We already know that Rachel Lindsay’s journey to find love on The Bachelorette was a success, but how she got to her happily-ever-after is still a mystery, and it’s one that will start unfolding during Monday’s premiere. Lindsay, best known for her stint on Nick Viall’s season of The Bachelor, is a successful attorney and, according to executive producer Chris Harrison, “the epitome of what this show was created for.”
EW talked with Harrison ahead of the premiere to find out what viewers can expect from this season of The Bachelorette:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How does Rachel handle the pressures of being The Bachelorette?
CHRIS HARRISON: She’s very thoughtful, very meticulous, and very planned, and in a certain way, controlling. I think she likes to have control of her life and she’s very detail-oriented, and that is a tough mix to be The Bachelorette and be that type of person because The Bachelorette asks you to let go and allow yourself to be vulnerable and that’s not really what lawyers do. Everything she has learned, she needed to kind of throw out the window and that was very difficult for her. That’s what I think has held her up in the past is letting go and giving this a true shot. That was our goal this season.
How would you describe the men this season?
The house always takes the shape or the personality of the Bachelor or Bachelorette, and so with Rachel, it took the form of a little bit older, a little bit more professional, and a little more serious because that’s who she is. Those that didn’t fall into that kind of fell by the wayside because she’s looking for someone who’s not looking to just have fun. She wants somebody who’s serious. She’s a very accomplished woman and she’s tired of playing games. That’s why she wanted to be The Bachelorette. It’s a very diverse cast, but at the same time, very professional. It’s a very good group of guys and that’s not to say that we don’t have our drama and the backstabbing and the usual Bachelorette foreplay.
Is there a villain this season?
Yes, but not in the typical Bachelor/Bachelorette fashion where it’s one person who you’re going to key on. A few people get to wear the crown and it gets passed around several times. It’s also that kind of intriguing season where you’re not sure. It’s like a good movie where I’m not sure if I’m supposed to love this person or hate them. It’s very interesting. There’s some that are very obvious that aren’t there for the right reasons and that wear that hat very well but then as the show gets on, it was a very dynamic season and so you have to pay attention to who’s going to be the hero and who’s going to be the villain.
Will we see Rachel’s dad (who is a federal judge)?
Not on camera, no. With his job and what he does, he just can’t. He was a big part of the show but off-camera. It kind of changed things; we had to do some things in Dallas and kind of switch things around a little bit because he plays such a big part in her life and family’s such a big part — we wanted to include that even if we couldn’t show some of it on television.
With Rachel being the first black Bachelorette, was the topic of race more prevalent this season?
It was only more prevalent in the fact that we really made the effort to cast diversity, and to make sure we followed through with this. We tried to make it as diverse as it possibly could be and as it should be. But as far as making it a big deal, you’re going to hear it and we talk about it obviously because it’s the elephant in the room and it has been in the press. To us, it’s just The Bachelorette. It’s just Rachel. That’s how we all thought.
Anything else about the season?
It’s damn good. It’s damn good. There’s seasons where you just know: We’ve got a good show. It’s like Christmas morning as a dad when you get your kids something really cool and you can’t wait for them to open it. That’s how I feel for Bachelor Nation: I have this gift under the tree and I’m dying for everybody to just rip into it and see the look on their faces.
The Bachelorette premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.