When Brayden Bowers showed up to Mexico (with 34 pairs of earrings, he confirmed to Us), he was looking for one thing: someone to love him for who he is.
“It felt really good. A lot of times people kind of try to dim me down,” Brayden explained of how “accepting” Kat was. “I feel like when they meet me, they’re like, ‘Oh, we got to change this about you. I don’t know if this is going to work.’ I mean, that’s kind of what I ran into with Kylee [Russell]. She’s like, ‘Maybe not the dangly earrings, maybe some studs or something like that.’ And so when Kat kind of just was like, ‘No, I love your look. I wouldn’t want to change anything.’ It kind of just made me feel good because, you want someone that just doesn’t want to change you.”
During a separate interview with Us, Kat praised Brayden’s “very eccentric personality,” which she believes is similar to her own vibe.
“I think his, overall, just aura was very appealing and it drew me to him. I saw us having a lot of fun together and kind of just wanted to see where that went. He’s fun to be around,” she said, adding that Charity’s season of The Bachelorette hadn’t aired yet when they met.
While things between Brayden and Kat got hot and heavy quickly, Kat admitted during Hannah Brown‘s bonfire on the October 5 episode that she was waiting for Tyler Norris and Tanner Courtad to arrive in Paradise. When asked the same question on the episode, Brayden said he only had eyes for Kat.
“I’m the type of guy [that] when I make a decision to get to know somebody, I’m kind of committed to one person. I don’t do well with dating multiple people at once. And I think that that was one of the things that was hard about Paradise — the aspect of dating multiple people at once, because it’s just, like, how do you truly get to know someone when you’re getting to know five other people?” Brayden told Us. “And so for me, it was like, ‘I liked Kat. I knew I liked her.’ I knew I had a connection and I was going to ride that road until it ended … or until it ends.”
In the trailer for the Thursday, October 12, episode of BiP, both Tyler and Tanner officially arrive — and Kat appears to accept a date from the latter.
“I know that Paradise is really open and doesn’t have rules, but for me, I have my own rules and I think that’s kind of more so just what I followed,” Brayden teased to Us of his reaction to Kat going out with someone else. “I can’t hold other people to that, but that’s what I hold myself to.”
Kat, for her part, told Us that there is “no strategy in Paradise,” but she wanted to trust her gut and intuition.
“[Tyler and Tanner] would definitely be guys that I would go for in the real world. So that was kind of the appealing factor. But at the end of the day, you still never know who people are. You just have an idea,” she said before insisting, “I was always open to seeing where my emotions and energy took me.”
While Brayden told Us that he has “no animosity” toward Kat, their recent social media activity begs to differ. After Kat tweeted, “You would think … for someone who is obsessed with my every move would’ve taken some pointers on how to have some class,” earlier this month, Brayden replied: “Your PR person told me to let you know you should take this down … doesn’t match the look you’re going for.”
When asked about the drama, Kat told Us to “ask Brayden because I have no idea” — and when Us did just that, he replied: “It was just me looking out for a fellow cast member. It was just all in good fun. Just teamwork makes the dream work.”
Despite things clearly ending with Kat on the beach, Brayden will seemingly pursue Rachel Recchia in future episodes.
“Rachel, first of all, is an absolutely beautiful woman,” he told Us of the season 19 co-Bachelorette. “She is carefree and fun, and she’s super intelligent. I mean she’s a freaking pilot. That’s pretty freaking cool. There’s a lot of things about her that [are] really amazing. And so I think the better question would be instead of what are the good traits about her, what are some of the bad traits that wouldn’t make you date her? Because I feel like those are very few. So she’s a great girl.”
As for how his journey ends? Brayden told Us: “You’re going to see a lot of hot and sweaty rose ceremonies, like, the one you just saw. It was terrible. And you’ll see me sweating over some other things too. So it’s definitely going to be a wild ride.”
Kat, meanwhile, teased “a lot more dramatics” on her end — and a potential happy ending. “A lot of love,” she concluded. “It is a very special time for me.”
Bachelor in Paradise airs on ABC Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET after The Golden Bachelor.