Jenn Tran of ‘The Bachelorette’ Teases Finale Plot Twist: ‘My Family Won’t See It Coming’

Jenn Tran’s inaugural episode of The Bachelorette has all the calling cards the beloved reality dating show is known for: hot men, dramatic entrances, fiery first connections, and of course, the season’s lead heroine to juggle it all. Tran, the first Asian American bachelorette in franchise history, breezes through every introduction with all the poise, beauty, and charm that made her a fan favorite last season on The Bachelor—but this time, she’s distinctly the main character in her own love story.

Throughout the episode, you can see Tran realize this in real time. She expresses her excitement and reveals her nerves as she greets each of the 25 male contestants, always punctuated by a cheerful “I feel like I’m on cloud nine!” and “I feel like I’m living in a little dream!” before it culminates into a tearful confessional by the end of the episode. After an evening of being wooed, Tran delivers perhaps the most candid display of honesty ever shared on the show, admitting that she has struggled to fully accept her leading role.

“It was really hard for me to believe I was everyone’s first choice,” she says in the scene. “I felt like I was in somebody else’s shoes.”

It’s a sentiment many Asian American women, including me, can relate to, and watching Tran admit this in such plain words is equally heartbreaking and inspiring. We have always been relegated to the sidekick or best friend—never the main character. Tran’s starring role is a forceful refutation of this perception.

“I took it one day at a time, and I really tried so hard to be my most authentic self,” Tran tells me about overcoming her imposter syndrome. On Zoom, the studio lighting hits her long hair and soft glam makeup perfectly; a team of publicists join in on mute and her background is set to the franchises signature free-falling rose petals. Make no mistake: She is very much The Bachelorette.

“For me, it was about having a voice and letting these men know who I am, and what are my needs,” she continues. “I had to voice all of that to them, and I was learning more and more every day, Okay, they’re accepting me for me and they’re beginning to love me for me. So it was really just me taking it one day at a time, but also finding confidence within myself to speak up.”

Tran recognizes the importance of her position but views the pressure as a privilege. Raised by Vietnamese immigrants in New Jersey, she’s using her Asian American identity as motivation.

“Any time anyone comes up to me and they’re like, ‘I’ve been waiting for this moment…’ I know how much it means, because growing up, it’s hard when you don’t have any representation,” she says. “It’s like, Okay, I’m doing this for a reason, and everybody understands how I’m feeling and I understand how you’re feeling.”

It’s safe to say Tran is now thriving in her role and even seems to have gotten her own happy ending—but not without a twist. “The whole journey happened in a way that needed to happen, and I’m very happy with the way that things ended,” she teases at the finale. “It’s definitely an ending that I didn’t see coming for myself. My family won’t see it coming, and I don’t think the viewers will see it coming too. I’m excited for it all to unfold.”

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