Former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay to speak at IMU

In her discussion titled ‘More Than a “Bachelorette”’ Rachel Lindsay looks to have authentic discussions with college students about her time on ‘The Bachelorette,’ and being in the public eye on Friday.



Jami Martin-Trainor, Arts Reporter

Rachel Lindsay has taken on many roles in her life — Bachelorette, sports attorney, author, podcast host, and media personality. All of these disciplines have led her to a passion for public speaking.

On Friday at 7:30 p.m., Lindsay will speak in the Main Lounge at the Iowa Memorial Union for a presentation sponsored by the University Lecture Committee. The presentation is first-come first-seated, with no ticket required.

When she was a student at the University of Texas at Austin, Lindsay was a member of her college’s African American Culture Committee. Through her time in charge of bringing in guest speakers to the organization, Lindsay noticed a lack of connection between herself and the people she would bring in. In an interview with The Daily Iowan, she said she hopes to amend that issue with her lecture at the UI.

“I felt like people were talking over me rather than talking to me,” Lindsay said. “I love going back and talking to college students, because I talk about what I wish I would have heard.”

Lindsay said her experiences compiled together are what make her perspective invaluable to college students. She said that college is a time of growth, which she knows a great deal about.

“A lot of times, we think that you have to do things a certain way to get a certain result and that’s so not true,” Lindsay said. “College is really a place you can figure that out as you’re getting so much more responsibility and freedom than you had prior to that. I love to talk from that perspective.”

Honesty is essential to Lindsay’s story. Though she learned a great deal about herself from her experiences on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, she said that her relationship with the franchise is love-hate.

In June 2021, Lindsay published an essay in the New York Magazine that addressed racism and tokenism in The Bachelor franchise. The piece came in response to a controversy over the winner of the 25th season of The Bachelor Rachael Kirkconnell attending a plantation-themed party in 2018.

Aastha Chandra, the student on the UI Lecture Committee who had pitched Lindsay’s visit, was originally inspired to invite her after reading her essay in the New York Magazine. Chandra said the article expanded her understanding of what a Bachelorette star could be.

“It was such a well written piece and I respected her even more for it,” Chandra said. “[The article] showed that people who are famous for being on things that are seen as shallow have really deep thoughts and have a lot of different perspectives that I think they could share with the University of Iowa and Iowa City community.”

Benton Renaud, a UI Lecture Committee member on the planning team, said he looks forward to further expanding into the world of pop culture with future lectures at the UI.

“I really liked the idea of having the lecture committee focus on more of a pop-culture event,” Renaud said. “I’m really excited to see the draw that this will bring and hopefully a different avenue that the University of Iowa Lecture Committee can continue to go down.”

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Lindsay hopes to have genuine conversations about her work with students. She said she is not afraid to shy away from difficult questions, and is willing to answer with authenticity and truth. The lecture relies on a question-and-answer format to ensure this happens.

Reality television tends to present an altered view of reality. Through these discussions, Lindsay wants to connect to the people who have watched The Bachelorette and listened to her podcast to see her real personality, without the rose-colored glasses that the media provides.

“These types of lectures really give a more intimate experience where I can connect with the people — with students — about career and life and love and just kind of everything in between,” Lindsay said. “I kind of strip away, you know, the TV personality and really talk to them as Rachel Lindsay.”

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While the lecture is reliant on what questions that attendees ask, Lindsay does have goals regarding what message she wants the students to take away.

Much of Lindsay’s life has been in the public eye, and that experiences comes with gaining knowledge on media culture. Lindsay said she wants students to walk away with the knowledge that they do not have to conform to any preconceived notions, and that they get to determine what paths they take.

“We currently live in a society where we constantly look for validation from other people… we are constantly in the state of comparing ourselves to people, thinking that what we’re doing isn’t enough or we can’t do it, and that’s so not true,” Lindsay said. “I do want to have the message of believing in yourself, and trusting in yourself, and knowing that you can do anything.”