Fri Jul 2, 2:21 AM ET
By DON KAPLAN
'FOR Love or Money" finalist Rachel Veltri cried after she watched the first episode of NBC's summer reality show.
"I called [the producers] crying," she says. "I said, 'You guys told me that you'd never be able to make a good person look evil,' but you did a damn good job of it."
Even before the third season of the dating show began this year, NBC hyped Rachel's behavior as a reason to watch and throughout the series she appeared to act somewhat like a psychotic ex-girlfriend.
It seemed as if she sulked when things didn't go her way and lied when other contestants pressed for details about her dates with the show's bachelor.
"When I saw the promos, I figured they were just trying to reel in viewers," she says. "Boy, was I in for a surprise.
"Do I think I got portrayed fairly? Hell no," giggles Veltri, a flight attendant from Chicago.
"But I go back to work [today]," she says. "We'll see if I get food thrown at me."
Veltri faces off against her pal, sweet-natured PJ Spillman, a media buyer from Texas, on Monday night's finale in what NBC is promoting as the "good girl" versus "the bad girl."
On the show, a group of women vie to win the heart of bachelor Preston Mercer. Each girl was assigned a check that could be worth as much as $1 million or as little as $1 and each week, he eliminates one or two of the contestants.
In the finale, Mercer chooses between the two finalists and the winner decides if she wants him or cash the check.
She can't have both.
"I'm very up front, and I speak my mind," says Veltri. "And when you do that, there's a lot of footage and they ran with it."
All season long, Veltri seemed to flip flop between her feelings for Mercer and her desire for the money. Until last week's episode, her check was worth $1.
"They portray me as very insincere and a liar, and I don't like that," she says.
On last week's episode, the girls traded in their checks for new ones — just before two were eliminated — and now they don't know how much they stand to win if they pick the money instead of Mercer.
Neither girl will say how the show — which finished taping weeks ago — turns out. But "good girl" Spillman says she's not like Veltri and came across on TV exactly how she is in real life.
"I really can't complain at all," she says.
"It's not like anybody put anything I said into my mouth. I'm from a small town and I did live a sheltered life, and part of the reason I went on this show was to step out there and have new experiences."
Spillman says the only problem she had with the show is that Mercer comes off a little more dry than he is in real life. "They could have done a better job of showing how much of a goof-ball he really is."