Life & Love

Things to Love About the Leading Ladies of ABC’s The Bachelorette

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When it comes to ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, I consider myself an OG, which means I was watching this show loooong before #BachelorNation took over Twitter and hosted nation-wide viewing parties, contributing to the pop-culture phenomenon that consumes Monday nights.

In case you have been living under a rock for the past decade, the show’s premise is to have a leading man (The Bachelor) or woman (The Bachelorette) date 25-ish women or men, respectively, over the course of 8 weeks of filming. During this time, the lead goes on a variety of extravagant and outrageous dates, to include one-on-one, group, and “dreaded” two-on-one dates, etc. They travel the world together visiting city after city [NOTE: every city is the “perfect place to fall in love”] until elimination after elimination leaves only one woman awaiting a proposal or one man ready to propose with a Neil Lane original.

The entire premise is quite outlandish, but of course, it makes for great reality television. These days the show is riddled with controversy. Can two people possibly fall in love in such a short amount of time, and on television no less? Why does the show have such an awful track record of successful couples? Are contestants really there “for the right reasons”? After all, making it through a couple eliminations nearly guarantees a healthy Instagram following just waiting to see #ad for Sugar Bear Hair. Well, this blog post will be about none of those things.

I became inspired while watching last Monday night’s Bachelorette reunion. Initially, I considered writing a definitive ranking of the leading ladies, but I quickly decided against it and here’s why.

THE BACHELORETTE – The Bachelorette 15 Celebration Special. (ABC/John Fleenor) BECCA KUFRIN, EMILY MAYNARD-JOHNSON, DESIREE SIEGFRIED, ANDI DORFMAN, ASHLEY ROSENBAUM, TRISTA SUTTER, CHRIS HARRISON, JILLIAN HARRIS, ALI FEDOTOWSKY-MANNO, JOELLE “JOJO” FLETCHER, RACHEL LINDSAY, KAITLYN BRISTOWE, DEANNA STAGLIANO

Among the many things that I want my blog to be, first and foremost, is for it to be a representation of who I am. And ranking women from “best to worst” is so far from that. I was actually semi-disgusted with myself that the thought even crossed my mind. The Internet is already full of that type of bullshit. Women tearing down other women. Women pitting other women against each other. Hard pass. I prefer celebrating women for all their badass-ery and uniqueness.

Therefore, this blog will consist of “Things to Love” about each of the Bachelorettes! Because guess what? They are each uniquely beautiful, intelligent, and purposeful!

Trista (Rehn) Sutter

THE BACHELORETTE: Trista Rehn

Ahhh, Trista, the OG Bachelorette. Is there anything more that needs to be said? She took on this role back when the concept of reality dating TV shows was still relatively new. Then again, by this time, The Bachelor had been on for quite a few seasons, yet, America was not as accepting of a woman dating 25 guys. In Trista’s words, she was “crucified” and for lack of a better word… slut-shamed. Of course there would be a double standard here. So, it goes without saying that she really paved the way for the rest of the women on this list, and not simply because she was the first.

She was graceful and well-poised throughout her season and beyond. She found and chose her guy, Ryan Sutter, and they have been married for over 15 years and share two children. And oh, can we talk about how she only kissed four of the guys in her season?

Deanna (Pappas) Stagliano

THE BACHELORETTE: Deanna Pappas

I remember Deanna for being outspoken, yet completely in control, when it came to confronting Brad, the Bachelor who infamously chose no one at the end of his [first] season… when all of America thought he would choose Deanna. She opened up on her own blog and I love that she candidly talked about how hard it was to be grateful for her time on the show. She also reflected on walking into the Bachelor mansion ten years ago “desperate to be loved” and after this reunion she walked out of it as a woman who had “found herself in this life… and fully loved.” And I absolutely love how she highlighted each of her fellow Bachelorettes with qualities she admires… or as I’m calling them: “things to love.” Well done, Deanna!

Jillian Harris

THE BACHELORETTE: Jillian Harris

I am probably least familiar with Jillian Harris’s season of The Bachelorette; however, I do follow her on social media. Her Instagram feed is a beautifully curated masterpiece of light and bright, airy photos, contributing to a page that you can’t help but enjoy following. However, while the aesthetic of her feed may be deemed “perfect” by her 971,000+ followers, I love that she shows up almost daily on IG stories with no makeup and no filter. Jillian embodies the perfect balance of perfection and reality!

Ali (Fedotowsky) Manno

THE BACHELORETTE: Ali Fedotowsky

Ali’s blog was one of the first that I remember reading, back when blogging was a newer phenomenon, to me at least. In other words, you could say she was an early inspiration of Untamed Melodies. I love that as her life has evolved, so has her blog. While she started blogging mostly about fashion and lifestyle, her marriage and addition of two kiddos has expanded her blog to other topics, including the trials and tribulations of motherhood. She is open and honest about her struggles as a mom and what that role means for her as a woman and a wife. I was in awe of Ali when she started sharing her post-partum body, while also admitting that doing so was absolutely terrifying for her. She’s about as relatable as they come. And if you love wedding videos, hers is absolutely beautiful.

Ashley (Hebert) Rosenbaum

THE BACHELORETTE: Ashley Hebert

One thing that I love about Ashley is that she was a dentist prior to becoming the Bachelorette and she returned to dentistry after the show. Of course, her season was slightly before the show became a nationwide phenomenon, but nonetheless, she always talked about how passionate she was about being a pediatric dentist and she finished school to continue to do so. She and her final guy, JP, have continued to live a mostly quiet life outside of the limelight and their family is just so precious. As a side note, I think Ashley has one of the most infectious personalities – just watch her bloopers!

