Rachael Kirkconnell is turning her mistakes into messages.
Earlier this year, the Bachelor Nation member had some explaining to do after she was accused of attending an "antebellum plantation themed" fraternity formal in 2018. The resurfaced photos—and Chris Harrison's defense of Rachael—led to many conversations about race within the franchise.
On Monday, Aug. 30, Rachael appeared on From Privilege to Progress' "Unscripted Live" where she recalled the days leading up to her apology.
"I had a lot of people in my ear saying, ‘You'll have your time. Don't make it worse. You'll have your time to speak. We'll give you a platform. Just wait it out,'" Rachael told co-hosts Michelle Saahene and Melissa DePino. "I felt pressure to just keep it all in, to wait, to stay silent."
Ultimately, Rachael decided to take the first steps and apologize for her actions in an Instagram post.
"I finally decided to put that statement out and then obviously that wasn't enough because it's not actually a conversation," she explained. "Anyone could have written that statement, which a lot of people had thought. I didn't even have any sort of representation at that point. People were like, ‘Wow, her publicist did great with this.' That's when I was like, it's not enough."
According to Rachael, her post also came when her relationship with Matt James was struggling. While the twosome is back together and in a "great place" today, the public scrutiny and controversy proved to be too much at one point.
"That was our breaking point at that point for both of us and that's when we had split up right towards the end of February and that same week, I was like I have nothing left to lose at this point so that's when I just decided to post an IGTV of me just speaking," Rachael recalled. "I have to get my voice out there and put my face out there."
While Rachael said some of the headlines were "twisted," the facts remain the facts. As she explained, "That dress and the history of that formal was racist and I was completely ignorant to that and I needed to be held accountable for that."
"I wanted to apologize and for some people, that won't be enough and I completely understand that," she added. "People are more than entitled not to forgive me, but that was my rock bottom. I had lost everything."
In the last few months, Rachael said she has tried to find "some normalcy" in her life. And while the first part of 2021 was difficult, she tries to see the situation as a positive today.
"I've learned so much and I try to tell myself, you do have this platform and you could make a difference," Rachael said. "I have a platform to pave the way for people to find those resources. I have a platform to amplify those resources."