Riverside native vies to win heart of 'Bachelorette'
By Valerie Kunz
The question on everyone's mind in Riverside is whether native Wendell Jisa will win the hand of Jen Schefft on the television show "The Bachelorette."
That question will be decided at the end of the eight-week ABC network reality television series, in which 25 eligible bachelors vie for the affection of Schefft, who lives in Chicago.
The program opened Jan. 10 and is set in New York City. The first episode featured Jisa as one of the eligible men trying to win Schefft's affections. Jisa said a friend nominated him to be on the show, and he never imagined that he would be featured on the program.
"Pilar Mueller, a friend from junior high school days, nominated me," Jisa said. "I was amazed when I received a phone call from Los Angeles and was told that I had been chosen from a field of 100,000 applicants."
Each week, Schefft eliminates some of the bachelors, until the last show where she ultimately chooses to be with one of them.
"Ten of the bachelors were eliminated the first night of the program," Jisa said. He made the first cut, though. Under a contract with the show, Jisa cannot reveal how the show ends or how far he makes it into the program.
Jisa, 33, is the son of Judy West Jisa and the late Wendell Jisa Sr. The Jisa family has longtime roots in Riverside, and Jisa Jr. is a seventh generation descendant of Riverside founder A. J. Cross, and a sixth generation descendant of Riverside settler Ezra Sherman. Both Cross and Sherman were members of the Riverside Improvement Co., which formed Riverside in the 1860s, Judy Jisa said.
Jisa grew up in Riverside and now lives and owns his own company in Chicago, Landmark Document Services.
He took some time off to film the show, and said it was difficult to live with so many men. "All 25 of us were housed in a townhouse in Greenwich Village in New York City," he said.
Even Jisa's mother won't say if there will be a wedding between her son and Schefft. She and the rest of Riverside will just have to tune in at 8 p.m. Mondays on Channel 7.