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“Somebody Has to be the Villain” – An Interview with Kelly Ford of ‘For Love or Money’by Betsy Wasser -- 07/08/2003
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After the first episode of For Love or Money, I wrote an article about contestant Kelly Ford entitled “Meet Reality TV’s Newest Villain.” In that article, I declared that “Evil Kelly” would be the newest reality TV contestant that everyone loves to hate. Evil Kelly’s nefarious deeds on that first episode included name dropping of designers, staying up late drinking, and looking way too good in a bikini. Clearly, she was up to no good.
Imagine my surprise when, after my article was posted, I found an email in my inbox from none other than Evil Kelly herself. I was terrified. Would the email be full of threats? Would she find me and burn my house down? With shaking hands, I opened the email. Believe it or not, Kelly loved my article and thought it was hilarious. She told me that before she even went on the show, she knew that somebody had to be the bad guy, and that it might as well be her. She even admitted to reading the Reality TV Hall of Shame for inspiration before going on the show. Even more amazingly, Kelly offered to give me an interview after she was voted off the show. To the dismay of Evil Kelly fans everywhere, last week was that fateful week. Kelly and I spoke on the phone as she drove home to San Francisco from a July 4th weekend in Los Angeles.
My first question for Kelly was the obvious question – why did she decide to go on the show? Kelly laughed and said, "For my fifteen minutes of fame. I thought it would be a great experience – I couldn't not try it." One of her friends forwarded her an email about a casting call, so she though she'd give it a shot. Kelly went to the call, and was excited when "they kept calling me back." As we learned from RNO’s interview with fellow contestant Alima, "Most everyone else had been cast for Around the World in 80 Dates. I however, was cast for Looking for Love, a show similar to The Bachelor. They had cast San Francisco dead last, and Erin and I were the final contestants cast. I had my interview one weekend, found out the next, and had to fly to Bel Air for the show the following." Finding Rob was apparently an even bigger challenge for NBC. Kelly told me that they pushed filming back by a week so they could find an eligible bachelor. Rob was discovered "in a bar on St. Patrick's Day" and finally cast for the show.
Kelly did not have a strategy going into the show. She said, "I wanted to be myself. My approach to Rob was to have fun, tease him, and flirt with him." Her strategy didn't change when she found out about the million-dollar prize, but she did say, "If I had known they'd tell him about the money, I'd have done things differently. I might not have flamboyantly displayed all of my designer clothes in front of him as often and I would not talk about things that might have brought up dollar signs in front of his face." As far as any strategy towards the other women, Kelly said, "In terms of the other females, I think they were sort of intimidated by my strong personality and beauty."
That intimidation became clear on the second episode. The women were scheduled to go on two group dates with Rob, but two of the women had to be excluded. When the women voted for which women to leave out, Kelly got 5 out of the 10 votes. Kelly said, “I was disappointed I only got half the votes – I wanted them all. I thought it was hilarious. Plus, it intrigued Rob, so it worked in my favor. The other girls said they were intimidated by me and the attraction Rob and I had going on. They didn’t want my personality to dominate on the date.”
Reality TV fans will remember Kelly for her actions on the first night. She and her roommate Christy stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, drinking. That night, Christy changed a painting by Paige from “Looking for Love” to “Looking for a Big Piece of Meat.” Kelly defended her actions with a laugh. “We were on vacation! People were going to bed at 11:00 for their beauty sleep, but I wanted to have fun! I wasn’t really that drunk. I don’t think we were crazy and obnoxious, except when the whole painting drama occurred.” As for the “painting drama,” Kelly shed a little light onto that. Earlier in the day, Paige had told Christy that she stopped eating red meat a few years ago because it was giving her “bad karma,” and that this dietary adjustment “changed her life.” That at least explains why Christy chose to draw a sirloin on top of the heart. Kelly maintains, “I had nothing to do with it. When Christy got the painting, I actually walked out of the room so that it would be clear that I had no part in what she did.” As for staying up until 5:00 in the morning, Kelly points out that the editing showed clocks reading 5:00 and showed the other women stirring in their sleep, but never actually showed her or Christy rampaging so early in the morning.
Any woman who is a fan of reality TV dating shows no doubt wonders the same thing I did – how do you know what to pack? Kelly’s wardrobe ran the gamut from evening gowns to jeans to black furry boots. She told me, “They have us a list of suggestions on what to pack, like you’ll need X number of outfits for evenings, and be prepared for anything.” The show did have a wardrobist who met with the women prior to filming, but she didn’t provide clothes, just suggestions like “no white, no busy prints, things like that.” Kelly was proud to say that the wardrobist said hers was “her favorite closet.” The show did give the women wardrobe for specific dates. For example, when Kelly and got to the bowling alley for their date, they were surprised with two wrapped boxes that contained the bowling shirts they wore. Also, when Rob and Kelly went to Telluride, Kelly said, “They gave me a winter coat to wear, and they gave me those black furry Ugg boots.” Maybe so, but it was Kelly’s idea to wear the boots with her bikini, much to Rob’s delight.1 2 Next-->
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