‘The Bachelorette’ Jenn Tran Unpacks Emotional Premiere and First Impression Rose Pick: ‘I’ve Never Been Pursued in That Way’

The ABC reality show’s leading lady also tells TheWrap why she saved her first kiss of the evening for the right moment

Jenn-Tran-The-Bachelorette
Jenn Tran on Night 1 of "The Bachelorette" Season 21 (Credit: Disney/John Fleenor)

Note: This story contains spoilers from “The Bachelorette” Season 21 premiere.

“The Bachelorette” Jenn Tran wanted to be “wowed” by the 25 men courting her, and luckily her eager suitors pulled out all the stops for their Night 1 arrivals at the “Bachelor” mansion.

“I just wanted to see them put in the effort, whether that was the limo entrance or something they wanted to bring to me from home or being intentional with conversations,” Tran told TheWrap. “I just really wanted to be wowed with intention and effort.”

From an armful of puppies to consuming a hot pepper, the men whipped out creative and personalized first impressions, including Hakeem, whose “Up”-inspired balloon stood out to Tran. She said the gesture was “really nostalgic” and provided a “comforting feeling.” One of the most striking entrances was Jonathon, who showed up scantily clad in a hospital gown and face bandages, which he eventually took off to reveal his face during his chat with Tran.

“That left an impression for sure — I would not have the balls to go pantsless on my first impression, but good for him,” Tran said, adding his approach “shows so much about his personality.” “He also had his face wrapped, so it was like a whole thing. I really think that his personality shined that night.”

When it came time to hand out her first impression rose, the leading lady leaned on the comfort given to her by Sam M., a 27-year-old general contractor from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, who brought all the Southern charm.

“I really just kept thinking back to someone who was going to make me feel comfortable and someone who I thought conversation was really easy with,” Tran said. “The whole night, I just kept thinking back to Sam and [thinking] there’s definitely potential here.”

Tran also broke tradition from previous “Bachelor” franchise leads and kept her first and only kiss of the night reserved for her first impression rose pick, which she recalls as not an intentional choice, but it was what felt right in the moment.

“It takes me a lot to get to that level to want to kiss somebody because kissing is one of the most intimate things you can do with somebody — I knew that it wasn’t going to be everybody off the bat for me, that’s just kind of how I take physicality,” she said. “I was conscious of it, but I didn’t go into it with a quota … I really just followed my gut the whole night.”

By the end of the night, Tran felt overcome with emotions while reflecting on the effort shown by her suitors, which she said stands in steep contrast to how she’s been treated in her past relationships: “It really just made me feel so special and lucky because I just haven’t had that feeling before.”

“My whole life that [I] never really felt chosen … I’ve never been pursued in that way,” Tran said. “Even in my previous relationships, I’ve never felt like people have tried to go above and beyond for me, so the fact that so many people went above and beyond for me that night really warms my heart.”

After having introductory conversations with her suitors during Night 1, Tran recalled her strategy for the early weeks of “The Bachelorette” as keeping an eye on which men were most “intentional” with their time together, as well as who had foundational qualities with which she could build a lasting partnership. “Banter is one thing but also really getting to the nitty gritty of knowing somebody is another.”

She also used her one-on-one dates carefully, either to dig deeper into connections in which she saw potential or as “make-or-break” experiences further into the season.

“On those one-on-one dates, you learn so much, you spend so much time with them, and you know that during the course of the date, that relationship can just soar on so many levels,” Tran said. “I picked guys who maybe I was like, ‘There was a lot of potential here but I just don’t know,’ and then later on I also picked guys who I thought could be on the edge and was like, ‘This could be a make or break date and … I have questions and I just need to figure it out.’”

New episodes of “The Bachelorette” air Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and stream the next day on Hulu.

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