You opened up to Chris Harrison about pressures you’ve felt in the past to date a certain kind of woman. Can you talk about those pressures, and whether you can really move past them, especially when you’re dating on national TV?
My parents’ dynamic kind of paved the way for how I’ve gone about dating, for better or worse. My dad being Black and from Nigeria and my mom, her parents being from Italy, it wasn’t something that I ever saw. I was attracted to somebody for their character traits, for how they made me feel, for what we experienced together, and less of what they looked like. It was more about their heart. Explaining that to [viewers] is difficult since not a lot of people have grown up in my experience, so the only way to do it is to live it out and try to normalize [my experience]. The further I got into the process and my relationship with these women, the less concerned I became with pleasing everybody because someone is always going to have something to say. All I can do is represent myself and my family and how I was raised. That’s what I did, and I hope that story resonates with somebody.
We see you break down in the previews. What leads to that moment? Is it the pressure of being the bachelor? Or one woman in particular?
I try to focus on being as real as possible. For that to happen, I had to address things in my life that I had run from, like conversations, people, topics, etc. Having those conversations brought me to tears because it was a very dark, emotional place that I chose not to tap into prior because I didn’t feel like I had to. But now, knowing [I wanted to fall in love], I knew I had to tap into that place to experience this breakthrough. That’s what you saw there.
Let’s look ahead to the finale. How would describe what happens in the end?
It’s authentic, it’s real. Hopefully that’s what you’ll see, and that’s what I try to hang my hat on all season.
Are you happy?
Do I look happy?
Well, you look a little cold right now because you’re bundled up. And you’re good at making me think that I don’t know what to think. [Laughs]
If you take anything from my season, it’s authenticity. It’s hard for me to fake the realness. But I am happy.
OK, good. By the way, now that we all know you were in chess club, what else would we be surprised to know?
I love skateboarding, snowboarding, anything action oriented. I’m a thrill seeker, so when I’m not doing something with the kids at ABC Food Tours or working, I’m probably at a skate park or planning something outdoors.