‘The Bachelorette’ Jenn Tran Hopes to ‘Open Hearts and Minds’ as Franchise’s First Asian American Lead

“The Bachelorette” Jenn Tran is making history as the franchise’s first Asian American lead, and she’s hoping her season will “open hearts and minds.”

“You’ll be seeing my mom and I speak Vietnamese on screen, and that’s never happened before,” Tran told TheWrap of 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 selection as “The Bachelorette” this spring was met with “mixed” reactions, perhaps reflecting the pervasive racism within the “Bachelor” franchise, which the show’s EPs recently addressed in an LA Times interview. For Tran, who was first introduced on Joey Graziadei’s season of “The Bachelor,” representation is the only way forward.

“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,” Tran 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 knew “pretty immediately” her casting would be a “historic moment,” the weight of representation is not a light burden to carry. In fact, she admitted she was initially “in [her] head about it” and felt pressure to make everyone happy.

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

With the 26-year-old serving as one of the new faces of the “Bachelor” franchise, she hopes her casting inspires other people to take on trailblazing roles in their own lives.

“Representation matters … and the more representation, the better,” Tran added. “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 went into production on her season just days later, enabling her to bypass any social media response 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 Night 1 rolled around, Tran felt some nerves but “not that many” as she was mostly ready to get her flirt on and meet her eager 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,” Tran 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.

The post ‘The Bachelorette’ Jenn Tran Hopes to ‘Open Hearts and Minds’ as Franchise’s First Asian American Lead appeared first on TheWrap.