UTOPIA’s “preppy prepper” is ready to jump back into the dating pool.
Bella Chartrand — a real estate entrepreneur from Griffin, Georgia — says it has been six years since her last serious relationship, and now, at 45, it’s time to get serious about finding a man.
“I am hopeful,” she told me in her first interview since joining the Fox reality series six weeks ago. “I know there is somebody out there.”
“I consciously quit dating for six years because I wanted to grow and become the person that I wanted to be. And now I am here in Utopia and everybody is like, ‘Aren’t you gonna hook up with [contractor and fellow pioneer] Josh?”
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“I feel like you know your soul mate when you meet him. Josh is more like a brother to me. But I always keep my options open.”
In her audition video, the naked yoga enthusiast said she was open to the idea of giving birth while appearing on the show, which is planned to run for up to one year.
“I am in no rush. but I feel like if I do meet someone and we click and have a romance and fall in love, I am open to having a child,” she says. Anything is possible here.”
Bella told me more when we spoke on Thursday afternoon.
After the show do you expect a lot of men will contact you?
I hope so. I am ready to go! We have a date auction coming up so I am really looking forward to meeting some new people and going on some dates. That will be really fun for me. The great thing of being in Utopia is that I will have had the chance to get out all of the great relationship drama. I am just really looking forward to dating again.
Obviously you would have to find someone who shares your values about nutrition and healthy living…
Apparently, yes. [laughs] That rules out about half of America. I have probably pissed off the rest of them. But there are probably one or two guys who do eat healthy and wouldn’t mind going on a date with Bella.
Speaking of drama, you got into quite a fight over your dietary needs on Wednesday.
You have to fight for everything here, unfortunately. You have to really stand up for what you believe in and not everybody believes in everything I believe in. My Utopia is healthy, with organic foods. A couple of days ago I had to be rushed to the hospital because I was malnourished and dehydrated. We are not eating really well here. So I am standing up for myself and a few other people who need to eat healthier. I didn’t go down as pleasant as I would have liked it to. I had take a stand for myself — literally — on top of a table. It got very heated.
Before you arrived at the ranch, did you not foresee that everybody might not subscribe to your way of living?
Absolutely — and I was very prepared to deal with it. In the very beginning stages, I ate whatever we had available. We didn’t have any money and we were lucky to have food at all. But now we are making money and I am selling my paintings. I have 22 commissions from people who specifically said, “We see your food situation” and they have offered to buy my paintings so that we can eat healthier. And I have made it so that the whole group can eat healthier. Now there is no excuse for mot eating healthier.
How do you feel about the world thinking you are a crazy hot head?
I always tell people, “I know I am crazier than a June bug.” [laughs] I am the first one to admit it. I care more about my health and the health of others to worry about what people think about me. At the end of the day, I can’t care. It bothers me and it hurts when things are said to me and about me, but I can’t let that change my beliefs. And I tried to bring it to the group in as loving a way as I can. But unfortunately because of the different personalities present, it escalates into a full-on brawl. What I have learned is that I just need to start walking away. I don’t like to fight. It doesn’t feel comfortable and it is not who I am.
Is there more to you than we see on the show? What don’t people know about Bella?
I am very passionate about what I believe in. I am very loving and caring and I want that to come across — but it is difficult. I don’t do confrontation well. There are a lot of people who do. There are a few silver tongued devils here. I am kind of thrown in the midst of something I am not accustomed to. I get blindsided and I don’t know how to react. That, coupled with the hunger, makes it is difficult to handle.
Bottom line — why are you still there? Why haven’t you walked away?
Because after I cry I realize there is a reason why I am here. We have what they call “The Utopia Experience” (on the weekends) and a lot of the community comes out to support me. They give me the strength to carry on. They tell me, “Keep fighting the good fight. Don’t give up.” I feel like I have helped a lot of people who get picked on or bullied or outcast and I want to stay for them. And for myself. Every time we have a fight I learn something else about myself. I learn how to communicate in a different way. I don’t want to give up. There are times when I have just been beside myself and thought, “I just can’t take this anymore.” But then I realized there is a bigger purpose and I decided I am going to stick it out no matter how painful it gets. Try and love as much as I can and stay out of the fights, avoid the drama and stay in a positive state of mind. Painting helps me do that. I see hope. I see it getting better.
UTOPIA airs Friday night at 8:00 PM ET/PT on FOX.
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