The Bachelor's Abigail Heringer Talks Matt James, Paradise, And More - Exclusive Interview

Matt James' season of The Bachelor had a number of standout contestants, but it seems like no one really outshined Abigail Heringer. The recipient of the coveted first impression rose, Abigail came to the mansion with the sweetest disposition, a calming presence, and a lightheartedness that — in Bachelor Nation — is sometimes hard to come by. It didn't shock many of us when Matt James was taken by Abigail on the first night, and if you're anything like us, some of you out there may have thought that Abigail was going to make it all the way to the end. But in a shocking twist, Matt sent her home, and so many of us were stunned. What went wrong? Did Abigail's lack of a one-on-one date seal her fate with Matt? Are there any feelings lingering? These were the questions that we were dying to know.

In an exclusive interview with The List, Abigail dished on all things Bachelor – from her relationships with the other women in the house to her dynamic with Matt, to the ways in which she has touched the deaf community in the process. Abigail told us all the info that we've been itching to know and to share. So if Abigail was your favorite from the start, settle in, because she revealed all to The List. 

Abigail dishes on her relationship with her fellow Bachelor contestants

What would you say was the best aspect of filming the show and the worst?

The best aspect? I think honestly, just the time with the girls, because I think people really don't realize how much time, like downtime that we have, you're not going on the dates. It's like four days in between the rose ceremony. You just spend so much time with the girls. So it just felt like it was just like a sorority vibe. It's like we were back in college, and we're all just cuddling on the couches and everything.

So, I mean, that's what made the whole process bearable. Because I mean, it's a weird concept, to try to date somebody and then watch him go on dates with other people. So it made it tolerable that we had each other in the house.

And then probably the worst thing, probably just the lack of time that you get. I mean, you go and you're in the mindset of, "Okay, I want to date this person, possibly could be engaged to this person," and you just get so little time. And it's just like the frustration of, "Oh my name's not on the date card." And it's just a weird feeling of, I want to see this person, but I'm not allowed to. 

In the real world, you can just text them and be like, "Hey, I miss you. Let's go do something." But here, it's very controlled on how much you can talk to him. And so, that was really hard for me. And I would definitely say, I would not recommend it to everyone... I'm just so excited to [get] started dating off of this and be able to do it on my terms a little bit.

I think that's an aspect of it that we don't even think about. Like you said, normally you can just pick up your phone and text them and say, "Hey, come over." Or, "Hey, let's go get coffee." It's kind of an isolating experience.

Well, and then if he's struggling, because you know how sometimes they'll cancel the cocktail parties, and he's like, "Oh, I just going through a lot." Normally, you would want to be that person and just check in with him and just, "Is everything okay? Is there anything I can do?" But you can't, it's just a weird ... You want to support them, but yeah, it's a different environment for sure.

Would anything have changed if Abigail had gotten a one-on-one date?

You mentioned wanting your name to be on the date card. I think all of us were really shocked when we were watching that you didn't get a one-on-one. I wanted to briefly talk about that and how you felt about going home without receiving a one-on-one, and if you think anything would have been different if you had gotten that individual time together?

Yeah, it was really hard, because I think I was there for a month and a half. And so, it was just like, every time a date card would come, I was hoping my name would be on it. And then I was disappointed every time that it wasn't. But I was just somebody that tried to make the best of it. I went into all the group dates and try to have fun with it. But at some point, I just really hit a wall. And I was just like, "Okay, it feels like I'm on like a field trip, and he's the most popular guy in the class and we're all fighting for him. I just want alone time with him."

And so, when I left without getting it, it was kind of... For me, it was okay, because I'm like, it made it a little bit easier just to say goodbye. Because I feel like if I had that one-on-one time with him, I would have been a lot more heartbroken, and I would've had a much stronger relationship with him. But at the same time, it was a big what if, because it's like, "Okay, I lasted a month and a half without getting that date." Where could [our] relationship [have gone if] I did get that time with him? I would see the girls come back from their one-on-ones, and they were just so much further along. And so, it's just, that day just makes all the difference. So definitely a big what if.

