WE TV has gone into the matchmaking business.
That’s right, it’s been three weeks since Match Made in Heaven set out on mission to match one of the nation’s most eligible bachelors with one of 24 bachelorettes who made the decision to go on television to find love. Eh, c’mon. Love on TV? All the cynicism doesn’t shake Shawn Bullard, an undiscovered (handsome) face from Philly, who after leaving the professional football field to make a well-respected name for himself in the real estate, now stars on WE TV’s newest reality show. With the help of his momma, Maggie Bullard, and pastor, Ken Johnson, we get a reality “trinity,” and a series of extravagantly upscale dates drawing Shawn closer to his angel. Considering VH1 had this competition dating show thing on lock years ago (Flavor Flav!), it was only right for Bullard to sit down and tell us what made him really do the show, his deal breakers in a relationship, and if he actually is still with his “match made in heaven” today. Trust us, he gave us hell before spilling the tea.
So has the reality show gone to your head yet?
Shawn Bullard: I’m the blue collar dude — I’m always gonna be that. See that’s what people don’t understand, I came into the game already lit. The real life portion of what you all see week-to-week is what got me on the show, but the show isn’t changing who I already was.
Let’s talk about that real life portion. After 19 seasons of ABC’s hit The Bachelor, you’re being coined the “first Black bachelor.” How do you feel about that?
It’s always a great platform to be the first of anything. I’m not going to be that guy to pull the race card; but the reality is, to be a black man in America you have to be twice as better to get half the credit. I’ve never used that as a crutch; maybe ABC didn’t search long and hard enough to find that man of color that was exceptional enough to represent their brand. That’s just how it is, but whether it was ABC or WE TV, I knew I was the man for the job.
The job? So I’m guessing you didn’t have a hard time finding woman?
I got a call from a friend of mine and she told me about major network looking to bring America their first black bachelor to TV, and insisted that it would be perfect from me. I wasn’t sure at first, because I’m not going to say I couldn’t find love in real life. My ex-fiance is amazing, and I dated some amazing women. I’ve never had a problem finding a woman, but at the time I was single, and I knew that I had a good chance of finding love on television. However the main reason to take on the role was because I wanted to bring back that black gentleman to reality TV.
Wait, are you subtly shading our network?
[Laughs.] No, I just wanted to it to be wanted to be bigger than finding love. I wanted to be a role model to black men and say, “Listen we can sit at the table with the trust-fund babies from Harvard, still be tatted up, and treat our women right.”
It’s one thing to present Black men in good light, but what about the women who were fighting over what they considered to be a prize?
It didn’t bother me at all because that’s the nature of reality. You know, to me, women are some of the most competitive creatures known to man. And yes, there was some drama in the house, but it’s entertaining. At the end of the day they were basically going hard after what they thought to be a prize. I considered it a compliment, as long as I continued to present myself the right way at all times. We all have that competitiveness in us and in Match Made in Heaven, just shows women going hard. I can only control what I can control.
Why do you think they choose you?
The network wanted a few things: an undiscovered face, someone extremely handsome — of course I was lacking in that department — and someone who could prove their success. But I wasn’t all in until I found out the person needed to have a great relationship with his mother. I remember saying to [my mom], “I don’t want to do this, but if I apply for it I’m going to get it.”
But c’mon, Shawn, a love reality/competition show in 2015? Why not do a real estate reality show?
You got to take your opportunities as they come, and the show isn’t much different than my real life. I’ve been a bachelor a lot of times in my life, and I’ve been the guy unfortunately to go out and see multiple women. At the end of the day you know you only can be with one, if you’re trying to be serious. There’s nothing wrong with going through the gauntlet to meet your one. But you have to take your opportunities as they come. Also, I love women.