'Bachelor' Villain Krystal Nielson Says She 'Saged My Soul' for 'Paradise' (Exclusive)

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Krystal Nielson took some time to soul search -- and soul sage -- before heading to Bachelor in Paradise

The former Bachelor villain was determined to steer far away from the drama for her second chance at finding love in Bachelor Nation, and that included a little bit of Paradise prep work. 

"I just developed a really strong morning routine... I wanted to clear emotional space coming into Paradise, and work through some growing pains I had, so yeah, I burned a lot of sage, girl," she told ET's Lauren Zima as filming kicked off in Mexico. "I have saged my soul." 

"When I got back from The Bachelor, in all honesty, I was really defeated and I was just depleted, and I was down. It took a while, and just a lot of anxiety, like how is everything going to go down 'cause I was aware towards the end I was the villain and it was so not my intention to never be anything close to that," she continued. "I really just lost control and it was a very stressful experience for me." 

Now, Krystal says she's a changed woman, with a voice "at the end of Bachelor, right before [Women] Tell All." Gone are the days of hurling NSFW insults at Arie Luyendyk Jr. and her Bachelor co-stars. 

"I actually received a lot of love. There was a lot of criticism as well, but I have never taken it personally, and I read all the comments and I think I just felt very misunderstood," she said. "But I understand where people were coming from and how I was acting selfishly and being disrespectful to the women when it wasn't my intention."

As for Paradise, while Krystal's been a big part of season five promos, her approach to the show is to "just be me" -- but a more "humbled version." 

"We're good," she said of her relationships with the other women who appeared on Arie's season. "We've had coffee, we text, we Facetime."

Another reformed villain joining Paradise this season is Chris Randone, fresh off Becca Kufrin's season of The Bachelorette. While he wouldn't reveal whether he and Krystal bond over their Bachelor experiences, he did tease his own "beautiful transformation," and praised Krystal's as well.

 

"She's actually a beautiful person and I'm really excited to have America see that as well," he shared. "I don't know if it's [about] redemption stories, but I think [Paradise] just has the ability to see people in areas of who they are and give people an idea of kind of who we are in real life." 

And being yourself is, of course, a big theme for another Paradise hopeful, Jordan Kendall. "I'm going to come in being the same exact person that I was [on Becca's season] because that's who I am. That's how you find love, by being yourself," he told ET. 

"I definitely see myself sitting down with Krystal and seeing if she is how I perceived her, because I know how this whole thing goes," Jordan said. "I think that Krystal's attractive. Do I think that I'm going to end up with her? I'd like to see myself sitting next to Jenna Cooper or Kendall [Long]... or Seinne [Fleming] maybe."

"The only person that I potentially might have some trouble with is David the Chicken," he continued. "He's not a bad guy, I don't have a problem with David, he just constantly asks me questions about myself like I need to validate myself to him, [but] I'm not here to date the guys."

"Definitely [I'll stick out for] being romantic. Being myself is the only way I can stand out over anybody because that makes me more suitable for who I'm meant for," Jordan added. "So [I'm] definitely being myself and bringing my best game."

Bachelor in Paradise premieres Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. See more in the video below. 

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