The Bachelorette SA's Justin has found love! 'I'm happy,' he tells us

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Justin Lakey on The Bachelorette SA.
Justin Lakey on The Bachelorette SA.
Photo: M-Net
  • It was an emotional affair when Qiniso Van Damme bid farewell to Justin Lakey in the latest episode of The Bachelorette SA.
  • In this Q&A we ask the track and field specialist about making it to top three and find out more about the woman who has captured his heart.
  • "It's a weird feeling of sadness but being happy with the fact that you've shared good experiences with this person," said Justin.

Hearts around South Africa broke when Qiniso Van Damme said goodbye to Justin Lakey in the penultimate episode of The Bachelorette SA.

The track and field specialist became a fan-favourite throughout the show with his easy going and empathic nature. While Justin and Qiniso's relationship started slowly, it progressed to a deeper connection the longer he stayed in the mansion.

For their final date, Justin took Qiniso canoeing before meeting his parents. As with any 'meet the parents' situation, Qiniso was nervous about meeting the Lakeys. After warming up, the foursome discussed their relationship and future. Justin's mom was very frank and protective of her child and broached the subject of being "plastic" and the validity of finding love on a reality show. But Justin came to the defence of Qiniso and set his mom's mind at ease.

Justin's journey came to an end after Qiniso gave her second rose to Gareth at the rose ceremony.


In this Q&A, we ask Justin about his final date, that 'plastic' comment from his mom, and find out more about the woman who has captured his heart.

When you started this journey on The Bachelorette SA, did you think you would make it to the top three?

Not in the slightest. To be honest, I never had that at the back of my mind but instead went through the paces of everything and remained calm. 

Going into your final date with Qiniso and her meeting your parents. How were you feeling about where you stood with her and how your relationship developed?

I felt relatively confident that where we stood was at a level where we both understood the chemistry that we had and knowing that gave me confidence. There was still that element of excitement and nervousness, knowing she was meeting my parents later that day.

Qiniso Van Damme and Justin Lakey on The Bachelore
ALL SMILES: Qiniso and Justin share a moment on their final date.

Your mom had your best interest at heart, so she didn't hold back when she spoke to Qiniso. You got a little shy. Can you tell us more about that moment? Did you talk about it after it happened?

One thing about mom is that she will always be upfront and honest about her feelings no matter what situation she finds herself in. Like any mom, realistically speaking, would be when introduced to a partner. The 'don't be plastic be authentic' moment was maybe misunderstood for attack and not general concern and advice.

We loved how you jumped in and helped Qiniso in that situation. Why was that so important for you then? Why is it so important for you to do so in a relationship?

Well, for me, it's so important for a partner to be there for their significant other in all moments. I had to clear up any misconception there might have been about what happens on a reality show, so there's a better understanding behind it. For me, it's so vital that people don't make assumptions but seek understanding first before making any judgment, especially in a relationship.

Qiniso Van Damme and Justin Lakey on The Bachelore
MEET THE PARENTS: Qinsio meets Justin's mom and dad.

How confident were you going into the rose ceremony that evening? Did you at any point think you would be going home?

I truly had a 50/50 notion when going into the rose ceremony, where I told myself that I'm confident in where our relationship stands, but in the same breath, I thought, 'Well damn, what if I do go home tonight? How would I feel?' I get a little caught up in my head.

How did it feel making it that far and not getting a rose at that point?

It truly felt bittersweet, as I explained in the episode. It's a weird feeling of sadness but being happy with the fact that you've shared good experiences with this person, but now it has come to an end.

Your time on the show has been pretty drama-free; what were some of your highlights?

I would like to think that I chose my drama wisely (laughs). My highlights would definitely be the whiskey date; the two-on-one with Vuyani and Peter was so intense. And lastly, the general bromance with the guys was something unexpected.

Qiniso Van Damme and Justin Lakey on The Bachelore
'YOU ARE INCREDIBLE': Qiniso says goodbye to Justin.

So, I have to ask, 'cause Twitter had a lot to say. How did you feel about the 'Justy' nickname?

LOL! I truly rolled with it because it's so close to what my family nickname is. So, I accepted that Qiniso chose a nickname as a sweet way of our own little thing.

From the beginning, you were a fan favourite; did you expect so many viewers to connect with who you are?

I honestly didn't at all. I truly wanted to be as authentic as I can and be myself despite cameras and all that. So the reception I received was heart-warming that the viewers local and abroad enjoyed who I am.

You mentioned in the after show that you have found love. Can you tell us a bit more about the lucky woman?

I was truly blessed to have met my girlfriend, Lee Tatchell. She wasn't fazed about the show or where I stood in the public eye. She saw me as a dude she fancied and wanted to be serious with. She is hands down the funniest person I know; throw in disciplined, good-hearted, goofy, loving, drop-dead gorgeous, and wholesome in one person, and you've got who Lee Tatchell is. I'm happy.


The Bachelorette SA finale airs Thursday at 19:30 on M-Net (DStv 101)

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24