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Why Gabi’s Bachelor Exit Interview Was SO Important

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCU chapter.

Once upon a time, the final rose on The Bachelor meant long-lasting love. Drama for the viewer yes, but ultimately a caring relationship that survived the whirlwind of a season. But before the bachelor himself gets down on one knee, he has to deal with “the other woman”.

SPOILERS, but I knew Kaity was going to win (yes, win, I know it’s taboo but the show is a competition at its core) from the moment she and Zach had their first one-on-one date in the museum. I turned to my roommate and said “He’s gonna marry that one. No doubt about it.”

I couldn’t tell you why, it was just a gut feeling, but if I knew that early on, Zach sure as hell knew earlier than the night before his messy proposal day. If I were in his shoes, Gabi would have been my girl in the end. She shared complicated emotions and insecurities, laughed freely, and supported Zach fully throughout the process. (P.S. This is NOT a Kaity hate thread. I love a fellow Ausinite, I just happened to be Team Gabi.)

But sweet Gabi had a gut feeling like the rest of us. During her and Zach’s final date, she shared with viewers that she knew Zach wasn’t going to pick her. Something in her stomach was off, and her tears rippled through the audience because we knew she was right.

The point is, EVERYONE KNEW, Zach included (my firm belief). The right thing to do at this stage in the process is to gently send the girl you don’t plan on proposing to home before she dresses up and walks through sand in heels and stands in front of you and the world ready to say yes. It’s the decent thing to do for her emotions and her dignity. It may not make for the best TV, but it makes for a better human being.

During the season, Gabi struggled with feeling like a second choice. Zach’s actions in the finale deepened her biggest fear by disrespecting her at the proposal site. In case you missed it, you can rewatch the clip below.

And while the conversation regarding what Zach should and shouldn’t have done and should and shouldn’t have said needs to be had (I mean come on, the Fantasy Suite debacle was a crime), this is about Gabi. What struck me hardest about this finale was the sheer severity of Gabi’s breakdown after Zach sent her home. Understandably, she was shattered. However, she was simultaneously consumed with doubt…

Gabi confesses feeling misunderstood, strung along, and unlovable in during the car ride. She questions why no one has ever given her the love she wants. Viewers familiar with Gabi know this scene was the culmination of her insecurities and fears, doubts that many women share alongside her.

It was heartbreaking to watch.

Now, there’s a reason I want to call attention to this particular moment and not the post-show interviews and it’s this; no woman’s worth should be so contingent on the wrongdoings of a man who didn’t deserve her in the end. Yes, Gabi knew what she was signing up for. She understood that it was TV, that her life would be subject to public viewership, and that her emotions would be on display for Bachelor Nation. But she also operated under the assumption that it would all be worth it because Zach would treat her kindly in return. She took a risk, a leap for love we all debate taking at one point or another in her life. In Gabi’s case, Zach didn’t catch her. He didn’t even cast a cushion in her path or throw a rope over the edge to help her climb out. Zach let Gabi leap, then he watched her fall before turning around a settling comfortably on his knee in front of Kaity.

Zach didn’t have to pick Gabi, that’s not the point. He needed to treat her like he loved her. He needed to talk to her before Gabi put on that now iconic yellow dress. He needed to grant her the honesty she deserved. Even though he was not going to choose her, he should have chosen to protect her emotions and her dignity before he protected the drama of the show, regardless of what the producers or editors wanted.

Dear Gabi, perhaps Zach misunderstood you, but everyone sitting at home saw you for the amazing, brave person you are. You were unafraid to speak candidly about how you were treated. You respected Kaity, Zach, and yourself with the poise of a princess.

Dear Gabi, you are not hard to love. You are not unlovable in the least. Quite ironically, we fell for you faster than Zach. One day, someone special will do the same, and you will never have to question whether you were the second choice or not.

Dear anyone who has felt an inkling of Gabi’s doubts, love will come. Anything that comes before simply serves as a reminder of what love is not. It reminds you to trust your gut, your intuition. All that precedes love prepares you for it. It makes you stronger, bolder, more beautiful. Your hardships make you even more worthy of love and happiness than your successes do. Gems are mined in the darkest of caverns, after all.

I think Gabi’s story and other Bachelor journeys like hers highlight the real harm that surfaces from (objectively enjoyable) reality TV. As long as people keep subjecting themselves to the show I plan to keep watching, but as viewers, we also need to recognize the negative impact we have on contestants’ self-esteem.

Build up women like Gabi! Be the support system they need after their experiences! And remember, if you see your insecurities reflected in them, help each other learn to take leaps in spite of them.

Gabi, will you accept our final rose??

Colleen Wyrick is President of the Her Campus at TCU chapter. She enjoys writing about current pop culture events, female empowerment, and her latest book/TV interest. She loves her role and connecting with new members! Colleen is an aspiring writer/editor/publisher/professor and is a junior (*sigh*) at Texas Christian University studying English and Communication. In addition to Her Campus, she contributes to academic publications for the English Department and works for TCU’s social media team. She is very passionate about books, Marvel, chocolate, soccer, and all things comfortable. You can find her doing anything and everything because she loves new adventures!