Emily (Maynard) Johnson

THE BACHELORETTE: Emily Maynard

Besides being known as the sweet, Southern Belle, Emily is probably most remembered by fans for the heartbreaking story. She went on The Bachelor as a single-mother to her daughter Ricki, whom she shared with late boyfriend, Ricky Hendrick, who died in a plane crash just before she found out she was pregnant. I loved how throughout this season and as the lead on The Bachelorette, she made it clear that her daughter was the most important thing in her world.

When one of her suitors called her daughter “baggage” Emily told him to, “Get the f*ck out!” and then later laid his shit bare again on The Men Tell All special. I mean even the way she looks at him is just the epitome of confidence and WOMANhood. Emily may look and sound as sweet as sugar, but she isn’t taking shit from anybody. Major points to her for telling that ass-hat on national television to shove it… in the classiest way possible. Also, she wrote an amazing book you should check out called: I Said Yes: My Story of Heartbreak, Redemption, and True Love.

Desiree (Hartsock) Siegfried

THE BACHELORETTE: Desiree Hartsock

Admittedly, Desiree’s season was one that I didn’t become super invested in — not sure what was going on in my life that year. However, I love her wedding blog …said the girl who is not engaged and has never really envisioned herself getting married! Nonetheless, I love that she has built a brand around her gorgeous wedding dress designs! Watching women live out their passion and turn their dreams into reality is something that really speaks to me.

Andi Dorfman

THE BACHELORETTE: Andi Dorfman

First thing to love about Andi: It’s Not Okay: Turning Heartbreak Into Happily Never After. Second thing to love about Andi: Single State of Mind.

Those are the links to her books that made her a New York Times Best Selling Author (a dream of mine, btw)! The first is a memoir chronicling her time on The Bachelor, then her time as the Bachelorette, and everything that happened once the cameras stopped rolling and after her engagement ended. After healing from the very public heartbreak, Andi decided to start her next chapter in New York City, which is where book number two picks up. She proceeds to keep you entertained on every. last. page. Whether you relate to her hilarious, “this-is-my-life” anecdotes or just want to live vicariously through her, she really gives true meaning to the words authentic and unapologetic.

Kaitlyn Bristowe

THE BACHELORETTE: Kaitlyn Bristowe

Perhaps one of the most controversial Bachelorettes, Kaitlyn is also a fan favorite for so many people (*cough* me *cough*) and for so many reasons. She has a wildly successful podcast called Off the Vine, has her own line of scrunchies, Dewedit, is in the midst of launching her own wine label, and is releasing music soon. She is the definition of a boss babe. What I love most about her is how she used her experience on The Bachelorette to shape her platform. Her brand is all about “creating a space for ladies and gents to feel empowered to be themselves” — stolen from her podcast intro. She is very much a shining example of a free spirit, proud of who she is and not afraid to walk in her own power.

JoJo Fletcher

THE BACHELORETTE: JoJo Fletcher

JoJo has kept busy after her time on the show. She has launched a clothing line called Fletch, a collection of boutique-like fashion clothing and accessories, which she models. JoJo has also invested in various real-estate properties and completed full renovations. She and her final guy, Jordan Rodgers, are set to have their own real-estate and home remodeling television show on CNBC. Like other Bachelorettes before her, she has used her platform to build a personal brand and follow her passions!

Rachel Lindsay

THE BACHELORETTE: Rachel Lindsay

Rachel’s role as The Bachelorette was quite unique, as she was the first woman of color to be handing out roses to the hopeful gents. She spoke about what that meant to her in various interviews and I think it was quite evident how seriously she took on that role. I loved her for acknowledging the racial undertones and addressing the issue that the show has long been criticized for… a lack of diversity in contestants, and particularly, the lead.

Rachel also deserves some kudos because the edit of her show left all of America questioning why she didn’t pick the other guy. Meanwhile she clearly wanted everyone to understand and see the love story with the guy she did choose. Since then, I have grown to love how fiercely she defended her relationship with Bryan despite what everyone else, mere television viewers, claimed was the right choice for her. Clearly she knew, as she and Bryan are set to tie the knot this summer.

Becca Kufrin

THE BACHELORETTE: Becca Kufrin

“Let’s do the damn thing!” may just be the best promo tag-line, ever. But before that, fans of the show probably remember the cringe-worthy breakup between Becca and Arie in real-time, so that he could pursue a relationship with his runner-up [now his wife and soon to be baby mama], Lauren. What I loved most about Becca was how graciously she accepted his After the Final Rose apology and told him that she forgave him. In later interviews after her season, she also admitted that she could empathize more with Arie and the decision he had to make, because she, too, fell very hard for two men in her role as the lead. I always appreciated her no-filter, no-nonsense attitude… even going as far to say that if Arie and Lauren invited her to their wedding and there was an open bar, “I’ll be there!” Now, that’s a woman after my own heart!

Hannah Brown

THE BACHELORETTE: Hannah Brown

Hannah B. is the newest Bachelorette. Her season premieres TONIGHT, Monday, May 13th. She captured the hearts of America when she was dumped by recent Bachelor, Colton Underwood. Unlike many women who ride away in tears, she held her chin high and told him, “I will not allow myself to not feel chosen every single day and I’ll wait ’til whenever that is.”

… and all the self-love advocates around the world rejoiced in a simultaneous, “YASSSSSSS HONEY!” That display of such utter belief in one’s self-worth… that’s something to love and for that reason I’m excited to see what her season brings.

With that, I hope, in reading this blog, you find a way to celebrate the women around you… and yourself! Cheers to the start of another woman’s journey to find love!


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