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‘The Bachelorette’ Jenn Tran Aims to Inspire as First Asian-American Lead

“The Bachelorette” star Jenn Tran is breaking new ground as the franchise’s first Asian-American lead. She aspires for her season to be a catalyst for “opening hearts and minds.”

“You’ll be seeing my mom and I speak Vietnamese on screen, and that’s never happened before,” Tran told TheWrap about the ABC reality show’s 21st season. “I have a lot of conversations with these men about race, religion and what my culture means to me.”

Tran’s casting this spring was met with mixed reactions, reflecting the broader issue of racism within the “Bachelor” franchise, something its executive producers recently addressed in an LA Times interview. For Tran, representation is essential for progress.

“People are afraid of things that are different [than them] and if they’re not exposed to things that are different than them, that’s where this hate comes from,” she said. “I’m hoping that over time, with more exposure and representation, that people will be able to continue to open their hearts and their minds.”

While Tran immediately recognized her casting would be a historic moment, she also felt the pressure of representing her culture. She admitted she was initially “in [her] head about it” and felt a need to please everyone.

“That’s not really realistic — I’m not gonna make everybody happy,” she acknowledged. “At the end of the day, I realized I just needed to be myself and showcase both my cultures. Make myself proud, my family proud, and everyone else proud just by being my most authentic self.”

As a new face of the “Bachelor” franchise, the 26-year-old hopes her role will inspire others to take on pioneering roles in their lives. “Representation matters,” she emphasized, “and the more representation, the better. I know that me being in this role right now is a step in the right direction.”

Tran was announced as “The Bachelorette” during the “The Bachelor” Season 28 finale in late March, and her season went into production just days later. This swift transition helped her avoid social media reactions as she began courting 25 men.

“I was announced and I went right into filming, and I think that was good for me because I didn’t have my phone all the time,” Tran explained. “It was good to not have my mind clouded from everything that was going on. It was good that I just went immediately into filming because I was so excited about it all and I stuck true to myself.”

By the time the first night rolled around, Tran felt some nerves but was mostly eager to meet her suitors. “It was so easy to talk to everybody because they were so genuinely interested in being there for me and being intentional in conversations,” she said. “I just felt that everyone was so genuine that it wasn’t hard to form little connections here and there and just kind of really get to know the guys.”

“The Bachelorette” premieres Monday, July 8 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Source: TheWrap, LA Times