'Bachelorette' Fan Favorite Joe Park on 'Wild' Praise and If He'd Be the 'Bachelor' (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
Not since Grocery Store Joe have fans rallied so hard for an early exit from The Bachelorette to become the franchise's next lead, but it's happening this season with Joe Park. The 36-year-old anesthesiologist made a big impact before he was eliminated on Tuesday's episode of the ABC dating show -- and some viewers are calling for him to be Bachelor.
So, would he do it? "I would hope I don't have to answer that question," Joe told ET's Lauren Zima on Tuesday night, expressing his desire to be in a committed relationship soon. "But it's very flattering."
Despite just leaving The Bachelorette, Joe actually isn't that familiar with the Bachelor franchise. He said he's never seen a single episode of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette; he was cast on the series after someone from production reached out.
"It was in the height of the pandemic of New York City, and somebody from the show reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in exploring this opportunity," Joe recalled. "It's not something I would normally do but one, it's 2020 and it's been a crazy year, and two, if the pandemic taught me anything, it's seize the opportunity, because tomorrow is not promised."
"It's been a harrowing year for myself and other frontline workers," he explained. "I was at a hospital in Brooklyn that I think in New York City was the second hardest hit hospital. It really helped me reflect on how every moment is a gift."
Joe's positive attitude, good looks, sweet demeanor and witty remarks were a big hit with Bachelor Nation, and while he stuck around after Clare Crawley's exit from The Bachelorette, he and new lead Tayshia Adams didn't form a lasting connection.
Read below for Joe's reaction to his elimination, thoughts on Clare and Dale Moss' whirlwind romance, who he thinks Tayshia should end up with and more.
ET: Your elimination felt like such a 180 because you had such a huge surge of fandom after the wrestling date, and now we're seeing you sent home. Did it feel like a shocker to you? How did you react?
Joe Park: I was actually pretty sad. It was such a beautiful experience and it really was a beautiful moment that we had there amongst the guys, but also with Tayshia and Clare, all of us got to escape this pandemic reality we were living in, and I think everybody appreciated that moment. Honestly I was pretty upset when I left. You didn't get to see it, but I shed some tears.
What made you cry?
It was just all of it, it was just knowing that this dream … was a mirage.
You're 36, incredibly good looking and kind and seem so funny. You're an anesthesiologist, you're accomplished -- why are you single?
You know, you and my mom should talk, because she asks me only any time I see her -- I'm not sure. You know, work is obviously busy at times. I don't know how to answer that question -- I'm just waiting for the right thing. … At this point, I am looking for the real, real thing and I think I'm willing to wait to find somebody who has that kind of potential.
Is there anything you would have done differently on the show?
I'm having a lot of fun watching the show. I'm like, 'Oh, that's how fast it moves.' I had no idea! … Part of the reason I think I'm not on TV a lot is I didn't know you weren't supposed to look at the camera!
Would you go on Bachelor in Paradise?
I don't know the answer to that, but I hope I'm in a committed relationship at some point soon! … If I'm single at that time, I would definitely evaluate that option, yes. I would not say no right away, but I'd do a little more research and know what I'm getting myself into!
Would you be the Bachelor?
I'll answer the same way I would with Paradise -- again, tomorrow is never granted. I would hope I don't have to answer that question, but it's very flattering.
Has anyone been sliding into your DMs?
Mostly my mom's friends congratulating me on being on the show.
How do you feel about all the fan praise?
I appreciate it, but it is wild to me! I don't get it exactly because there's so many awesome dudes on the show. Obviously i'm appreciative and thankful, and I'm flattered by it and I'm like, I don't deserve it.
As you were looking around at the other guys, how did you feel about the diversity amongst this cast?
I have to say the people who cast it -- ABC did a great job finding people from different walks of life, obviously different backgrounds and I think that really made our experiences and I think for the viewers, their experiences much more relatable. People obviously want to see people who have gone through the same experiences they have, and I think for me, being a second generation immigrant, my parents came from Korea, and I think a lot of people, Asian or otherwise, can appreciate that.
Are these guys all they seem to be? Is Bennett as rich as he acts?
Bennett is maybe even richer. His shoe collection was insane. ... like 20 pairs of shoes all from different animals were lined up in front, it was impressive.
Who did you have stronger feelings for, Clare or Tayshia?
Oh Tayshia, no question. When Tayshia came in, it really was like the whole mood change, everyone got super excited, she just has this beautiful energy about her.
Who would you like to see her end up with?
I would say one, the person who I fell in love with on the show, Brendan ... [we] shared some really amazing moments and we bonded a lot during that time on the show, and I think he is a great listener. He's funny, he's obviously gorgeous, so I think he has a great shot. Ivan is also really smart, very funny, very sweet, great values. Ivan is somebody I root for ... they're good people on the show and good people in real life too.
Did the guys really dislike Dale? How did the guys feel when Clare and Dale left?
I think these guys really were a bit more mature and everybody understands that. After Dale left, nobody was like 'F that guy,' everybody was happy for them and we were happy to move on … I think everyone was happy for Dale, nobody has ill will towards Dale for the most part. There were a couple of people who had feelings for Clare, and I understand that.
Is Dale on the guys’ group text post-show?
Dale is 1,000% on the group text, but it was after the fact. After we said our piece, Dale got added to the group text.
Do you think Clare and Dale will make it?
I think the speed, especially once you've been through the gauntlet a few times as they both have, speed isn't as big of an issue once you find the thing you're looking for. I think obviously no one knows the future, but I can only hope they have a beautiful relationship.
Are you romantically interested in anyone from Bachelor Nation?
I don't know Bachelor Nation so I can't answer that question. But if anybody in Bachelor Nation wants to hang out and talk, I'm here for it -- get at me!
The Bachelorette airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. See more in the video below.