Amanda Pace On Her Background And Finding Love On Joe Millionaire - Exclusive Interview

"Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer" is a new spin on the 2003 dating series "Joe Millionaire." The 2022 version, airing on FOX, features two men, Kurt and Steven, one of whom is a millionaire while the other isn't. 18 women compete on the dating show, not knowing which of the bachelors is the millionaire. Amanda Pace is one of the women featured on this season. Although she never pictured herself going on a reality TV dating show when the opportunity came to her, she decided to give it a shot.

As the first season progressed, it was revealed that the millionaire bachelor wasn't the only wealthy cast member. During the family weekend, Pace's mother told the suitors that Amanda and her family have "more than $10 million." During an exclusive interview with The List, Pace opened up about how she felt sharing her financial status and why she'd tried to keep it a secret. She also revealed what it was like getting to know Kurt and Steven in front of cameras and what her relationship with the other women of "Joe Millionaire" was like behind the scenes.

How did Pace end up on Joe Millionaire?

So, how did you end up going on "Joe Millionaire?"

I randomly got a DM on Instagram from a casting company called Cornwell Casting, and it actually seemed like fake at first. It [said], "We think you'd be great for this show. Are you interested?" I'm the type of person [who] — I usually say yes to any experience that comes my way because I'm always like, "It's meant to be." I worked with them on and off for six months. Because of COVID, I had some free time. I interviewed with them, and then it was an on and off process, and then they told me I got it one day.

Was going on a reality TV show like this ever something you ever pictured doing?

I definitely never thought I'd go on a dating reality show, but I love switching up my lifestyle. I love pushing myself to the limit of doing something that I'm not used to doing. I definitely was open to TV, but I didn't know a dating show was on the radar.

What was your experience like on the show? Do you feel like you knew what to expect, or was it different than what you imagined?

It definitely was different than what I imagined. You get there, and there are a lot of moving parts, so many cameras, and a lot of downtime. My anxiety was definitely through the roof when I arrived because I had no idea what was going on. They would tell you to be ready at 7:00 p.m., and then you wouldn't start filming sometimes until 1, 2:00 a.m. It was a lot of downtime, but as the show progressed, it seemed like everyone got in a flow, and as it dwindled down to the end of six girls, it got better with timing and stuff. I think the timing was the biggest thing I wasn't expecting.

Why Pace feels judged for her money

And then on the episode where your family came to visit, your mom revealed that you guys actually have a lot of money. Was that something you were planning to share on the show at any point?

No, I definitely wasn't planning on sharing the money because I feel like in the past ... I work really hard, and I own my own business. Every time I'm working, even if I'm working really hard, if I acknowledge the fact that I have a trust fund or I came from money, people kind of overlook the work I've done. I keep my mouth shut, and then if I'm dating someone, it eventually comes out, but I never want to be judged right off the bat for my money.

I want people to see my talent and my skill. The money's an extra added thing. I feel like, especially in this day and age, everyone wants to own a business or travel. If I come out of the gate saying that [I have money], I feel like people judge me and think I'm a trust fund kid. I don't really like that rep because I do work really hard for everything I do have. I'm thankfully blessed with that as well. I leave it on the back burner until it comes up.

You mentioned in the episode that you feel like people are quick to judge when they find out about that (your money). Do you think it's just because they assume, like you were saying, you haven't worked for what you have or?

People assume that I've [been] handed everything, and yes, it was a nice push in the right direction, but, just because you have money doesn't mean that ... I owned a bikini business, and I worked really hard for everything I grew with the company. I don't like to lead with that because people are like, "Oh, she probably had people working for her." They don't get to see the bigger picture. They judge right off the bat like, "Oh, she has money, so it was easy."

How did Kurt and Steven respond to her wealth?

Were you worried about how Kurt or Steven would respond when they heard that (you have money)?

Yeah, I definitely was nervous. I always thought Steven had the money because of the farming industry. With Kurt ... I was a little bit annoyed that my mom said that because now I'm like, "Oh, I hope he doesn't really pick me because he knows I have money."

In my heart, at that family night, that's when me and Kurt started to develop feelings,. I would say about two to three days before family weekend. I felt pretty secure, and I won't let a guy use me for money either. I'm very aware of red flags ... even if a guy [doesn't] pull out their credit card to buy me coffee or little things, [that's] kind of a red flag for me that they could potentially be using me for money. I'm definitely aware of that. I don't think it made a difference. I could feel Kurt starting to form feelings for me regardless of the money. I was like, "Okay, I'll just take it day by day," and if I start seeing weird red flags, I'll handle it accordingly.

Did you feel better after seeing the way Kurt reacted and everything?

It was really cute seeing the way Kurt reacted. I feel like more than anything, me and Kurt love to laugh, and so does my family. Seeing them interact like that gave me more clarity that this feels right in the moment and ... sometimes you question, you're like, "Could I really date someone off of a reality TV show?" I think having my family there and them bonding and ... He really didn't touch on the money. They both were like, "Yeah, that's great as long as we're all hardworking. I support Amanda being a girl boss." They (Kurt and Steven) both own their own businesses. It seems like it was a smooth transition of like, "Great, you have your money, but yeah." It was more of the bonding between Kurt, my mom, and my sister that I really liked.

What was it like dating on reality TV?

What was that like when you're getting to know someone in this TV show setting? Did you feel like you really had the chance to get to know them well, or was it difficult because there are different timing things, and it's a little different than it would be in the real world?

It's very interesting because on the pro side of it, everything's taken out, so you don't have your phone, so you're not texting, you're not distracted by social media. You don't have your friends to be like, "Oh, what do you think?" It is raw and real feelings.

