'The Bachelorette': Charity Lawson Says She's 'Definitely Smitten' After Meeting Her Men (Exclusive)
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Charity Lawson is already smitten after one night as the Bachelorette! ET's Denny Directo spoke with season 20's leading lady after she met the men vying for her heart, and it's safe to say that Charity's journey for love is off to a great start.
"It was a good one," Charity told ET of night one, when her suitors made their limo entrances. "I'm a little giddy. Definitely smitten. I have a good batch of boys... I was laughing the whole night."
While Charity, 27, admitted that she "came in with little alarms wanting to go off," she said that her nerves are "easing their way out" after meeting her men.
"It was worth it," she said of conquering her fears and moving forward with her journey.
That journey is one Charity learned she'd be embarking on after the taping of Bachelor Zach Shallcross' "Women Tell All" special.
"I had no idea that it was going to be me. I was totally shocked," she said of when franchise host Jesse Palmer told her the news. "... I'm so grateful and so fortunate to be here."
One reason Charity is so grateful for the job is because of the "huge" way she's making history as the fourth Black Bachelorette.
"When I was told that I was going to be the next Bachelorette, that was one of the first things that I immediately thought of," she said. "To step into this role as the fourth woman of color and the second monoracial African American Bachelorette, it's huge."
"I recognize that, although it is my journey, it's so much bigger than me, because I'm carrying along a whole community of people who are looking up [to me] and [I'm] representing that as well," Charity added. "[I'm] definitely not taking it for granted. I'm really excited and I'm very fortunate to be the fourth."
Immediately after landing the gig, Charity called her family -- first her parents and then her brother.
"He is literally, like, my best friend. He still is [protective]. He has his guards up about all of this, but I [know] that he's in my corner all the way," Charity said of her brother. "He left me with some fantastic advice and I'm gonna have him with me in spirit throughout this whole process."
As for what that advice was, Charity revealed that her brother told her "to stay alert with some bold personalities" as she works to "stay true to myself and trust my heart and my intuition."
Charity also got some words of wisdom from former Bachelorettes Michelle Young, Becca Kufrin and Kaitlyn Bristowe.
"Michelle, she is so supportive. She gave me great advice. Her experience was a good one, so I'm hoping to just kind of lean into what she offered for me," Charity said, before describing her conversations with Becca and Kaitlyn.
"I got an opportunity to talk to Becca Kufrin. She's great. And then also [I talked to] Kaitlyn Bristowe a little bit. Right before I was announced, she reached out to me, which was insane. I was like, 'Oh my goodness, Kaitlyn.' I was fangirling a little bit," she said. "They basically just told me... to stay true to myself... A lot of people watching me last season saw my empathy, my ability to connect with people, and I just plan on leading with that as I step into this role."
It's a role that Charity's ready to take on, as she's "already processed and worked through" her emotions from her breakup with Zach.
"I definitely am coming in here with an open mind, open heart, ready to fall back into love, hopefully," she said. "I took the time off to really work on myself and even be more prepared with what I'm looking for, so I definitely am ready."
Charity said she plans to continue to be open with her "emotions and how I express them," and is crossing her fingers that her men do the same.
"It's scary sometimes putting all of this out on the line for all to see, but the purpose and the goal is to ultimately find love," she said. "I think one way to get there is to be open and honest."
Other ways into Charity's heart are confidence in themselves and in what they want, good communication skills and a sense of humor. Basically, Charity said, "Someone who can let their walls down, be their true selves and hold nothing back." As for her biggest deal breaker, Charity said that's "dishonesty."
"I think that's cliché to say, but truly honesty is something that I value so much in friendships, relationships, all aspects of my life," she explained, "so whether it's a little white lie or a big one, I'm not playing that."
While a ring on her finger and a walk down the aisle are Charity's main goals going into her season, she has another big hope for her time as the Bachelorette.
"I just want to continue to grow as a person," she told ET. "I know this role is going to challenge me... so hopefully [I'm able] to continue to grow as a person and just trust my heart."
Season 20 of The Bachelorette will premiere on ABC later this year.
'The Bachelorette': Charity Lawson Announced as Season 20 Lead
Bachelor Zach Explains 'Impossible Decision' to Breakup With Charity