Not many women who go onto “The Bachelor” have curly hair. Or prefer being barefoot to wearing shoes. Or make reference to allegorical Portuguese literature.
For that matter, not many “Bachelor” contestants would make their way onto the show, barely spend one night with the star and his other female suitors, then stand up and basically say, You know what? Nah.
Yet that pretty much sums up Charlotte yoga instructor Katie Levans, who left the L.A. mansion/TV set of her own accord in the middle of Monday night’s two-hour installment of ABC’s reality-competition show, which premiered just one week earlier.
“I felt like a fish out of water,” Levans said during a phone interview Tuesday. “I felt incredibly uncomfortable, down to the very basic fact that I’m a yoga teacher and I’m barefoot and in spandex and sweating with no makeup most days of my life, and there I was in an evening gown and all done up and around all these other girls who those things are very important to.”
Levans, 27, grew up north of Chicago, in Woodstock, Ill., then came to the Carolinas to attend Furman University; she worked in Greenville, S.C., for awhile after graduating, before moving to the Charlotte area two years (she recently got her master’s in nutrition at Winthrop University). Since leaving the show, she has returned to teaching yoga out of Y2 Yoga at 280 S. Sharon Amity Road, and to maintaining www.sweettaterblog.com.
A longtime “Bachelor” fan, Levans was encouraged by friends last summer to go to an open casting call at Suite, a nightclub at the uptown EpiCentre entertainment complex.
“I was getting texts and tweets all day from people saying, ‘You’ve got to go to this, you’ve got to go to this.’ I kind of ignored it,” she said, “then was teaching a late-evening yoga class, got done, and I was like, ‘You know what, I’m gonna go.’ So I threw on a dress, ran uptown. I think I was the very last girl to come through.”
On the Jan. 7 premiere, she was shown meeting star Sean Lowe (spurned by Charlotte’s Emily Maynard on “The Bachelorette” last summer) wearing a pink-red dress but no shoes, and giving him a mini-yoga lesson.
“He just seemed like a genuine, nice, cool guy,” Levans said. However, she added, with a laugh: “I don’t limit myself to one specific physical type, I would just say in my history I am known to date tattooed musicians. So (Sean) doesn’t necessarily fall in line with that, that kind of alternative guy that I’m generally with.”
During a “group date” that involved her and a dozen other women – all of whom were clearly hot and heavy for Lowe – taking turns posing with him in a competition to be models for Harlequin romance novels, Levans realized she’d had it.
“I felt like I was not acting like myself, and that I would never act like myself in that setting,” she said. “Because of that, he would never know who I really am, and that ultimately is just a waste of everyone’s time. So knowing how uncomfortable that I was feeling, and knowing that I was not gonna be myself at any point, I just knew that it was time to go.”
Levans said the experience was not very much fun, but added that she has no regrets.
“If nothing else, I learned that maybe don’t seek love on a reality-competition show. Maybe not the best bet for me. I think that going on the show made me realize what I had at home.
“I don’t know if you’ve read ‘The Alchemist,’ but there is this great – and I’ll just kind of paraphrase … (this) son wants to travel the world, wants to go all over the place. And his dad explains to him, ‘You’re gonna go all over the world and see all these incredible places, and all these beautiful women and all these beautiful castles, and realize that we have the most beautiful castles and the most beautiful women at home. At our home.’
“So I always think about that, because I am big on traveling and always feeling like there’s something bigger and something better. ‘The Bachelor’ may have been that for me. I think I’ve learned that Charlotte has exactly what I need right now.”
Does that mean she’s found love here?
“The other thing ‘The Bachelor’ taught me,” Levans says, “is to just leave the relationship stuff out of the spotlight. So I am letting that one (alone) right now.”