"It is so surreal. I'm so excited. This is really fun," the 24-year-old pageant queen, who recently moved to Los Angeles, told ET's Lauren Zima. "To think about my life a year ago to now, I'm completely different. Life is crazy, but I'm really, really blessed."
Brown admitted that putting on dance shoes and testing her ballroom skills for the first time hasn't been an easy journey. In addition to physical pain (hello, blisters!), it's also brought back a lot of the insecurities she felt while competing in pageants since she was 15 years old.
"I had the biggest blisters I've ever seen, it hurt so bad," shared Brown, who held the Miss Alabama USA title in 2018. "Ballroom dancing is so articulate. Your hips have to be a certain way, legs have to be straight at one time and bent another. I am unfortunately a perfectionist at heart, so it's really hard to allow myself to not be good. I wanna just be good right off the bat, and that's not gonna happen."
"I'll be honest, this is actually putting me back to a space that is not really comfortable for the new Hannah Brown," she added. "I have grown so much and became a lot more self-assured and confident [since Bachelorette]. Going into this dance world is kind of sending me back into that pageant mind. I danced when I was younger, a lot of insecurities came from that. So being put back in that environment has really messed with my mind a little bit."
Brown continued on, telling ET that she's just been "working through" the struggles every day in hopes of winning that mirrorball trophy.
"All the experiences I've had the past year, that have been very strong, has made me a lot more resilient to get past that, but I definitely have had struggles these past few weeks of just having to bounce back when I'm like, 'Why can't I get this? I don't understand,'" she confessed. "And I think it's just really remembering where my worth comes from. I think that's maybe the [secret] sauce. And I'm just a little bit sassy, but sweet!"
The self-proclaimed "Hot Mess Express" also admitted that her partnerdefinitely has his work cut out for him this season.
"There's no other way," Brown replied when asked if Bachelorette fans will also see "hot mess" moments on DWTS. "Yeah. I mean, bless my partner's heart, he has to deal with 'The Beast' a lot ... I put people in their place where I probably shouldn't. Because I don't even know what I'm talking about [sometimes], but I think I do."
"My dance partner is really passionate, which means he's really tough on me. He's also really fun, too," she hinted. "I think everybody's going to want to sing along, dance along to my first dance on Dancing With the Stars. It's so fun. Really energetic and shows my personality. It's gonna be really good. It is an iconic song."
"I know the dance. I have it to music," she continued. "It is definitely not clean yet but I feel pretty confident. I feel like I could go out and dance it. Now, is it up to what I think I could be? No, but I still got some time."
Anyone who has competed on the show before knows that it's important to focus your energy on the choreography each week, while at the same time looking ahead to what's next so you're prepared for anything. And judging from our interview, it sounds like Brown already has that mirrorball-winning mentality!
She told ET that she will "probably" be showcasing some of the ups and downs she faced in her highly publicized relationships on this past season of The Bachelorette during DWTS' "Most Memorable Year" episode.
"I mean, it's a big part of my life," she shared. "That's how people know me and got to know me, but I really do hope that being on Dancing With the Stars you get to know more about me than just who I've dated and about love in that way. Really what has made me."
While Brown is ready to show America a whole new side of her, she admitted that there are a few other cast members she's keeping tabs on. "Honestly, I think there's going to be a lot of competition," she said. "I think Ally [Brooke's] going to be really good, I think James [Van Der Beek] is going to be great. I watched Dawson's Creek with my babysitter when I wasn't supposed to, so I love James."
"And Kel [Mitchell], he's got some moves," she added. "'Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, can I have your order, please?' Yeah, I'm so obsessed. All That and Kenan & Kel were my thing when I was little."
Dancing With the Stars premieres Monday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. In the meantime, hear more from our interview with Brown in the video below.