Rachel Lindsay isn’t shying away from the fact that she’s the first black Bachelorette.
ET’s Lauren Zima caught up with the 31-year-old attorney on the set of her first photo shoot for the ABC dating show in March, where she opened up about how she planned to address the topic with her suitors on night one.
“I always say, it’s something that should be talked about,” Lindsay said bluntly. “I’m happy to address it. I’m honored to be the first black Bachelorette.”
“With the guys, you know, if it’s something new to them, then I want to talk about it the same way that I [wanted] to talk to Nick about it: ‘Have you ever dated a black woman before?'” she added. “I’ll talk about my experiences as well. You know, it’s about me, too, but I don’t want it to be something that defines our relationship. But I think it’s something important to address.”
Lindsay isn’t just the first black Bachelorette — she’s also the first black lead in “Bachelor” franchise history. But while she said diversity is important on her season, she’s “open” to dating people of all races.
“I don’t just date a specific race. I date everyone. I’m open to everyone,” she revealed. “I’m hoping to see a cast that reflects that as well, and I’ve told [producers] that.”
Something Lindsay won’t tolerate, however, is a “cocky guy.”
“I do not like a cocky guy. I like a confident guy,” she confessed. “You can toe the line just a little bit, but I cannot stand a cocky guy.”
“I’m definitely looking for confidence, a man that’s secure and self-aware. I’m gonna bottle that all into one,” she added. “I want a guy who has good morals. And then a funny guy.”
Lindsay also said that suitors should check the drama at the door.
“I’m so direct that I won’t entertain the drama or the pettiness or cattiness. I’ll just deal with situations as they come to me, so if guys come to me about a villain in the house, I’ll be aware of it, my antennas will be up but I’m not going to feed into it too much,” she said. “That’s not my style.”
As for the qualities she hopes to embody on her season, Lindsay said the most important thing is that she’s “true to herself”: a 31-year-old “career woman” who knows what she wants in a relationship.
“I want to be myself. That’s what I always say,” shared Lindsay, who rocked two stunning looks during her promo photo shoot: a casual ensemble with a floral bomber jacket and a stunning Randi Rahm red dress. “I just want to stay true to myself, keep it 100, keep it real. That’s me.”
“It’s funny because I’m ‘older’ in this world, but I don’t feel old,” she continued. “I think a lot of women can relate to me. Being a career woman, being 31, there are a lot of women out there who are going to see themselves in me and so, I’m excited. Hopefully I will do something that speaks to them and inspires them in a certain way too.”
Part of Lindsay’s honest approach to her season of “The Bachelorette” comes from advice from former Bachelor Nick Viall.
“I actually appreciated Nick. I know a lot of people are upset that we didn’t have rose ceremonies and things like typically that you see in the show, but what I loved so much about Nick is that when he knew something, he went for it,” she admitted. “He did it, and I respected that.”
“He was 100 percent sure in his decisions, even if it was letting me go. He knew what he wanted to do and he did it, and I’m gonna take that with me into my season. I’m not going to toe the line or be indecisive when I make my decisions. When I know I want to do something I’m just gonna do it,” she said, adding that she’s prepared to shed a few tears along the way.
“When I was talking to Nick a little bit off camera, he was saying [that] typically he’s not that sensitive, but you become so invested in this process,” she recalled. “He was like, ‘You’ll be surprised, you’ll be more emotional than you think you will be.'”
One area Lindsay doesn’t see herself following in Viall’s footsteps in is the fantasy suites.
“Right as I stand here today, no [I don’t see myself getting intimate with everyone in the fantasy suites],” she admitted. “But when you get in that moment, you just don’t know. So we’ll have to wait, watch and see, but no, I don’t see that happening for me.”
Lindsay definitely walks to the beat of her own drum. See more on the Dallas native in the video below.
“The Bachelorette” premieres Monday, May 22 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
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