Matt Donald's Bachelor in Paradise Confessional

Forget Matt Donald’s brief appearance on Season 15 of The Bachelorette--the 26-year-old surely made a lasting impression on Season 6 of Bachelor in Paradise. Donald first entered the franchise on Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette, being sent home on the first night despite his memorable entrance: he exited from a tractor, donned in a straw hat, singing his own rendition of “Old Matt Donald Had A Farm” (“I'm Matt Donald, and I love your smile/And I hope I get a rose.”). Donald decided to continue his search for love in Paradise; although he made connections with both Sydney Lotuaco and Bri Barnes on the beach, he ultimately left Mexico sans a relationship. Below, Donald considers what went wrong and reveals whether or not he’d return to the show. 

Why did you decide to be on Bachelor in Paradise?

I wanted to come on to Bachelor in Paradise because my time on The Bachelorette was cut pretty short. On The Bachelorette, I needed a competitive mindset. I had to be comfortable stealing Hannah from somebody else, and those are the things that were super out of my comfort zone. Bachelor in Paradise is a little more organic. Everyone's hanging out by the beach, pool, or bar. That’s why I knew I’d thrive there more.

How did your experience in Paradise differ from yours on The Bachelorette?

I didn't have to wait to get time to talk to somebody. I could literally just go up to them, grab them and say, "Hey, let's chat." I’d pull someone over to a cabana and we'd just talk. We all hung out in the pool and made jokes. It's a really chill environment in Paradise where everyone gets to hang out and have fun. 

What's one thing people may not know about Paradise?

It's really hot. I was sweating so much in all the episodes. And the worst thing is, you can't really escape from it, because there's no AC. So it's not like you can just take a minute, go to the bathroom, and get some cold AC. You're constantly in the heat, and you can't get away from it.

Who were some of your closest friends on the show?

I got along with all the guys. I'm a bro's bro. [My closest friends were] Luke, Dylan, John Paul Jones, and Mike. I mean, I'm living with Luke S. in LA, so I would say like coming out of Paradise, Luke and I have become the closest.

Donald (back row, far right) with fellow cast members on the Paradise reunion special

You hit it off with Sydney. What was your favorite part of your date with her?

Oh my gosh. It was just a really fun day. The dates are always a blast there. Unfortunately, you didn't get to see much of it on the show, but we were walking around the city. There was a huge crowd eating these habanero peppers! It was fun, despite it being really spicy. It was just a great first date, and Sydney was perfect for it, too. She was a ton of fun.

There was a lot of controversy considering how long you waited to kiss Sydney. What's your side of the story?

Ben Higgins said it best in his podcast with Ashley: I was just really camera shy. Going into Paradise, everyone was incredibly comfortable around the camera because most of them were there for a while on their respective shows, and I was only there for one night. I was on camera for the first time alone, which was pretty nerve-racking. Being asked to do something that’s typically private in my life on a huge platform was tough. That’s why you would hear me referencing my mom--it was a gateway into saying that I’m just really shy and nervous around the camera. Although I did worry about what my mom thought, and I never want to upset my parents, I’m not a huge mama’s boy like I was portrayed on the season. I don't know if viewers got to see it too much, but I got a lot more comfortable as the days went on and kind of forgot the cameras were there, so I was able to be a little bit more of myself.

Do you have any regrets from Paradise?

No. Most people said I should have picked Sydney, but I’m a huge believer in everything happening for a reason. It would be wrong for me to say I have regrets because I've grown from the mistakes that I've made. Not saying I did make any mistakes...I think I was just stuck in a really difficult situation. Unfortunately, I got there too late to walk away with an engagement or anything like that. I've learned a ton about myself from the experience, though.

Why did you pick Bri over Sydney?

I know it seemed like it was because she's a supermodel, but I can tell you it wasn't because of that. If you watch closely, Bri and I actually had a really good connection that you didn't get to see a lot of. I mean, I had a great connection with Sydney, too. It honestly just came down to the fact that I just didn't have enough time with either of them. Right when Chris Harrison came to the cocktail party, Sydney said to me, "Everything's going to be okay, whatever decision you make." She shouldn't have told me that, because it made me think that picking Bri wouldn't hurt her feelings as much. I was just in a really tough situation. It's hard to be in a love triangle. I'd never want to wish it upon anybody.

Would you consider going back to Paradise?

I don't know. I hope I find somebody [first]. If [the producers] asked me, I would have to think about it, but right now, it's been kind of tough. I’m just trying to be a normal person and date. I live in L.A. now, so it's hard to find people that are dating you because of you, not because you were on reality television. But I hope I don’t have to go back [to Paradise]!

Follow Matt on Social Media:

Instagram: @oldmattdonald22

Twitter: @oldmattdonald22