There is a lot of pressure on The Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay.
She's already made history twice on the hit ABC franchise. Last season as a contestant on The Bachelor, she became the first Black contestant to receive the "first impression rose" and after becoming a fan favorite on the show, she was subsequently named the newest Bachelorette making her the only woman of color to have the title in the series' history.
Now all eyes are on Lindsay -- Black America's especially. When the new season premiered on Monday May 22, Black Twitter collectively tuned in to watch what happened. For the first time, one of America's favorite primetime television shows has a woman of color looking for love without any obvious bias or preference for skin color. During an interview with ESSENCE, Lindsay discussed the honor of being named the first Black Bachelorette and addressed what she believes many viewers will have to say about her hunt for a lifelong mate.
"Becoming the first black Bachelorette, I'll admit, I was excited but equally scared just being the first," the 32-year-old lawyer from Dallas, Texas revealed. "It was too great of an opportunity, not only to get what I really want for myself, what I felt is missing, but then also to make history. I'm very humbled and honored at the experience to be the first. And then to get what I want for myself too."
Lindsay shares that even though she had fears about being different from the standard Bachelorette, she simply had to ask herself: How would she feel if she was too timid to pursue her own ideal of love and happiness?
"It's scary because you are the first," she added. "You're setting the standard. All eyes are on you to either do it right or make a mistake. It's not just pressure from America. I'm gonna get pressure from Black America too. They're gonna be watching to see what I do and how I do it. That is scary, but at the same time it is exciting. Imagine if I didn't do it. If I turned down the opportunity because I was scared. I'm not a people-pleaser, but I still didn't want to disappoint anyone."
Rather than focusing on whether or not she will disappoint viewers, the University of Texas Alumna said she'd rather place emphasis on delighting her own heart.
"At the end of the day, I had to accept that this is my quest," she adds. "This is my journey. This is something I want for myself. Everybody's going to have an opinion [and] be different. I just have to focus on what it is that I really want for myself and what's goning to make myself happy. For the first time in a long time, I had to be selfish in the decisions that I was making when it comes to finding love."
And with an extremely diverse pool of contestants to choose from, Lindsay adds that shes's happy that the men vying for her affections are not a monolith, in fact, she welcomes the range of ethinicities cat for this season of the show.
"Typically, if I went through my dating history, it's been later in life that I've been more open to interracial dating," she shared. "That's also just because I've had more of an opportunity to do that. I really mean it when I say I understand I'm the first black Bachelorette. I'm so honored to have this platform to represent myself as a Black woman. But my journey for love isn't any different just because I am Black. Or just because the color of my skin is different than the typical Bachelorette."
It's no different indeed.
Be sure to tune into The Bacherolette to see Rachel meet the man of her dreams when the show airs on Monday's on ABC at 9 p.m.
And in case you're wondering, yes, she is engaged!
"I'm very happy with the way things turned out," she told us. "I wouldn't change a thing. I am happily engaged."
To meet the lucky guy, you'll just have to watch and see.