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Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe explain how to mentor a Bachelorette

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This season of "The Bachelorette" is the first without Chris Harrison as host. Instead, two of the show's former leads, Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe, are serving as co-hosts for this season, which features 30-year-old Katie Thurston's search for love.

The Washington Post spoke with Tayshia and Kaitlyn over Zoom last week about their unique duties and other changes the show has made. The following interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Q: How are your roles as co-hosts be different from what Chris Harrison did?

Kaitlyn: I think it's so different. I don't even think you can compare the two.

Tayshia: For Katie, we're mentors. We were just standing by her side and helping her navigate through these waters of being the bachelorette, which are difficult waters to be in.

Kaitlyn: We were a shoulder to cry on, we were there to laugh. We're there to keep extra eyes on some of the guys. And it's definitely different because we've been in this position before.

Q: Having been there before — both as contestants and as leads — where do you plan to draw the line between giving Katie advice and letting her make up her own mind?

Kaitlyn: There were a couple of times I had to take a step back and realize that it was her journey and that she had to make these decisions for herself. I'm sure a lot of times we would've been like: "No, he needs to go." But if she has feelings for him, who are we to say that?

Tayshia: And she would come to us. I always said: "Let her come to us." So that way, she can tell us what's on her mind. We would always ask: "How are you feeling? What's stressing you out? What's going on?" We wouldn't overstep.

Q: Tayshia, during your season, former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay came to chat with you when you were down to your final two men. What did you talk about that maybe viewers didn't see? What was useful about having a former bachelorette help you out?

Tayshia: I know that when we got the phone call to co-host this season, all I could think about was: I wish I had mentors with me the whole time. Because having Rachel there for those few hours and being able to just rattle off the questions that I could come up with on the spot was so necessary, so immediate, and it made me feel better as the Bachelorette, that I wasn't going crazy.

Q: The Bachelor shows have been under a lot of criticism for a lack of diversity and how they've handled race recently. What sort of strides do you think the show has made and where do you think they could still improve?

Kaitlyn: They've made huge strides, in my opinion, over the last couple of years. But I think specifically to the last season, you do see more diversity. You see it on the camera and you see it behind the camera as well. Tayshia and I, sitting here and entering this world as two women, are part of that change.

Tayshia: Absolutely. From my experience, I have seen a lot of change even from the moment that I stepped into the franchise to what it is today. There's a lot of things that are happening, that you might not see overnight in front of your eyes.

Q: Will you two be co-hosting the fall season of "The Bachelorette," featuring Michelle Young?

Kaitlyn: We aren't sure yet. It would be fun. I think we saw the benefits of having people that have been in their shoes before, maybe even helped the lead kind of surrender and open up to what that process can be like for them.

Q: Do you have any new catchphrases you'd like to add to the show's script?

Tayshia: We're trying to figure them out, okay? Give us a minute.

Kaitlyn: We haven't said yet that it's "the most dramatic season" yet. Do we say it's the "most shocking season ever?" We need to work on that.

 

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