In the beginning, I will say when there were 18 of us, that it's definitely a little hectic getting to know them because everyone's ... I'm not very aggressive. I hung in the back until it was my time. In the beginning, it's definitely a little bit challenging because of there being 18 girls. As time moves forward, you definitely do get to know them. It's cute because everything's removed. It's raw and real. I wish I had a little bit more time, one on one time. It moves so quickly that it's like, you get your time. I will say, they call it dating in a microwave because everything's removed and everything's heated up (because) you're on these romantic dates. It is cool to date like that because you're really getting to know them quicker than you would in a real-life setting.

Did you have any favorite dates that you did while on the show?

There are a few dates that haven't happened yet on the show, so those are my favorites. The camping date was honestly crazy, but the next morning was really fun because we all got to bond over cooking breakfast together. That's when Kurt and I started to bond, too, because he had a crazy night with Carolyn. The next morning, me and him got together and had a really nice morning, cooked breakfast, and hung out. I like authentic, real situations and that moment felt real and as it would in reality to me.

The biggest challenges Pace faced on Joe Millionaire

Because you're going into this "Marry a millionaire" type show, but you already have plenty of money, you're not really worried about that. Do you feel like that changed your perspective as you were on the show?

Going into the show, they didn't tell us that it was "Joe Millionaire." They just told us it was called "Love for Real." I was going with the flow, open to the process. I was like, "This is fun. Once in a lifetime experience, go for it."

[Then] they told us it was two Joes, one has millions, one doesn't. I heard the guys out, and both of them had good jobs, and Kurt owns his own business. So does Steven. For me, it's more about how hardworking the guy is versus how much money or where he comes from. I've dated really rich guys who have come from money handed down and really poor guys. I like a guy that has drive and that really has goals. I think, long term, I want a partner who's going to work together and continue to build the empire that my family left for me. Ultimately, no, it didn't have an effect because I think both guys were working men.

What would you say was the most challenging aspect of being in this new situation, being thrown on TV and everything?

It's so hard because there are so many cameras around, so you're very ... You want to look perfect at all times. I don't even do my hair day-to-day. Sometimes, I'll throw curls in it, but I like to work out and have my hair in a bun. In the beginning, [it was hard] adjusting to cameras being in your face and being authentic. You're like, "How am I going to navigate this?" But then you truly forget that the cameras are there, and you have fun with it.

It was definitely challenging being on someone else's time. Like the producers, you have to ... If you're exhausted, they're like, "All right, well, time to get up. We have this A, B, and C plan." It felt like a big sorority house. You roll with it and realize that this is only a temporary time in your life, and get through the tired mornings and long filming nights. I adjusted pretty well after a week.

How Pace built friendships with her competitors

Were there any parts of being on the show that you really enjoyed?

It felt like a big family after a while with the producers. I liked that there were two guys because I felt like the drama in the house was kept to a minimum because we were going for different guys. For example, Annie and I, right off the bat, she hit it off with Steven, and I hit it off with Kurt. We were able to form a friendship and we really could rely on each other for like support.

I talk to my family ten times a day. Not having them as a soundboard to be like, "How are you?" because it's a routine, it was really hard. Being able to form bonds with certain girls was really special, and I'm really close with Annie and Amber and growing new friendships throughout such a wild experience.

You said you kind of felt like it was almost like a sorority house. Did you feel like you were able to really bond with most of the girls on the show?

The guys did a good job at clearing out the girls who were there just for the drama and the TV. We'd have some downtime, and we'd all do hair masks and face masks. It was fun, thank God, because it could have... my biggest fear going into it was that the girls were going to be really catty, and drama, and nasty. For the majority of the time, we had a lot of laughs and way more good times than drama full times.

Do you think that you'll keep in touch with them after the show and everything?

Yeah. I definitely [will]. I just moved to New York, so Annie lives in the city, so we've been hanging out all the time. It's really something that no one else can understand unless you're in the house, and there's a lot to unpack each week, even watching the episodes back. It's a bond that a lot of us share, and it's hard for other people to understand the craziness and all the emotions and the roller coaster you still feel after. I'll stay close with some of them.

How Pace stayed true to herself on reality TV

What were your first impressions of Kurt and Steven, and, do you feel like that changed at all as you got to know them?

When I saw Kurt and Steven, for me, personality is everything. If you can make me laugh, that's huge. I definitely thought they both were cute. Kurt was definitely more my type, but over time, I really liked that Kurt was ... we connected on more of a spiritual level as time went on, and, we talked about where we came from, and our families, and our faith. That made me more interested in him. Over time, and growing a real relationship, you learn more about someone.

[Steven and I] felt more like a brother-sister relationship as time went on, and it was like, "Oh, you're such a sweetheart," but then, me and Kurt were forming a deeper connection by learning more about each other's families and where we came from. Family week was huge for both of us because we were able to be like, "Wow, we actually come from similar backgrounds, and this could work not just for TV."

Do you feel like you learned anything about yourself through this experience?

Yeah. Going into it, you don't know how you're going to react. I learned about myself that staying true to myself is so important, because when you get on there, it's so many girls and it's a competition. A lot of the girls shot themselves in the foot a little bit because they were swarming, and they were like, "It's a competition. I need to get my time." I stayed true to myself by being like, "Okay, I'm not going to push something or chase something. If it's meant to be, I'll attract it naturally." I didn't go into this being like, "I'm going to win." I was like, "If I vibe with the guys, then let's see where this goes." So, I think just staying true to myself and realizing that you don't have to chase something. You know? If it's meant for you, it'll come. 

Going in with that mindset and staying true to that was huge and showed me that whatever's meant to be will be. Sometimes, I would question that; I'm like, "Am I doing enough to chase my dreams, or should I let it come in naturally?" As far as the show's going right now, it seems like it's pretty on track to stay true to yourself, and what's meant for you will come.

Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer airs Thursdays on FOX at 8/7c.