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"So right before I went into the rose ceremony… I said to the girls, because they were asking, 'Are you giving Daniel your rose, are you giving Daniel your rose?'. I said: 'He's disgusting, he's a fricken sleaze', and that he had made the slimiest comment to me under his breath and that he was gross. And I said, 'I'm not giving him a rose, no way! You can give him one.'

"Keira always said to me that she trusted my judgment and that's why she decided as well that she wasn't going to keep him there. I was so adament about how disgusting he was that it probably put them off as well."

Laurina has easily shaken off Daniel's derogatory comments about her and the other women on Bachelor in Paradise (BIP) being too old, "All these ladies are stale, stale bread", since it only highlighted "what a pig" he was and besides, she has found love — outside of BIP.

Laurina did not find love on BIP, instead she beat a hasty retreat.

Photo: Ten

"I literally made a huge list to the universe, and just like Mary Poppins — you know how they write that list for the nanny and then they throw it up the chimney and the next minute she arrives — it was very much like that," Laurina said.

For now she is keeping her suitor's identity under wraps. But she says he is not associated with The Bachelor franchise, nor a part of her life before the dating show.

It became clear to her during filming of BIP that she wasn't in the right mindframe to be on the show, and she says her sudden departure had nothing to do with Daniel or former flame Blake Colman.

"I was already sort of a bit tapped out anyway and, like I said, I was struggling with processing my own things. Looking back on it now, I wasn't really open when I was in there and that reaction to being sent out on the date… showed me just how not open that I was," she said.

"I wasn't romantically interested in anyone, which was why I thought 'I'm just taking up room here, I should leave and let someone else come through who could have a connection with these people'."

It was actually a series of terrible events starting back in September, 2016, and leading up to the death of her brother by suicide just a month before shooting of BIP — six months ago that caused Laurina to be a recluse on the show; often shutting herself up in her hut.

"I guess I wasn't able to just keep up the happiness for so long, I could come out and do it in bursts but I couldn't really just stay out with everyone, especially not drinking as well," Laurina said.

"It's not something I really wanted to air while I was in there. I wasn't really talking about it. I didn't want to really bring a dampener to anyone, it was pretty heavy."

So when she had her "unwarranted" reaction to being asked to go on a date by the show's producers, she said she started panicking and heaving for air and eventually spoke to host Osher Gunsberg about her need to leave.

"It's not healthy for me to be here and I need to go home and grieve and process this properly," she said.

"I said yes to the show before my brother [died] and I did consider not going but I was really actually welcoming the distraction. I thought it would be a wonderful way to escape and what a beautiful environment, surrounded by people and love and laughter.

"But ultimately you need to be able to open up on a show like that and I was just terrified of opening up because there was so much emotional s— right under the surface. And I couldn't."

It started in 2016 when a partner cheated on her while she was sleeping in the next room "it absolutely messed me up" followed by her pet dying and a dream job falling through, which also resulted in a failed business and losing her apartment because she couldn't afford the mortgage.

"And then I lost my dad and then I ended up in a relationship with a person who was incapable of affection and couldn't even hold me when I was burying my dad would not give me a cuddle ever and that was so dark," she said. "And then my brother passed away from suicide and that's where it ended.

"It was one year of things that just open your senses and although I was feeling a lot of hurt, it changed me as a person, a lot. I turned to God pretty much, and I asked God for help and in that moment life had wrapped its arms around me and given me everything I wanted.

"And I'm now madly in love with someone who is every single thing that I put on that list and I really believe, a lot, that if you connect with life and with God that your prayers will be answered."

According to Laurina, it didn't help that while she was on the show, everyone kept pointing out how keen Blake was, but as she did not want to lead him on, she did not save him at the last rose ceremony.

"[Blake] had gotten a little bit drunk during the day before and Keira said he was becoming quite aggressive, not physically aggressive, just verbally disgruntled and hostile, and she was like 'he needs to go, he's not dealing with this' so that was my sort of reason," she said. "I thought, why keep him here when it's going to be awkward for me?"

Blake had previously explained that he had suffered heat stroke and was delirious at an earlier rose ceremony, when he called Laurina "Lenora". While the name gaffe was "a little bit humiliating" for Laurina, "I wasn't hung up about it, I just laughed it off".

Even though BIP did not provide the answers or love that she was looking for, Laurina said there were genuine couples on the show.

"There's three couple that definitely are mad for each other, and then the other ones are a little bit out of convenience," she revealed.

"I think Ali and Grant are genuinely mad for each other, I think Keira and Jarrod — even though they're a little bit distracted, they still have the potential to love each other and be very much in love — and I think Sam and Tara are a really good match and could fall madly in love."

Even bad boy Jake gets the thumbs up from Laurina.

"He's very smooth, Jake. He was probably my favourite person to flirt with in Paradise," she said. "And he's quite sexy in person, he's 6 foot 3 inch (190cm) with really broad shoulders, and he's got quite good flirtatious banter. I was a little bit taken with Jake."

Despite his mistakes with Florence, Laurina said many others made similar mistakes and Florence's reaction was unwarranted.

"I think he's an OK guy, Jake, I'd stand up for him."

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Aja Styles

Aja Styles is a passionate and dedicated writer who specialised in courts and crime during her stint with WAToday.com.au. Since moving to theage.com.au in 2012, she's taken on varied duties in reporting, home page editing and in sections, before commencing her current role in 2013.

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