With athletic flare and empowering poise, 32-year-old Texas attorney Rachel Lindsay stole the nation’s heart as the first black Bachelorette on ABC’s hit series. After an eight week journey to find love, the fairytale finale, complete with an engagement to 37-year-old chiropractor Brian Abasolo, aired Aug. 7.
Sporting sweats and a ponytail, Rachel took an hour to talk to Jerk before appearing at New York City’s Fashion Week. Bachelor Nation’s realest girl provided us with a little insight into the pursuit of love on behalf of confused college girls everywhere. Jerk: To bring you back to your University of Texas days, what was your drink of choice in college?
Rachel: Oh geez, well of course not until I was 21, but my drink of choice was whisky and coke, preferably Crown.
Jerk: If you had to compose a flip cup team of prior bachelors and bachelorettes on your seasons, who would be your first picks?
Rachel: I would pick Alexis because she’s a pro and would just be funny, Astrid would be the most focused one, Sarah I’ve seen do flip cup and I know what she can do, and Kristina is just my girl.
Jerk: What was the best piece of advice you got going into the show?
Rachel: Actually the makeup artist on the show said something to me. She said, “Guys are usually very black and white. If a guy says something to you, believe them.” Maya Angelou has a quote that’s like, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” I feel like as women we often make excuses. If a guy gives us a little bit we often make assumptions and we try to make it work and fix it. You just have to trust your gut and as women we think about everything in, out, up, down, and they just don’t. My mom told me to trust my gut and I just feel like women have this innate intuition about a lot of things: believe it, because that will tell you the difference between infatuation or if the guy is really into you. On my season I had a lot of guys that would talk a lot and said a lot of really good things but at the end of the day, it’s just talk.
Jerk: What would you say are the main differences between dating frat guys and dating bachelors on the show?
Rachel: I was in a sorority but I didn’t date frat guys. I went even worse than that and dated athletes, which is why I was probably still single at 32. In college it was like pulling teeth to get guys to do anything; it is very much about bragging rights to them. On the show, most of the guys were really there for me. Even the producers were saying I had a really good group of guys. I’ve never had guys that were so upfront, and I tend to hold back, so it was really good for me. It pushed me out of my comfort zone because I said that’s what I want, but I’ve never had that before.
Jerk: Communication is obviously a very key component in any relationship, so how have you and Brian been handling all the media that revolved around you as the show was airing?
Rachel: Brian is a guy that needs to know everything; he doesn’t want to be left in the dark. We would watch our parts together then he would watch the show separately and then immediately after the show we would talk about it: what he had a problem with, what I had a problem with, and what I missed.
Jerk: You got a significant amount of backlash from viewers for not choosing Peter. How did you manage drowning out those comments and sticking true to your gut?
Rachel: If you strip away all the handsomeness of Peter, he is very sweet and sincere but he’s also very confused and you see that in our last conversation. That was a three-hour goodbye that you saw ten minutes of. That was a guy that I used to make excuses for and say, “He’ll get there, I’ll wait.” It was easy for me to fall back to that because that’s what I’m used to, and you’re scared of the person who is giving you everything because you say “No way I can get everything I want, it’s too good to be true.”
Jerk: When the show was filming, did the camera presence take away from the intimacy of a moment between you and any of the guys?
Rachel: You’d be surprised how quickly you forget the cameras are there because when you are really trying to get to know a person, you don’t care if the cameras are there because they’re not the focus. When I was on Nick’s season, I didn’t even care that the cameras were there because I just wanted those 15 minutes because that’s all you get. On the flip end, I remember what it was like to wait all day, all week to get those moments in, so it was very important for me, whether I liked the guy or not, to give him all of my attention because I know he’s been waiting all week to see me.
Jerk: How would you compare your mindset going into Nick’s season versus going into your own, having had that basis of experience?
Rachel: I’m very skeptical and I walked into Nick’s season like, “Oh this is an amazing experience I’m probably not even going to like the guy,” and then I did. We got along great and at the end of the day we would have been homies, but it never would have amounted to marriage, and I know that now. The difference with Nick was because I went in with that mentality, it held me back. I don’t know if it was because I knew he wasn’t the one, but when I left Nick’s season, those tears, if I’m being honest, weren’t 100 percent because I missed Nick, it was also that I really wanted the next step for myself. Going into my season, I was very open, I was still skeptical, but I was ready and not scared of someone who is so forthcoming like a Brian and fall into the same trap of being with a person who thinks I’m great, but doesn’t want to commit to me, like a Peter, which was literally the story of my life.
Jerk: When going into a new relationship, or in your case several new relationships, how did you so quickly sift through guys that you knew would not amount to marriage?
Rachel: I think my legal career, and I joke about this but it’s actually true, that my legal training really helped me on the show because I have to read people as a litigator and I have to make quick decisions on my feet like I do in court and that skill set really transferred into “Bachelor” world.
Jerk: What advice would you give to college girls in regards to finding love?
Rachel: As women, we make excuses for men. In the “Hunger Games,” President Snow is in the field of roses and he asks the guy what is more powerful than fear and he says, “Hope, hope is more powerful than fear.” That’s exactly what we do: we hope for something better and that we can fix it if we do this or that he will change and be better, but know when people show you who they are, that’s who they are. Do not try to make excuses for them when it comes to relationships, it will save you so much time. You have to know who you are, almost like a mental exercise, you have to know who you are and be strong. Of course my feelings get hurt and I have weak moments, but you have to tell yourself, “It’s not me, it’s him, he’s a waste of my time, onto the next one” and just train yourself to start thinking like that and it starts now, in college.
Jerk: Any closing comments for college students just trying to make their way in the world?
Rachel: Have fun, believe me have fun. There are those guys that you can just have a good time with, but when you are ready for something serious, don’t waste your time. When I left college my mom told me it’s going to be really hard to find a man now, and it really was. I was still having fun but at the same time it is harder because you’re meeting men in a different way. You will never meet guys in that way again, unless you go on the bachelor, and it takes you right back. Be the contestant, not the lead, the lead is hard work. And always go for an older guy. I had blast in college, probably too much fun but I got out and I got out on time. Work hard, play harder, that will always be my motto.