I mean, everything happens for a reason. I'm happy [with] how it went.

Abigail reveals how the Bachelor experience has changed dating for her

I would imagine that if anything, it's given you a new perspective into how you would want to go about dating now, what you deserve and what kind of dynamic you want to build with someone.

Yeah, definitely. I think I had [a] limited amount of time. But the time with him, I think you definitely really challenge yourself. Because I think in the normal world of dating, things just move so slow. I mean, you go on a couple of dates, you slowly get to know each other. And I think it was like, Matt and I hung out maybe three or four times. And then we were talking about my hearing loss and families and everything. It's just not things that you would normally talk about. So yeah, definitely moving forward, I mean, I do feel like I have a better idea of what I'm looking for, and then hopefully I'll get more time with the person I date then.

What the cameras didn't capture during Abigail's journey on The Bachelor

Is there anything that happened while you were filming or while you were on set that you wished viewers got to see? Or was there anything that we didn't get to see of your journey?

I think just all the kind of the friendship time in the house. I really wish people saw that, because it was a stressful environment, but there was just so many days we did pool days, hot tub. We eat all our meals in this cafeteria style. We'd be playing games and stuff. And I know that doesn't make for great TV, but I think it's just something that people miss out on. Because you only saw the bad things happening in the house.

And then there was a lot of guilty by association too. It was like, "Well, you're friends with the girls that are saying these things." And part of it is like, well, sometimes I didn't know those things were being said, but at the same time, that's only like 1 or 2 percent. And then you guys missed out on 98 percent at the time in the house, which was just... We were all just, I mean, very supportive of each other, despite the circumstances.

Definitely. It's a very unique position to be in, I would imagine.

Yeah, no, it is, for sure. Nothing can prepare [you] for going on this show.

Was there anything left unsaid between Abigail and Matt?

Do you think that you got to say everything to Matt that you wanted to when you left? Or do you think there was some things unsaid between you?

So the night that he sent me home, I kind of had a gut feeling that he was going to be sending me home just because hometowns were the next week. And I was the only girl that hadn't gone to [a] one-on-one. So I was just like the likelihood of me bringing him home to meet my parents versus some of the girls I've gone to one-on-one with him, just wasn't very likely.

So I think, in a way, that was almost closure in a sense, where I was just like, "Okay, he's sending me home because we didn't get the time." But the only thing that I still kind of think about is when he put me in the car, like [he] was saying bye, he was like, "I wish we had more time." And part of me was just like, "Well, oh, I did wait." So it's like that... There are so [many what ifs] in that sense, but it makes sense why he sent me home. I think that's why I'm fine with it. Like it's closure. 

Do you look back at the show with any regrets? Or, even though it didn't work out for you with a proposal at the end, are you glad that you still went on this journey and tried to find love?

Oh yeah, I think it was almost the best choice I made. I mean, I definitely went into it really scared, because you just don't know how people are going to respond to you. Because I mean, people on the internet can just be horrible people. And so, you just don't know. But no, I think all the friendships I've made, I learned a lot about myself, as cliché as that sounds. I think the whole thing was just a positive. I definitely wouldn't be in New York and doing what I'm doing now, without the show. So yeah, no, I definitely have no regrets.

Abigail reveals what it's been like to work with the deaf community since the show

I wanted to talk to you about the impact that you had on the show and the impact that you had on the deaf community. That was a really huge element that we certainly weren't expecting when you stepped out of the limo. And when you started explaining your story, viewers were really taken with what you were sharing and how vulnerable you were in sharing that and your struggles. I'd love to talk about what you've been doing with the deaf community in that regard, and if you have plans for advocacy work or anything like that in your post-season life.

Yeah. It's definitely something I wasn't expecting. And I think when I first went on, I was like, "Yeah, I have a story to share, but I just don't know how many people are going to be able to relate to it or want to learn more about it."

