Bachelor Nation, it's time to take off those rose-colored glasses. Because Rachel Lindsay is sharing her full journey and it's not all hot tubs and long-stemmed roses.
In a bombshell first-person essay for New York Magazine, the 36-year-old star revealed details on her entire Bachelor experience—from the complications behind competing for the affections of Nick Viall's heart to becoming the franchise's first Black Bachelorette in 2017.
As a contestant on Nick's season in early 2017, Rachel placed third overall, losing to winner and not-so-secret but now-former nemesis, Vanessa Grimaldi. While filming, the two notoriously didn't get along, but now Rachel has opened up about their feud. "Vanessa liked him [Nick] so much, she couldn't hear about how he kissed another woman, which lets you know how deep her feelings were," Rachel explained. "As a result, she was unable to connect with the other women in the house."
Rachel also went on to claim that production staged a "sit-down" between them where Vanessa accused Rachel of "bullying" her and ended the conversation in tears. Once production pulled Rachel aside immediately after the conversation, the lawyer detailed, she also became emotional at the notion of coming across as "an angry Black woman." She reveals production assured her the scene would not air.
While it was a largely unproductive chat, she revealed their once-thorny situation has since been involved, with Rachel noting, "I am happy to say that, in real life, we put our differences aside and have a great and supportive relationship."
When it came to having her own heart front-and-center as The Bachelorette later in that same year, Rachel chose now-husband Bryan Abasolo over fan-favorite and runner up, Peter Kraus.
On the show, her choice was portrayed as picking the sure-thing over a man waffling over a proposal, but the attorney insisted her decision was made long before Bryan dropped to one knee atop a mountain in Spain. "My head had already started to come out of the clouds with Peter by the time of ‘Hometowns,'" she explained, "the episode in which the Bachelorette visits the final four contestants at home with their families."
Although those episodes typically center on the contestants' families rather than their pals, Rachel got to Peter's hometown and was in for a bit of surprise, she revealed. "I walked in and saw two Black men and two white women sitting at a table," she explained. "I turned to my producer and gave her a look. I wish they had caught my face on-camera—the way I turned and stared at her, like, ‘Really, bitch?'"
Separated into two tables, she continued, "Peter got to talk to his homeboys, and I was with the women, who talked about having ‘mixed babies' and what it was like to be an interracial couple. I couldn't believe it. I'm Black. I have interracial couples in my family. I'm old enough to understand what I'm entering into and the difficulties that come with it. I felt exploited."
She also added, "If anything, that situation turned me off of Peter because I couldn't see myself hanging out with them. They were nice, but it was so contrived. The producers really thought, ‘How great! All these mixed couples can come together.' They were only looking at the optics of the situation."
In reality, she continued, she and Peter hadn't had the sorts of deep talks about what their marriage would look like. Yet when the finale aired—complete with Peter's comment that she would be settling for a life of mediocrity without him—viewers walked away feeling as if she had settled for Bryan. Though she couldn't have been happier with her pick, she noted, "Publicly, I was robbed of my love story."
As for her relationship with the series, that continued to sour with each new season—with Rachel feeling as if she was just a box they had checked off by having a Black Bachelorette—before her now-infamous February interview with Chris Harrison. "There's no denying The Bachelor franchise changed my life," she shared. "It's a love-hate relationship." But for now, it's on hold indefinitely. "I'm no longer making myself available to The Bachelor universe," she shared (save for chatting with any contestant in need). "I am no longer a figurehead. I am no-longer a spot-filler. I am no longer the face of what is diverse."
After her feature hit the web on June 21 with the headline: Rachel Lindsay Has No Roses Left to Burn, Rachel took to social media to share her thoughts on the publication's choice of words. The magazine has since released a statement addressing Rachel's dissatisfaction with the cover line.
"I worked with New York Magazine very closely on a cover feature where I was given the opportunity to tell my story and share my experience with the Bachelor franchise," she wrote in an Instagram post. "It was deeply personal, but I felt it was important to share. While it was a very collaborative experience, they decided to misrepresent me with the headline that was chosen for the cover."
In addition to the headline, the magazine also included the cover line: "I thought I could change The Bachelor franchise from within. Until I realized I was their token."
Lauren Starke, a spokesperson for the publication, shared in a statement, "New York Magazine is incredibly proud to have published Rachel Lindsay's powerful, first-person story, detailing her experience with The Bachelor franchise. We were sorry to learn that she is unhappy with the cover line (which was not meant as a direct quote), but it shouldn't take away from the candor and bravery of her words in the piece."