It's Emily Maynard's turn to be “The Bachelorette,” but there's someone else to consider.
Viewers of the 2011 edition of “The Bachelor,” in which Maynard was selected by — and later split with — second-time chooser Brad Womack, know she's a single parent. Young daughter Ricki remains a big factor in the decision-making as 25 suitors come calling for Maynard in ABC's eighth round of “The Bachelorette,” starting at 8 p.m. Monday.
“I am having the absolute time of my life,” Maynard says of making the show. “It's so much more fun than I could have imagined. I had worried about not getting enough sleep, but I have been going on pure adrenaline.”
Though her “Bachelor” run gave Maynard some sense of what to expect, she notes the surprises “The Bachelorette” is bringing her are “true to life. You can ask your friends for advice, but in the end, you're going to follow your heart and do what you want to do. That's what I'm doing, and I'm glad I came into it with an open mind, just like (the series' producers) told me to.”
However, also in Maynard's mind constantly is Ricki — he reason much of the show's season is set in their home base of Charlotte, N.C.
“Ricki is the center of my universe,” Maynard states, “and I think it's important for people to see that I didn't just say to her, ‘OK, I'm going to leave again.' If I get home at 6:30 in the morning from a rose ceremony, she wakes up at 7, and I'm up making breakfast. I think this will give people a feel for who I am and what's important to me.”
Ricki's father, NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick, died in a 2004 plane crash. “All the producers and everybody at ‘The Bachelorette' have been amazing in accommodating Ricki's schedule and mine,” says Maynard, who was engaged to Hendrick at the time of his death. “I feel like they're putting my daughter and me ahead of making a TV show. That's their No. 1 priority, but they understand what my No. 1 priority is, too.”