Starring on The Bachelorette changed Rachel Lindsay's life in undeniable ways. She's engaged to Bryan Abasolo with a wedding on the horizon. Reality TV also opened up plenty of doors and gave her a major platform. But that doesn't mean she hasn't had to hustle and prove herself to find post-show success. In an exclusive interview with Bustle at the end of February, Rachel opens up about the post-Bachelorette pressure on both her relationship and her career, and how she's managed to rise above it.
First and foremost, Rachel acknowledges that it was tough for her and Bryan to adjust to the spotlight on the relationship once the season wrapped. "At the beginning, there's more pressure, because it's new. Everyone is watching," she says while promoting her partnership with Vaseline. "When you're in the grocery store or walking your dog, all eyes are on you even when you don't realize it because you read about it later in a magazine."
Because of that spotlight, Rachel advises post-season couples to "try to live your life and go on and do something outside of the Bachelor franchise." She adds, "You have to remain true to yourself... Don't copy what someone else is doing. Know who you are and stay in that lane."
And that's exactly what Rachel is doing: staying true to herself as the host of ESPN's Football Frenzy, a show that focuses on "football updates, recaps, analysis, reports, interviews, and fantasy football tips." She's passionate about the subject, and for those who don't know, Rachel received a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and sports management from the University of Texas in Austin, according to Law & Crime.
Still, Rachel has a lot of self-awareness, so she's quick to clarify what people might be thinking: "People assume, 'She got ESPN, because The Bachelorette is on ABC.' That is so far from the truth." (ABC and ESPN both have the same parent company: Disney.) Instead, she recalls, "I went to ESPN three weeks after my season ended. They were like, 'We like you, but you don't relate to a sports audience.'" No matter how qualified she may have been, it just wasn't enough to get her broadcasting career started.
Even though Rachel's college education was sports-based, she says, "That didn't matter. I didn't resonate with their audience... They didn't want to look like they were just picking reality TV stars."
"I don't want to be known as just the Bachelorette, but I don't want to abandon that audience either."
So, how did she handle that initial rejection? She worked even harder. She admits, "Yes, the [Bachelor] franchise gave me a platform to get me in the door to have those meetings, but it was on me to prove my sports knowledge and to humble myself and start from the bottom." In order to do that, she took jobs that didn't pay, just so she could build her reel.
That was no easy task either. Rachel even incorporates some Bachelor lingo when reflecting on the experience, saying, "I appreciate, for a lack of better words, the 'journey' to get there. It's better to say that than, 'Oh yeah, they just gave it to me.' I had to prove myself and I like that better."
And she's not done proving herself — in fact, she intends to incorporate her law background, sports knowledge, and experience as the Bachelorette into her future. Essentially, Rachel debunks the post-reality TV stereotype of solely becoming a professional Instagram star when she says, "I don't feel like you should have to limit yourself to just one way of making income. You don't have to quit your job to post on social media. You can do that and do something else that you enjoy as well."
Thanks to her time on The Bachelorette and her growing sports career, there are a lot of eyes on Rachel these days. Subsequently, she wants to make the most of that captive audience. "I do a lot of speaking, especially at colleges, just about knowing your worth and knowing who you are. I love to speak to women in that regard," she says, explaining she wants to build a platform focused on empowerment.
Rachel continues, "Knowing your worth is very important. I feel it even stronger having this platform and seeing how you can compare yourself to things you see on TV, in social media, or in magazines." Ultimately, she shares, "In five years, I want to circle back and do something that includes the legal side of my background."
Fans have The Bachelor to thank for bringing Rachel into their lives, but she insists, "I don't want to be known as just the Bachelorette, but I don't want to abandon that audience either. I really do believe that if you have a platform, you should use it to help others." And that's exactly what she's working on right now.
As happy as she is with her time on The Bachelorette and all the opportunities that stem from that, Rachel has her sights set on making an even greater impact.