Taken from http://www.courier-journal.com/feat
The moment of truth arrived last night for fans of TBS' wild new reality show "Outback Jack" — and for Natalie Franzman.
Saucy Aussie Jack (real name: Vadim Dale) chose the blond bombshell from Kentucky over Florida's Marissa Clark, making Franzman Louisville's first-ever reality show winner.
Over the course of the show, which aired for eight consecutive weeks, Franzman, 21, not only captured Dale's heart but also won over millions of viewers. But she was contractually prohibited from revealing the show's ending.
"I'm so excited and relieved the show's finally over so I can be open about my feelings for Vadim," said an elated Franzman, who celebrated her win last night in Los Angeles.
"Besides being away from him — even though we talked six times a day — one of the hardest parts was not being able to tell my friends and family all the details about my experience and that I had found my match.
"We are inseparable. We completely fell in love, and it was so unexpected," she said of the 28-year-old Dale, who gave her the pet name "Princess."
When the show made its debut in mid-June, Franzman and 11 other high-maintenance city girls were dropped into the Australian Outback to meet "Jack." Little did they know that the makeup, hair products and designer clothes in their suitcases would serve no purpose in the unpredictable terrain.
"When I first realized I was going to be in the Outback, my sole priority was just to survive and not die," Franzman said in one of her earlier interviews with The Courier-Journal. "I couldn't compete with the other girls over him at first. I was more worried about the bugs eating my legs up at nighttime."
But after advancing to the sixth round, which featured a weekend of pampering in Perth, something triggered inside her.
"It was kind of like I looked up one day and realized, 'Oh my gosh, I'm totally falling in love with this guy and he's been under my nose the whole time.'"
On last night's finale, Outback Jack had one-on-one all-day dates with the two remaining girls. He spent his quality time with Franzman riding on the beach on ATVs and kayaking.
"I'm very excited for Natalie right now," said her mother, Amelia Franzman of Louisville. "It's kind of bittersweet because I'm going to miss her so much being gone. She's been in my life for 21 years."
This past weekend, Franzman quit her job at a St. Matthews hair salon, packed her bags and headed to Los Angeles, where she and Dale have set up house in a furnished apartment.
Most reality shows reward winners with a cash prize, but that wasn't the case with "Outback Jack."
Franzman did receive a diamond necklace valued at $20,000, and the couple won a 30-day, all-expenses-paid trip to Europe, both of which they will likely cash in. "L.A. is an expensive place to live, and we have to survive," Franzman said.
At the moment, Franzman doesn't have a job lined up. Dale, on the other hand, who has a manager and an agent, has received lots of calls and offers in the entertainment industry.
Franzman's mom, the only relative who knew the show's outcome before last night, said she never dreamed her daughter would come home Queen of the Outback.
"Natalie's never been the type of girl who falls in love with every single guy she goes out with. She wouldn't even give out her phone number, so I didn't expect that she would come back in love — or even make it in the Outback."
Looking back, she still finds humor in her daughter's first observation of her new boyfriend when she arrived in the Outback. "She said, 'Mom, I thought he was George of the Jungle. I thought he was our tour guide.'"
Shortly before the series started its run, Franzman and Dale managed to get away to Cabo San Lucas for a vacation. Franzman also admitted that she and Dale sneaked visits when she was in Los Angeles promoting the show, always fearing they'd get caught.
"I want to take him to Louisville to meet my friends and family, and he wants to take me to Australia," she said. "We have a lot on our plates for the next couple of months."
Should we expect to hear wedding bells soon?
"I think in the back of our minds we kind of know that we may spend the rest of our lives with each other — something special happened out there," Franzman said. "But we don't want to jinx anything, so we don't want to rush into anything."
What if TBS offered to foot the bill for an Outback wedding? Would she consider it then?
"Only if our honeymoon wasn't spent in a tent and bugs weren't the dessert," said Franzman, before letting out one of her silly laughs.