'The Bachelorette': Gabby & Rachel Talk Low Points of Their Journey, Reveal If They're Happy Today (Exclusive)
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Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia's journey for love wasn't always easy. ET's Lauren Zima spoke with The Bachelorette's leading ladies on Tuesday, and they revealed that, while filming their season, they had their biggest moments of self-doubt at the same time.
The season preview, which aired at the end of Monday's premiere, teased the tumultuous journey to come, with one of the ladies expressing, "I’m such a failure as a Bachelorette. I don’t want to do this anymore. I would rather be alone. I’m not ready. Why did they pick me to do this?"
That feeling, Rachel told ET, was something she felt at some point during "every single episode."
"Ups and downs of the whole journey are so crazy. It's never linear. It's great and it's bad. It’s like you’re going back and forth every single day," she said. "It’s a struggle, but it’s worth it."
Gabby, meanwhile, said that her most self-doubt-filled moment happened "really early" on.
"It was probably [to do] with the new format and just wondering how we're gonna do this and if it's actually working," she said of the franchise having two season-long leads for the first time ever. "It's pretty overwhelming. There's a lot of responsibility that comes with it. You wanna kind of take care of these men."
To combat those feelings, Gabby "had to do so much self-reflection."
"[I questioned,] 'Am I being vulnerable enough? Do I have enough confidence? Am I letting myself get into my head? What’s holding me back?' [I was] just constantly reassessing myself and [asking,] 'How I can be better?'" she shared. "In order to fall in love in a pretty short amount of time you have to shed all of your layers."
Throughout all of those ups and downs, Gabby and Rachel leaned on each other, even as some of those emotions stemmed from having a suitor like one of them more than the other.
"It's what’s expected," Gabby said. "It is the logistics of navigating two Bachelorettes. We are different, and we have so many different strengths and weaknesses."
"We knew going in it was going to be a mutual decision. Me and Gabby can pick whoever we want, but it needs to be a [mutual] decision," Rachel added. "... They could've gone in thinking they were going to connect with one and then connect with the other, so we just wanted to be open to exploring all the connections."
The potential for drama also arose when the women were attracted to some of the same guys.
"There are 32 really good-looking men, of course we are gonna think some of the same guys are attractive," Rachel said. "... For us, the really big thing was open communication. We knew that there was gonna be a point where we'd have to talk and make big decisions, so people are gonna watch us figure out in real time what to do and what decisions are gonna be made."
"I feel like we are also very different, and I think we naturally gravitate towards different guys," Gabby noted. "Of course there’s gonna be some overlap... but I think we just are looking for two different things."
As for what they're looking for in a mate, Rachel said that both she and Gabby "wanted someone that was loyal and supportive, but someone who could laugh with us as well," noting, "I think we're just really looking for personality and seeing who we connect with."
"Along the same lines, some kind of emotional intelligence. Have you tried to get to know yourself? Who are you in a relationship?" Gabby added. "Humor is big. I love to be into it, love to talk s**t, so I need somebody who can match that. And someone, honestly, who's at a point in their life that they're ready to commit."
Both of the women made positive night one connections with several men, but ultimately landed on one lucky guy for their first impression rose. For Rachel, that man was Tino, a general contractor.
"Right off the bat, I felt a connection with him," she told ET. "He was my type and he brought me to the stairs, which was a big moment on last season for me, crying on the stairs. I just thought it was a fun little moment, and then we did have a kiss. It just felt like the right decision, even though it was hard."
Meanwhile, Gabby opted to hand her first rose out to Mario, a personal trainer.
"What I've learned most about myself in dating is that now I'm ready, more than ever, to be with someone. Half the battle is finding someone that's ready to commit or in a similar part in their life. The way Mario led the conversation, I knew that he was there to truly try and meet his partner," Gabby explained of her decision. "That was just so big for me, especially in the moment. And then when he kissed me, [it] just sealed the deal."
As their season continues, Gabby said viewers will see "a lot of trial and error" while she and Rachel try to figure out how to date the same guys.
"You will see two separate love stories and two journeys 'cause we can’t get engaged to the same man," Gabby quipped. "... Both of our journeys are going to be very different, the way we love people is different, the way we are is just different, so I feel like it is just going to be kind of two separate journeys. I think it will be fun for people to watch."
Rachel added that, even with all of the "drama" and "tears" to come, the experience was worth it in the end.
"We were making mistakes. Everyone was making mistakes. It’s a first time around. But we just learned through it and things just happen the way that they needed. We're really happy," she said. "... I think we both just really trusted how we were feeling and really just went with it."
Above all, Gabby noted, she and Rachel were "just so lucky to have each other."
"It was one type of support going through the process together, and then a whole other [type of support] watching it back and going through all these new experiences," she said, with Rachel adding that she and her co-lead "have a really good bond."
The Bachelorette airs Mondays on ABC. Keep up with the historic season by following along with ET's coverage of the series.
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