Jenn Tran Wants to Reshape the Future of ‘The Bachelorette’

jenn tran the bachelorette
Jenn Tran Wants to Reshape ‘The Bachelorette’Disney/Ramona Rosales

It's officially Jenn Tran's world—we're just living in it! And honestly, that's more than okay. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ After all, the season 21 Bachelorette lead's love story is about to unfold in T-minus 6 days, meaning (1) Bachelor Mondays are almost officially back (bless), and (2) 25 boys—not to mention the entire world—are about to become obsessed with her.

Between driving race cars in her season promo and guest starring on Alex Cooper's forever iconic Call Her Daddy podcast, to say Jen's been booked and busy is an understatement. Squeeze in keeping the end of her highly-anticipated season a secret—a full-time job in and of itself, TYVM—and you could say her plate is fuller than most.

Even so, the physician assistant student took a sec to speak with Cosmopolitan about her journey as the newest Bachelorette lead, from a literal play-by-play of what filming limo entrances was like, to how she feels about being the first Asian-American woman to helm the series, to the boating accident that changed her life, and the dream person she'd love to watch her season (hint: they are currently on a h-u-g-e world tour we're all living vicariously through in Instagram Lives).

jenn tran the bachelorette
Disney/Ramona Rosales

Watch Jenn begin her journey on 'The Bachelorette' on Monday, July 8 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC (streaming the next day on Hulu).

First off, a huge congrats on becoming the newest Bachelorette! What was it like when you got the call with the news?

Thank you so much! When I got the call I was honestly overwhelmed. And it was still a decision at the time—I wasn't sure [I'd accept] yet. I was still struggling with, Do I really want everything that being the Bachelorette entails?

As much as I did want to find my person and I did want to find love, it was like, did I want everything else that it encompassed? So it was a careful decision on my part, but I'm so happy that I took it.

What initially prompted you to sign up for Joey Graziadei's season of The Bachelor and what then prompted you to say yes to The Bachelorette?

So funny enough, I got an Instagram DM for The Bachelor. I thought it was a joke, but I did the interviews anyway. At the time, I was in PA school, so I was kind of like, I'm not going to go. I'm just going to see what it's all about. It's fun to do an interview.

Eventually, I got the call that they wanted me and I still wasn't sure. But then I got into a boating accident with my friends. Luckily everyone turned out okay, but it's funny because that incident really propelled me into the Bachelor world because I thought to myself, Oh, I almost died, and I don't really want to die without finding love because I am a hopeless romantic.

That was a springboard and led to me ultimately feeling like, Okay, I'm going to take this and I'm going to be on The Bachelor. And then with The Bachelorette, after I came off of Joey's season, it didn't end the way I wanted it to, obviously, but I still wanted to find love and find my person. I knew how real my feelings were and how fast connections had formed the first time around, so it was a matter of knowing this could work for me if I wanted it to. So yeah, I took it.

Who is your fave Bachelor or Bachelorette? Is there an alum of the show who has given you advice as you take up the mantle?

Before I went on The Bachelorette, I actually had a phone call with Michelle Young. I wanted to get her advice on what it's like to be a person of color in this position and was curious to know what she thought of her journey and if she felt like she did the right thing. I wanted to hear from her experience, and it was nice to get some guidance from her. She really helped me make the decision for myself, which was helpful.

That's great to hear! You're also the first-ever Asian-American Bachelorette, which is an incredible distinction. What are your feelings about being "the first?"

First and foremost, I'm so grateful and so honored to hold this role, and I couldn't be more excited for people to really see my journey and my story. But obviously, I'm so overwhelmed with emotions. I think that the position also comes with a lot of pressure that maybe I put on myself to do what's right and to be a good role model. At the end of the day though, what it boils down to is that I just have to be the most myself I can be and tell my story as authentically as I can. I truly think that's the most important thing. And I can't wait for people to see not only that, but also see my bilingual family on TV, which is something we haven't seen before in this franchise.

I have no doubt fans are counting down the days to cheer you on on-screen. Would you take me back to day one of filming? I would love a play-by-play of what emotion featured most prominently for you. Was it nerves? Excitement?

During the day, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I guess I was just anxious to finally meet these guys. I had been anticipating this for so long at that point, so all I kept thinking was, I just want to meet them. And so going into that night, I was honestly excited more than I was nervous, but obviously as I was standing there and that first limo was pulling up, I was like, Oh God, what did I get myself into? *That's* when I did feel a little nervous. But then as time went on through those limo entrances, I felt more and more like I sunk into the role. I knew I was in the right place.

Is there anything you feel you would do differently if you could magically go back to night one of filming?

That's a good question! I honestly don't feel like I have any regrets. The whole journey and everything that happened worked out exactly the way it was supposed to happen. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect first night.

If you could describe your season in three words, what would they be?

Surprising, emotional, and adventurous!

The Bachelor franchises are so hugely popular and there are *a lot* of super fans, including a whole bunch of celebrities. In fact, we recently saw Kendall Jenner having a cute reunion with Gerry Turner from The Golden Bachelor. Is there anyone who you'd be psyched to find out was a fan of your season? We're trying to manifest a crossover here!

Oh my gosh, what a question! Well, obviously Taylor Swift. I'm a huge, huge Swiftie, so if I found out that she was watching the show in between rehearsing with Travis Kelce to go on stage then that would be so iconic and I would just die.

That's an iconic answer! If Miss Swift is watching, what are you hoping that she and other viewers take away from your Bachelorette season?

I'm hoping people take away the knowledge that they should embrace their differences. I grew up not seeing a lot of Asian representation on TV and because of that, I felt like I was having an identity crisis growing up just not knowing where I fit in the mold: Am I Vietnamese enough? Am I American enough? And who is Jenn in between all of that?

So I'm really excited for people to see how proud I am of my culture—of the mix of the two cultures I've come to learn make me authentically me. And not only that, but everything else that makes me different too. My parents are immigrants, and so I know there are a lot of immigrant people out there as well who haven't seen their story told. I want everyone to see themselves in my story in some way or another and to know that you should be proud of where you come from and who you are—and that you should be able to embrace those things.

Do you have any advice for future Bachelorettes out there? What do you wish you knew ahead of time before handing out your first rose?

I wish I was more confident in my uniqueness. I think throughout this journey, I was able to embrace every single thing that makes me so different, and that's what makes me so excited to see this journey come to life. I had a lot of difficult conversations that I hadn't had in previous relationships because I was so afraid of talking about certain topics or I didn't know how to talk about certain things. But it's taking that first step and being like, “Hey, this is important to me. What do you think?” I want future Bachelorettes to know that it's okay to talk about hard topics and to embrace everything that makes you unique.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

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