The third Wollongong contestant on The Bachelor Australia could turn out to be the only one who matters, as Laura Byrne has emerged as the favourite to be in the hunt until the end.
The jewellery designer lives in Sydney but was raised in West Wollongong, went to high school at St Marys Star of the Sea and her family still calls Wollongong home.
Fans of the show were a-flutter on Wednesday night as the tall, confident Laura went on a solo date with protagonist Matty J, becoming the first of the 22 to lock lips with the star.
And while Byrne, 30, said it was “flattering” to be placed on a potential podium so early in the piece, she’s too smart to give anything away.
“It’s come about because we had one of the first single dates,” she told the Mercury. “It’s flattering, but … I don’t really know what else to say about that at the moment.”
During one episode last week she said “I’ve never been on a date with an audience before” – something of an understatement on a TV dating show.
“As much as you know what the show’s about, I don’t think you can ever prepare for that environment until you’re actually in it,” Byrne said. “It was still really jarring to be there [and] it was the first night, it was still really new to be in there.”
The Mercury asked her, why would anyone do it?
“I didn’t have a lot of expectations going into it,” Byrne said. “I went there because I thought it would be a really fun thing to do: put myself out of my comfort zone, make some friends, and if the guy end up being great, what a bonus that would be. But I never really walked in there with the expectation that this is really the guy for me. I was just open to the possibility that maybe he was the guy for me.”
So when did she know he was something special?
“We had our first single date, and that’s when you really get time to talk to each other,” she said. “It’s not in front of all the other girls.
“I really felt comfortable and genuinely myself. That’s when I could really relate and think ‘I really like this guy’.”
She didn’t seem too impressed at claims she’s a lookalike to Georgia Love, the Bachelorette who dumped Matty and started this whole series.
“It’s all news to me – no-one referred to me as that in the house, that I was aware of. I find it quite funny, because the girl who said that in the first episode, Jen, I actually think she looks quite a bit like Georgia Love too. I thought it was a bit ironic coming from her.
“I don’t take it as an insult. I’m sure she’s great, but we’re very different people and so it really doesn’t faze me.”
- The Bachelor Australia, 7.30pm Wednesday and Thursday, on WIN