It was 2015 when Chrystal Chenery went on The Bachelor New Zealand to find love, only to see Art Green fall head over heels for now-fiancée Matilda Rice. Fast-forward almost three years and the blonde beauty has found herself single once more, but this time, she couldn't be happier about it.
Walking on to the set of our Woman's Day beach shoot with her little pooch Bruce Lee in her arms, the charismatic yoga instructor is glowing with confidence. But looking back on the past year, she admits it hasn't been an easy journey to feeling so self-assured.
"I felt drained and it definitely was an emotional struggle," admits the former Dancing with the Stars competitor. "You just can't make a relationship work if it's the wrong person."
"Rick and I are still great friends, and he's a beautiful person, but when you go through that emotional stuff, all your energy pours into it and it's hard to concentrate on things or move forward."
The couple share custody over French bulldog Bruce, who they bought together last year, and though she insists the separation was amicable, afterwards, Chrystal confesses she needed to take some time out in her hometown of Christchurch to heal.
"I moved out of Rick's place and I was house-sitting," remembers the Auckland based reality star.
"When you're alone, it's hard. Fortunately, I had my dog with me. He's my baby. I don't think I could have gotten through the break-up without him. Bruce could tell what had happened and he became more protective after the break-up, barking at noises he never usually would have."
Starting to get teary-eyed, she continues, "It might sound silly, but getting my dog this year has changed my life. It's made me realise that I really would love to have children and have a family. For so long, I would suppress that feeling and pretend I didn't care because as a woman, we feel men don't want to hear that or it's not attractive."
But since her days on The Bachelor, where she was known for stirring up trouble, Chrystal has changed a lot.
Reflecting on her time on TV, she says, "I wasn't at the stage where I could go into a relationship. I couldn't share any emotions or be vulnerable with someone. I covered everything up just by making jokes and couldn't let myself go."
Working as a flight attendant and travelling the world throughout her 20s meant Chrystal never felt responsible for her actions.
She admits she would poke fun and say things for shock value, but the consequences would never matter because she could simply move on to a new job or a new city.
She tells, "My advice to other single women in their 30s is to get to know yourself. When I stopped trying to impress other people, I realised how I really felt and what I really wanted."
Despite her yearning for a family, the star says she's perfectly happy being single right now and is in no rush to bag a boyfriend.
"You definitely won't find me on Tinder!" Chrystal laughs. "Men are hunters and they need more of a challenge than swiping right. Girls are making it way too easy for men these days."
When asked if she would ever go on another reality show to find love, she's quick to reply, "Hell no! It's an awesome time to be alive. There's no pressure to be married and have babies so young, and there are so many inspirational women around – I mean, the prime minister is just four years older than me!
"I'm happy and when you're happy with yourself, that's when that special person comes along."