November 17, 2016
When we last spoke with Wildwood Crest’s Veronica Harwood, she was one of nine remaining contestants remaining in the reality-television battle to win the affections of NFL player Travis Kelce.
In subsequent weeks, she managed to fend off another five competitors to the point where she was one of four remaining on Wednesday night’s finale of the E! Network show “Catching Kelce.”
We'll let Harwood tell you how that went.
“I’m still single,” said Harwood, aka Ronnie, also a semifinalist in the Miss New Jersey USA pageant, who was recruited by the show after a casting agent saw a photo of her tailgating outside an Eagles game. “I walked out and didn’t say anything to him.
"They just show me on TV giving the middle finger – double middle fingers. I was mad, but I’m not going to beg someone to want to be with me.”
"I was mad, but I’m not going to beg someone to want to be with me.”--Veronica Harwood
Sure, she knew about the results before Wednesday night, what with the series – which started with 50 contestants, each representing their home state – being filmed several months back. She had to keep the results, and her reaction to the loss, a secret until the on-air reveal.
What she had to keep close to her vest was the fact that she made it to the final two, but learned that Kelce selected Maya Benberry from Kentucky as the woman with whom he’d like to pursue a relationship.
On the phone from South Jersey on Thursday afternoon, as her mother watched the finale again in the background, Harwood explained what it’s like to lay your heart bare on reality television only to take an unexpected defeat.
In the finale, the four semifinalists joined Kelce – brother of Eagles’ offensive lineman Jason, who appeared on the show – for a date on a yacht. One competitor was then eliminated from contention and three women took a private jet to Kansas City, Mo., where he plays tight end for the Chiefs.
For Ronnie’s date there, Kelce took her on a trolley tour of town.
“He was showing me all the different places, asking me if I could see myself moving there,” she said of a date that came before another elimination that set the stage for the final two. “He goes on to say what he enjoys about each of us, that I’m a great girl, the type he can see himself setting down with, the type he can take home to his mother. He built me all up.”
And then, he cast her aside after comparing the ultimate winner to his ex-girlfriend.
“It was really shocking to me,” she admitted. “Why build someone up and then shut them down like that?”
Sure, she got “a little bitter” watching the show at a viewing party on Wednesday night. And sure, she hasn’t talked to Kelce since the filming, which lends to a lack of closure. But, looking back, Ronnie said it was a positive experience overall.
“It was real. My feeling for him were real. But, it’s just like any other relationship. Give it a try, and sometimes, it doesn’t work out,” she said. “Last night brought up all the emotions again. I’m fine with the way it is, even though I never got the closure of him saying ‘this is why I don’t think we’re going to work out.’ At the same time, I’m not mad anymore. It’s his loss. Everyone’s saying he made the wrong decision.”
Social-media reaction, as seen through the lens of Ronnie's retweets, backs that last statement up.
As for the future, Ronnie – who recently moved to Philadelphia – is working on getting her personal trainer certificate and harbors thoughts of working in fitness (specifically, meal preparation) and will continue to pursue a modeling career as well.
“There are plenty of ways he could reach out to me if he wanted, so I’m left wondering whether he just kept me around for TV,” said Ronnie, refusing to get too caught up in it because of one specific reality:
“There are plenty of other fish in the sea.”