl who wants love.”
Was your goal to make truth telling a feminist act on reality TV when it’s usually posed as villainy?
“It wasn’t like I had a goal at all when it came to Trevor. It was more what I would do naturally if I wasn’t on a TV show. If I’m walking into a bar and I see my girlfriend’s ex doing something shitty, I’m going to be like, Dude, what the hell is wrong with you? I’m going to [tell the woman], Just so you know, I know this jerk and he lies to everything that moves.
“When I got on the show, I had no clue the depths of how far this went. I just knew his experience with with my girlfriend Sierra. Then, when I came off the show, I was shocked by the amount of things I saw all over the internet like, 'Yeah, he did this to me too.' I had a girl literally message me being like, 'We were dating for months. Then he was like, Hey, honey, I’m going on a business trip for a few days, I’ll catch you later.' She’s like, 'Okay, have fun.' She then finds out he went on vacation with another girl. This is stuff you can’t make up. You can’t make it up. This is not a changed man.”
“Then he’s telling me, Yeah, I shoulda, coulda, woulda. I should have broken up with [Sierra] sooner. It’s like, Oh, so you didn’t break up with her for two-and-a-half-years, yet cheated on her consistently? That’s not a didn’t-think [moment]. That’s a decision that you made to continuously be a jerk. Just the fact that he’s on a dating show looking for The One, I was like, rolling my eyes. I’m like, I cannot with this person.
“The only thing I can do is tell the girl, Hey, this is the info, do with it what you will. I’m here because I have your back and I would not be able to sit with myself knowing that I knew something that could potentially save you or save you from being hurt. I’ve been there. I’ve been that girl. I’ve been her. I would have wanted to have a girl come to me and be like, I just want you to open your eyes. I’m not telling you what to do, I’m just here to tell you to pay attention, be careful … We need to be there for each other and support each other.
We don’t see you have a direct conversation with Jamie in “Week 2” about Trevor. Can we expect that to change in a coming episode?
“Every day that goes by, there are revelations that are made, there are perspectives that are changed. First impressions are not the ones that should be stamped on. You can’t judge a book by its cover. You never know.”
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.