TV

We both worried we'd choose the wrong person, bachelorettes Lily and Lesina reveal

Lily and Lesina say they quickly learned they could rely on one another to compare notes and get an accurate gauge on the guys.

By Karyn Henger
They're the first to admit it. If they'd met "in real life" they wouldn't be friends. In fact, they wouldn't have even crossed paths - unless Lily had broken her leg in a snowboarding or dirtbiking accident and gone to hospital and Lesina had been her doctor.
Yet now these unlikely soul sisters – 22 year old free-spirited Lily McManus and 32-year-old intellect Lesina Nakhid-Schuster - are forever bound as New Zealand's first women to star in The Bachelorette NZ.
For the first three episodes of the reality TV dating show Lesina held centre stage - and viewers couldn't understand why so many of her love interests were 10 years younger than her.
Then out onto the mansion verandah stepped Lily and everything fell into place.
Was it difficult for you, I ask Lesina, to have to share your pedestal with another woman?
"When I was first told about the idea, that was when I was most unnerved by it," she admits.
"I had a million questions and I was thinking - because you instantly think 'competition', don't you – 'I don't want to do it'.
"But by the time Lily came I was comfortable. I was interested to see how the dynamics would change."
Sparks flew for Lesina and Aaron on their one-on-one date.
And change they did, with the men immediately regrouping themselves into Team Lily, Team Lesina or Team 50/50.
All of the men behaved "exactly as I'd thought they would", Lesina says.
"But I was comfortable with the ones I had connections with and they acted exactly how I thought they would, too."
Aaron's reaction was the most interesting, Lily reveals.
"I looked at him and thought 'you're a taken man'.
"When I sat down with all the boys on the first night and everyone was really giving me the time of day and being quite 'hey how're you doing' Aaron was just…" (Lily puts her nose in the air and looks the other way.)
"He wouldn't even make eye contact with me.
"I thought, 'oh my god, this guy is obsessed with you [she looks to Lesina] already' and I was like, 'Bro, no offence. I'm not interested in you… but that doesn't mean we can't be friends."'
Afterwards the girls swapped notes and decided Aaron had been rude.
He apologised to Lily and it was important that he did, Lesina explains, "because she's my girl".
"You wouldn't like your partner to not get on with your friends, would you."

Firm friends

The two women are undeniably close and say they quickly learned they could rely on one another to compare notes and get an accurate gauge on the guys.
"What surprised me about Lily was her emotional intelligence," Lesina says. "Every time I was thinking something Lily would be thinking it too.
"I secretly talked to my mum every day, but she wasn't 'in it' and so you'd have to start from the beginning and explain all the ins and outs… to just have someone who I could say 'oh my god, this happened' and she goes 'I know'…"
Lily adds, "Lesina has the same beliefs as I do and she has the same stance on female empowerment.
"It was cool to sit down and combine our powers and figure things out. We lucked out with how well we clicked."
Both say they were worried about "choosing the wrong person".
"We only saw them on their best behaviour," explains Lily. "And I was really worried about ending up with someone that was just putting it all on for show… then getting them in the real world and finding they're completely different.
"Right now watching it back there are some things I didn't know some of these boys were saying… and I think me and you [she looks at Lesina] are both going 'maybe we should have sent him home earlier'."
But both are happy with the decisions they made "using the limited amount of information we had available at the time".

The truth about Quinn

They had talked about who Lesina was interested in before Lily joined the show, they reveal.
"So there were some I didn't even bother to get to know because I knew Lesina was interested in them," Lily says.
Viewers have been quick to note, though, that both women seemed to show an early interest in Quinn - with Lesina giving him her first rose and Lily, her first kiss.
But Lesina says while Quinn's "a nice guy, I didn't feel romantically towards him which is perhaps the way it came across.
"I gave him my first rose because he'd put in some real effort [into making Lesina a stainless steel rose for their introduction]."
One of the most interesting aspects of the show has been how differently the two women tackle getting to know the guys.
While Lesina goes in with a very direct line of questioning and became known on set by the production crew as The Question Assassin, Lily was happy to sit back and chat about cake with her fellas.
"I probably would have relaxed more [if I had the chance to go back and do things differently]," Lesina admits.
"I did focus on the end quite a bit. I was looking for my forever person and that put a lot of pressure on me.
"But that is me. I do ask a lot of questions and I'm very attracted to someone who can handle my questions."
For Lily the casual banter was more about making the guys feel comfortable.
"At the beginning the boys were very nervous. I tried to make them feel comfortable; I tried to warm them up and talk a little bit of sh*t with them just to help them feel that this is real.
"Production was like 'Lily, you're not talking about relationship stuff, you're just talking garbage right now. But I like to remind them I'm a person and we're that we're trying to get to know each other."
While we won't know until in a few weeks' time whether Lily and Lesina have found what they were looking for, they're both happy to share that they believe reality TV dating shows work.
"The last relationship I had," Lily begins, "which was very serious was from the first season of The Bachelor Winter Games.
"After Zac's season of The Bachelor [Lily was runner-up in the third season of The Bachelor in New Zealand] I was left feeling really really skeptical and didn't know if this process could work.
"But Bachelor Winter Games came up and I thought, 'cool snowboarding, this is why I'm here'.
"Then I met Courtney [Dober] and I was like 'holy sh*t this is, like, legit'. We were together a pretty long time.
"He was the first love of my life," Lily shares. "But I don't think I could have done this show if I hadn't have done that one. That told me this is real, and the feelings involved are real even though there are cameras everywhere.
"You take out of it however much you put in, don't you," adds Lesina. "You can always take a lesson; you can always take something positive. Even for people like Glenn, who it may look a bit negative for at the moment, I'm sure he'll learn something about himself.
"So, yes, definitely. It just takes one person that you're interested in that you find a connection with for it to work. And if you happen to find that on the show..."