Trista Sutter Opens Up About 'Hatred' She Faced Before 'The Bachelorette'
Trista Sutter (neé Rehn) launched the "Bachelorette" franchise in 2003, and being the first one meant paving the way for 15 women (and counting) after her. It also required facing the unknown and navigating uncharted territory — including cyberbullying.
Trista joined Rachel Lindsay and Becca Kufrin on a new episode of "Bachelor Happy Hour," and the three women discussed the big changes in the franchise over the last 17 years. It's no secret that social media plays a major role now, with some cast members walking out of the season with Instagram sponsorships and the like. Instagram may not have been around when "The Bachelorette" began, but there were other modes of communication that provided similar feedback.
During their conversation, Rachel asked Trista how she thinks the show has evolved the most, because she "knew the show different than we did."
Trista said, "There are so many nuances that are different and logistics and the way they do things. Obviously, social media is probably the biggest change since my season. I do have to say there were message boards, so on ABC.com they would put links to these message boards."
She likened these message boards to sites such as Reddit "where people start a thread and comment."
Trista shared, "You couldn’t directly message the person you were speaking about, but you could go off on whatever you thought. I was definitely criticized. There was a lot of press criticism slut-shaming me and saying, 'How are you going to be able to hold your character and not look like a slut?' and a lot of that rhetoric. The message boards were definitely not kind."
In terms of the current landscape, Trista said, "Social media has totally changed the game. People nowadays come on the show because they think they’re going to get Instagram famous and they’ll get tons of followers. That dilutes the reason why we did this show, and that’s to find love. That’s a sad occurrence to me, but that’s the way our culture is now."
Trista ended her thought on a more positive note, adding, "We have to hope there are people who are going to apply for the show who truly want to find love and not just fame."
Trista said, "The show is part of me. It’s my history. It’s the reason why I have my family."
She feels "protective" over the franchise because she views everyone as a part of the "Bachelor" family.
"I know people have joked and called me Fairy Godmother and I really do take those to heart. I was there in the beginning, and no, the plan wasn’t for me to be around for this long or the show to be around this long, but because this is how things have happened, I take ownership of it," she said. "I love this part of my story and who I am."
To hear what else Trista has to say about her time as the first Bachelorette, be sure to listen to the full "Bachelor Happy Hour" episode now!
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