Rachel Lindsay, who was the first Black Bachelorette for season 13, was a definite trailblazer for Bachelor Nation, but it wasn’t necessarily an easy ride. Speaking with HollywoodLife on our podcast, the 36-year-old detailed her experience on the show and shared how she felt being a Black woman first as a contestant on season 21 of The Bachelor then as the woman-in-waiting for contestants of her own.
“I was billed a certain way … almost perfection,” she shared with HL. “You hadn’t seen that before because that’s not messy — that’s not entertaining, right? As a lover of reality TV that’s true. That’s why it’s so interesting that I had to be all those things as the first Black Bachelorette.”
She went on, “People had to understand, ‘Okay, why are we doing this now after 15 years? Oh … she makes sense, she comes from this family, she was raised this way, she has this career, she’s done all these things where she checks all the boxes so, okay, she’s acceptable to be the first.'”
Rachel continued, “Whereas you have other leads [who] are not as independent, not as put together, not as self aware that don’t look like me and so that’s a stark contrast of the difference between myself and other leads that didn’t look like me … the saying of, ‘You have to work twice as hard to have half as much just to get there and to be seen.'”
The reality star went on to share how “happy” she was for the discussion since there were things she “didn’t really grasp” until separating herself from the show and “really [starting] to reflect on my experience.”
After her time on the show, the Dallas native has tried to help usher the Bachelor Nation franchise into a more racially enlightened future, hoping to pave the way for more Black contestants and to aid in their experiences. Despite her efforts, the former lawyer has been met with backlash, criticism, and even death threats when she tries to make each issue a learning moment. In addition to giving a behind-the-scenes look of the show on our podcast, she also revealed in her new book, Miss Me With That: Hot Takes, Helpful Tidbits, and a Few Hard Truths, that she attempted to educate and support Hannah Brown after the DWTS winner said the N-word while singing the words to DaBaby‘s song “Rockstar” on Instagram Live.
“It’s not that it was about her using the word, because she and I are good. We’ve talked, she’s apologized, and in the way that she apologized to me, she really did take the time to understand,” she shared on the pod. “It wasn’t this insincere apology at all, it was really heartfelt. But the problem was how a sector of Bachelor Nation responded to that incident.”