After a challenging night of competition on this week's Dancing With the Stars, Hannah Brown is opening up about the critical feedback she received from the judges following her performance with partner Alan Bersten.
The former Bachelorette startook to Instagram on Tuesday where she shared a slideshow of snapshots -- including a photo of her and Bersten from the Halloween-themed episode of DWTS, decked out as a zombie beauty queen and a 1950s-era nerd, as well as several photos from their rehearsals during the previous week.
"This experience has been harder than I could have ever imagined," Brown, 25, wrote in the caption. "When I decided to do DWTS I thought it would be a fun way to channel all my energy after a whirlwind experience as the Bachelorette. I was hopeful that the confidence I gained this year to take pride in the woman I have become would have the opportunity to shine, and I’d feel that reboot in my spirit after it took a bit of a beating after my Bachelorette season."
"I came into this experience a little broken and confused—more than I’ve shared," she revealed. "Everyday has brought its challenges with my past, my fears, and the uncomfortableness of opening myself up again to be judged on something VERY scary like learning a new skill to perform each week."
On Monday, Brown and Bersten delivered a fun, flashy jazz routine to Donna Summer's "Bad Girls," which wowed head judge Len Goodman, but received comparably lackluster scores from Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli, who criticized Brown for seemingly holding back when it came to really showing her full personality in her performance.
Later, following her team dance, Inaba told Brown that, this time around, she did feel her confidence shine through.
Brown teared up at the remark, telling the judges, "I'm not a performer or actor… I was a girl on reality TV. Every time I come out here I'm just trying my best."
In her caption, Brown shared, "Last night was really defeating for me and a lot of suppressed emotions started to surface from this amazing, but grueling experience. I want to be me. I want to be real. I feel my best when I feel like I have the opportunity to share my heart with others."
"But I know that’s been lacking in what has been seen on DWTS. It’s true there is a disconnect," she continued. "I am busting my ass. I am giving this my all. It’s my focus and passion right now. But each week I fall flat. I’ve gotten to the point of being so anxious before I perform that I can’t completely enjoy it like I wish and know I could. I KNOW I have a lot more I can give. I want to be able to feel free and confident to dance with my whole heart. I’m working on getting there."
Brown added that she isn't trying to throw "a pity party," but rather express her "real emotions" regarding the challenges she has faced during her time on DWTS.
"It’s okay to be grateful and positive, while also acknowledging the hard days we all have. It’s so important to think positively, but it’s also important to acknowledge and feel all the feels," Brown wrote. "This pressure to pretend is not good for anyone. That’s how this crazy cycle of perfectionism continues to exist in a lot of us."
She concluded her candid caption with a message of gratitude for her fans, writing, "I'm blown away by the support I see and feel from all of you who love me through it all. So thank you— here’s to another opportunity to grow. See y’all next Monday!"
"I know this doesn’t come easy to you, but you impress me every single day, when you go out there and you give it 100% I am so proud of you," he added. "I just wanted to say thank you, thank you for being an incredible teammate. Thank you for always leaving your heart on the floor, and thank you for trusting me on this journey. You not only inspire me, but you inspire everyone that comes across your infectious attitude!"
For more on the pair's impressive DWTS connection, check out the video below.