Why Kaitlyn Bristowe Says Hannah Brown's 'DWTS' Casting Was 'Long Overdue' (Exclusive)
Hannah Brown is the first Bachelorette in nearly 15 years to compete onDancing With the Stars -- and Kaitlyn Bristowe couldn't be more excited for her.
Brown's casting on season 28 of the ABC competition series was announced on Wednesday, making her the second female lead from the Bachelor franchise to appear on DWTS, following Trista Sutter's appearance on season one (she was eliminated first). Another female Bachelor contestant, Melissa Rycroft, placed third on season eight of DWTS in 2009, and later won the All-Stars season in 2015.
In an exclusive statement to ET, Bristowe -- who previously claimed she was shut out from competing on DWTS by Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss -- sent Brown her well wishes.
"I couldn't be more excited for Hannah Brown to compete this season on Dancing With the Stars. I've spoken out in the past about how Bachelorettes haven't gotten the same love as Bachelors when it comes to the chance to complete in the ballroom. The fact that it's finally happening again for a female franchise lead is long overdue," she said. "I will be watching, glass of wine in hand, and cheering her on."
Many male Bachelor stars (including Sean Lowe, Nick Viall, "Grocery Store" Joe Amabile, Chris Soules and Jake Pavelka) have competed on the show, while women seemingly haven't been extended the same invitation. In 2017, Bristowe publicly claimed that she was offered a contract for DWTS, but blocked by Fleiss, who "said he didn't want people wanting fame after his show."
"@kaitlynbristowe has my total support if she wants to appear on DWTS!!! #TheBachelor," Fleiss tweeted at the time.
"Thanks I'll get right on that opportunity 2 yrs ago," Bristowe replied, using the eye roll emoji. "I wonder what changed your mind?"
"I believe men and women should be afforded the same opportunities. I was told by Mike that it is bad for his brand and that he is sick of people wanting fame from his show," Bristowe elaborated to ET at the time, adding that she was told her then-fiance, Shawn Booth, should be her "only passion."
Bristowe, who recently launched her own wine line, Spade & Sparrows, will discuss Brown's DWTS casting more on the next episode of her podcast, Off the Vine, premiering Tuesday with guest Jillian Harris.
While speaking with ET after the DWTS announcement on Wednesday, Brown (who ended her season of The Bachelorette single) said she was looking forward to focusing on something other than her love life.
"I am so excited about this to continue sharing my life with America, but in a different way and that's through dance," she shared. "So, being very vulnerable and sharing my story that doesn't have to involve a man."
"I think I was put into this position for some reason and I think people need to see people with this platform being really authentic and real and showing real emotions. And I don't know how to be anything other than that. And so I'm OK with it," Brown added. "If I'm gonna... have these opportunities I might as well use them to share something in common with the rest of the world and people. And that's just some days being happy, and some days being sad, and having all the in-between, and making people feel like that's OK to be."
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