Emily Maynard on The Bachelorette: Protecting Ricki is Priority #1

Emily Maynard wouldn't reveal if she gets engaged on The Bachelorette this season, though she says she "was happy before the show, but really happy now."

She also says the road to the final rose was secondary to protecting her little girl. On a conference call with reporters, she described how that influenced things:

"If I was a single 26-year-old without a daughter, I'd be doing the same things the other Bachelorettes did. But Ricki is always at the forefront of my mind."

Emily Maynard Photograph

"I wouldn't get in a hot tub on a first date in my everyday life so I sure as hell am not going to do it on [TV]. I like to keep Ricki sheltered to a point."

"She's not at an age where she can even begin to understand the reason for the cameras. I told her it was for a very elaborate home video that she could watch way down the road. ... Ricki's life was not really affected at all."

"She was very protected throughout the entire process. She didn't see the guys. I got to spend a lot of time with her, take her to school and do all my mom stuff."

As for how Emily Maynard finally came around to doing the show?

"I had a million reservations and I said no to anybody who would listen. But time went on, we started talking again, and they were so accommodating that it was [too] great an opportunity to pass up," the 26-year-old explained.

"I had a great group of guys. I had the time of my life and learned so much about myself. It was the best experience getting to travel and to give Ricki the opportunity to see things she wouldn't have otherwise."

The guys came in having an image of me in their head but as they got to know me better, they all said, [I was] nothing like they thought. It was a good thing."

"I'm feisty and sassy. It takes a little bit for me to really feel comfortable but I've never been called 'boring' in my normal everyday life."

As for which guys make it to the end? The Bachelorette spoilers we've compiled so far give you a fairly good idea of who the leading candidates are ...