I’m originally from Ottawa, Canada, but now live in New York City with my husband, Andy Levine. Chances are, if you're here you know me as "that opera singer" from Season 18 of ABC's The Bachelor.
If you are for my singing website, you can find it over here!
Equality; Baroque music; Frozen Yogurt; The benefit of the doubt; Dry humor; Real conversations; Pomelos; Engrish; Bleecker Street; Curiosity; Adjectives beyond "amazing" and "awesome"; Kiwis; My Nintendo Switch; Reciprocity; Heels; Self-awareness; Lobster rolls; Superb spelling; Floss; Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs; Quiet confidence; Window shopping; Accountability; Violent Asian massages; Working fireplaces; Cocktails with egg whites; Looseleaf tea; Generosity; Backless dresses; Honesty
Entitlement; Ignorance; Guns; Talking without listening; Incorrect use of "it's" vs "its" (and while we're at it, "you're" vs "your"); Cruelty; People who take themselves too seriously; The middle seat on airplanes; Judgmental people; Condescension; Closed-mindedness; Stubbornness; Bullies
Grantland interview with Emily Yoshida (video)
Jezebel: Farewell to Sharleen, The Most Revolutionary Bachelor Contestant Ever by Kate Dries
The Week: How to Exit a Reality Show with Dignity by Samantha Rollins
Nerve: A Victory for Feminism by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Nerve: Better Things To Do by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Flare Magazine interview with Flannery Dean
1. A large bearlike mammal with characteristic black and white markings, native to certain mountain forests of central and western China. It feeds almost entirely on bamboo and has become increasingly rare.
2. A person who is noticeably different from others. (the "brown bears")
Viewers who first got to know me on The Bachelor know where the term "panda" comes from. But if you're new to the site, let me fill you in.
It all started in Episode 5 when I said...
First, let me provide some behind-the-scenes intel. When I said that it was in a very long ITM and with too many Sauvignon Blancs in me. If you saw the season, you'll know that was the infamous night in Vietnam, when Clare Crawley made out with Juan Pablo in his private hot tub (they would later frolic in the ocean together). What you didn't see was the rest of us girls on the group date waiting—that hot tub jaunt alone took in ballpark of 2 hours, let alone all the 1-on-1 time he was meant to share with each of us—bored out of our wits, and thus packing back the vino. So, was I maybe a little drunk when I said the above quote? Ahem, yes. But I do stand by saying it and believe in the meaning behind it!
After the above scene aired, my online world blew up with people making fun of me. For weeks I was told on Twitter to get over myself, #vomit, "ugh, just go away", and was even accused of being slightly racist. (I'm still not sure I get how that one works.) But as the weeks wore on, viewers warmed to me and came to love the reference. Those of you who read this blog are the ones I know get the meaning. I've spent a great deal of my life feeling different, and I don't think I'm alone in that. Being a "panda" is not about looks, but a je-ne-sais-quoi that you don't know until you see. Whether in reference to yourself or someone else, it represents a differentness you perhaps can't quite put your finger on.
Now for some backstory on what it means to me. For 6 years of my life I dated a lovely man from Toronto. We met at a Toronto Film Festival party in 2003, where several times throughout the evening we caught each others' glances across a crowded room—until I finally marched up to him and gave him my number. Later, on our first date, he told me something I will never forget: "When I saw you, you were like a panda in a room full of brown bears."
It means more than just looking a certain way or being someone's type. To us it meant a certain something about someone being inexplicably different and just... fitting. And someone's panda will most certainly be the next person's brown bear, and vice versa. (For inquiring minds, to this day he and I are still very dear friends and he and Andy get along like old chums.)
After my season aired, I wanted to write The Bachelor recaps from the perspective of a former contestant. My goal was to create the sort of recaps that I, as a critical (yet longtime) viewer, would have wanted to read. When coming up with a title for this blog in 2014, I knew I wanted to incorporate "panda" into the name somehow because of what it represented to me and the folks who understood my unique definition of the word.
Are you actually an opera singer? Do you still sing?
Yes! While a lot of Bachelor occupations are jokes (Free Spirit, Dog Lover, Chicken Enthusiast), I was indeed a working opera singer while on The Bachelor and still am to this day. For more on my opera career, please visit my singing website.
Did you go to school for singing? Where did you study?
Yes. I hold a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, both in Voice Performance. I studied at Mannes.
Any tips for aspiring opera singers?
I remember being told this when applying for schools and it’s so true: prioritize finding a great voice teacher who really works for not only your voice, but your personality. A fancy conservatory is useless without a great fit with your teacher. Also: diction, diction, diction. If there’s one class you don’t skip, let it be Diction!
What is your ethnicity?
My mother is Chinese and my Canadian father is a mix of Irish, French, and Native American.
You seem well-adjusted and intelligent; why were you on The Bachelor?
It’s a misconception that people on The Bachelor (or any reality shows) are dumb, desperate, or crazy. The unique circumstances of filming might make them behave crazily, but for the most part, we are normal and have our marbles intact. If you’ve ever asked (or thought to ask) me or any other Bachelor alum this question, you should be reading my recaps (if you aren’t already).
How do you curl your hair?
Hot rollers! I swear by them and have been using them forever. So many of you have asked me this that I’ve written a blog post all about them.
What do you wear under backless tops?
I am amazed at how often I’ve been asked this, but hey, such concerns are valid! I wear and swear by Nippies Skin.
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