[This story contains spoilers for ABC’s The Bachelorette.]
Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey are handling a season of ABC’s The Bachelorette that is truly unique and provides its own thorny moments.
After both ending up heartbroken on Clayton Echard’s previous season of The Bachelor, Recchia and Windey were announced as co-Bachelorettes in a surprising format shift. The two leads both shared a pool of male contestants until last week, when they each had to decide which guys to invite as their own set of suitors. This has led to new challenges, as one guy, Logan Palmer, accepted a rose as a member of Recchia’s team but seems eager to move to Windey’s side.
Both Bachelorettes are aware of online criticism from fans about a level of competition that the two stars have been perceived as having fostered. “Gabby and I never are fighting, and we never make a decision without one or the other, early in the season,” Recchia tells The Hollywood Reporter during a joint interview with Windey. “And to hear all the criticism of [the men] pitting us against each other is just not how it was at all.”
During the below conversation, the Bachelorettes discuss a contestant calling Windey “rough around the edges,” Recchia feeling ignored during Windey’s recent group date, what’s in store for future episodes and why critics of this season are “missing the point.”
You’ve talked on the show about feeling like the guys have the power. Do you still feel that way?
Gabby Windey: I definitely think there was a little bit of a power exchange with having the two Bachelorettes, and the men taking it or doing what they can to make sure that they’re the ones, in fact, that are making the decision and that no decision is made for them, I guess, for lack of better words. It’s always an ebb and flow, but I feel like Rachel and I are doing our best to do what we think is right in the moment and stick together and just really come into our role. You see us being emotional a lot and doubting ourselves at times, but you have to go through that in order to overcome it.
Rachel, are you surprised by how upset you got during Gabby’s date this week?
Rachel Recchia: What people really don’t see was during the date, me and Gabby were fine. We were talking about what’s going on. This was just a struggle I was having internally. Emotions really aren’t something that anyone should be ashamed of. Both Gabby and I went through a little bit of a moment where we didn’t know if we felt seen and chosen by our group of guys. And it had been a while since I saw them. I did want a little bit of an acknowledgement from them, but overall, this was something I did after, in the privacy of my own room. I was really just trying to be honest with how I was feeling. I did go talk to the guys after, and they really did step it up, and they were so comforting and amazing the next day. It was definitely something you don’t wanna see — one of your lower moments — but it really helped me the next day with getting to know these guys better.
Rachel, we especially see you questioning your decision to go on this journey, and maybe there’s a tease of whether or not you’ll have a big decision to make about your future on the show. What was it like to grapple with that?
Recchia: People really are watching Gabby and I go through this for the first time, and we really are navigating this on our own. And there are really high, high moments and really low moments. Especially at this point in the journey for me, I was hitting multiple roadblocks in a row, and it was really disheartening. People are gonna watch me be in touch with my emotions and really have to go through the process of doubt, which is so normal for every single Bachelorette. But I hope that people really are able to see the highs that come after it.
That rose ceremony with the three rejections that you’ve talked about was tough to watch. Do you think that maybe there could have been a way for the format to have been different to not make you go through that?
Recchia: It is hard for both Gabby and I to experience rejection on our own season. I think that’s something that Bachelorettes in the past really didn’t have to deal with at the scale that we did. And it does hurt your feelings. But about the format, it really was all of us learning as we went. And that is what happened in the moment. Of course, it was really hard to go through — me that night and Gabby the night before — having to deal with those rejections, but it is what’s happening. People get to see that, and hopefully they know that we were just doing the best we could in the moment.
Gabby, what was your take on Hayden saying that the “rough around the edges” comment came from you?
Windey: We had conversations, and it was always around how he had never met a woman like me. And so I’m trying to relate, and I probably did, in a joking manner, say I’m rough around the edges. I’m OK to laugh at myself and say those things, but you can’t throw them back at me. That’s just common decency and social skills. But it was clear that he was acting from a place of insecurity and just wanted me to feel as low as him. Looking back, you can see it for what it is, but like Rachel was saying, it’s hard. We’re navigating this new scenario, and nobody’s been through it.
Were you aware that Logan was struggling with whose side he should be on?
Recchia: It’s really interesting to watch it all back. Of course, I wasn’t completely aware of the situation going on. I was just doing my best to make space for each one of my relationships. Logan is accepting my roses, so I do assume that he is there to pursue a relationship with me. Watching it is really hard, me apologizing to him for not getting a chance to talk when, meanwhile, he’s saying how he doesn’t wanna be there. It’s very disheartening, but he is just being honest in what he said, and that’s his truth.
In terms of the two-Bachelorette setup, is this how you were expecting it to be, and do you think that the producers might kind of continue to tinker with things, if they do this again, to get it right?
Windey: It was so nice to have somebody else, a true friend, go through it with you. Watching the criticism back and seeing it online, it’s not that surprising, but it’s almost like, “Oh, you guys are kind of missing the point.” We are giving the men a lot of attention and allowing them to make it about a competition. But if you pay attention to Rachel and I’s story, we’re really not. So it’s just the nuance of watching it back.
Recchia: Gabby and I never are fighting, and we never make a decision without one or the other, early in the season. And to hear all the criticism of them pitting us against each other is just not how it was at all. Like Gabby said, they really are missing the point of female friendship and us navigating this together and showing our real emotions. Hopefully, moving forward, they can see that a little bit more.
Clearly, fans really want you to find great partners after all you’ve been through. How will viewers feel about where things are headed?
Windey: You’ll get to see more of the love story now and less of the navigating two Bachelorettes. Because now we really get to foster our relationships and move towards the romance.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
ABC’s The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m.