And then, yeah, the first night happened, and I think a lot of people wanted to learn more. They were just really curious. Families that were in my situation when I was younger just wanted to learn more about my process and kind of where I got to today. And so, I think post-show, I've just been trying to talk to as many deaf media outlets, because I think people just... I think people are just curious, if that makes sense. So [I've] been trying to do a lot of that. And then yeah, I think moving forward, I would love to be able to [do that]. I just don't know what it looks like now, whether it's going to conferences or just keep doing more interviews, just kind of whatever would help people. That's kind of what I want to start doing.

It was not something I anticipated. I really thought I was going to do the show, [be] done, go back to my job, and then just kind of move on. But no. I think I have a really cool opportunity to do that. And I definitely want to. I just don't know what it looks like right now, kind of what that would look like moving forward.

Abigail talks about the controversies in Bachelor Nation

I want to touch on the controversies that have rocked Bachelor Nation since Matt's season started filming. I'd like to know your reaction to everything that's been going on since the show started premiering.

Yeah, definitely wasn't expecting that. I went into it knowing that the Bachelor franchise didn't have the best reputation in terms of diversity. I really didn't know how they were going to handle my situation. Personally, I had a really good experience. They were very accommodating to me on filming, so I have nothing but [good] things to say about how they treated me. But I know that, that's not the case for everyone else that goes on the show. And so, when things kind of started coming out about Rachael [Kirkconnell], and then Chris Harrison, it's disappointing. Because you would think in 2021 we are learning and we should be much more further along than the stuff that was coming out. And then to kind of be associated with the franchise when it's all happening, I just hope that people know that not everyone that's associated with the franchise supports that or even wants to be associated with that.

But at the same time, I think it's been really cool to be on the season when all of that was happening, because I think it really brought all the girls closer together, us coming out with the statement. I know a lot of the girls are trying to do more educational work, just kind of advocacy. And so, it's been really cool to be a part of that. Because I mean, a lot of times, people just posting on social media. And you're like, "Well, what kind of ... How am I helping? I mean it's like, is it performance? What am I actually doing?"

And then to kind of see how our actions are making the show change, I think having Michelle going to be the next Bachelorette, I think Chris Harrison taking a break. It's like we did that by coming together and pushing for change. So it's been definitely a roller coaster, not what I thought was going to happen on our season, but I think there's going to be a lot of good that will come out of it.

I'm sure the eruption of all of everything was a lot to handle. But hopefully, in the aftermath, once the dust settles, things will be better because of it.

That's what I'm hoping. And yeah, it was a lot to deal [with], but at the same time, it also felt really powerful, just to be able to say something. Because I think we all kind of got a platform when we went on the show. And people want to see them, see us rallying for change. And so, it's been really empowering too. But yeah, it's definitely been a lot, for sure.

Will we see Abigail on Bachelor in Paradise?

I want to ask you a bit about like, you just turned 26, you're in New York. What are you hoping this new chapter of your life is going to bring you? And what does your life look like in New York now?

Yeah. So I'm really just kind of rolling with the punches at this point. I don't really have goals or anything. I'm really just kind of taking it day by day at this point. But no, New York has just been so fun. I honestly feel like I'm living like Sex in the City, just a little bit, because I've been hanging out with Chelsea [Vaughn]. My really good friend, Piper, and Serena, they're moving out here soon. And I live with my best friends.

So it's just been a lot of girl time. It's just been really good just to kind of do brand shopping, walk around, explore the city. I was saying the other day. I was like, "I don't think I just sat down and watched Netflix since I've been here." We've just been like, go, go, go. But yeah, no, it's been really fun. 

Last question. Are we going to be seeing you again in the franchise? Will you come back for Bachelor in Paradise? I know you probably won't be able to tell us, but please say yes, because we all want to see you there.

I will say it's just like, I'm just kind of rolling with the punches. I'm not going to shut anything down. But at the same time, I'm also really happy with where my life is now. ... It's not like I'm bored and I need to go and do something. But no, the door's not closed. I'll say that, but I would definitely have to think about it, because I have my job and my friends and things, and it was hard enough to go through the process one time, but I'll keep an open mind about it.