Speaking her mind! Katie Thurston‘s bold limo entrance on season 25 of The Bachelor quickly caught viewers’ attention — and it led to her own journey as the season 17 Bachelorette.
The 30-year-old sparked controversy online when she whipped out her sparkly vibrator while introducing herself to Matt James on night one of the ABC dating series, which aired earlier this year. As the season progressed, Katie became a strong advocate against bullying among her fellow contestants and stood up against “Queen” Victoria Larson‘s bad behavior in the house. During a conversation with Rachel Lindsay and Becca Kufrin on the “Bachelor Happy Hour” podcast in January, Katie opened up about her choice to shine a light on sex positivity and female empowerment with her Bachelor Nation debut.
“It was the perfect statement for 2020,” she joked of the meme-worthy moment. “It actually summarized me perfectly … and I could do nothing but be myself. I knew Matt is religious, I know I don’t know him personally, so I knew it could very well send me home night one. And I would have no regrets.”
The West Coast native isn’t afraid of being “daring and adventurous” and is looking for a partner who can match her energy. “While Katie is serious about finding her person, she needs a man who can laugh along with her but is okay with him laughing at her too when the moment calls for it,” her official Bachelor cast bio read, adding that “her dream man will be passionate about building a long-term life with her and will treat Katie as his equal in the relationship.”
While Katie knew how to have a good time, being on The Bachelor wasn’t all fun and games for the former bank manager. Fans saw her reach an emotional breakthrough with Sarah Trott, who eventually eliminated herself from the competition to go back to supporting her family as her dad’s struggle with ALS continues. Katie later stood up for the five new women thrown into the mix during the January 25 episode as the original contestants spread harmful rumors around the resort, telling Matt that some of the claims could seriously impact these women’s lives.
“I get it, we’re entitled to our feelings,” she told her fellow houseguests during a group date after the newcomers arrived. “But at the end of the day, they live with us and I would hate to be on their side of this [with] the continuous digs. At some point, we’ve gotta kind of get over it and welcome them into the house a little bit.”
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Not long after she was sent home by Matt, ABC named Katie the season 17 star.
“I wanted it to be a safe space for everyone and allow people to speak up when they wanted to. And I mean, there’s going to be drama when you have all the guys dating one woman,” Katie told Us Weekly about taking on the lead role. “But I will say there’s also a lot of really endearing parts that I really hope Bachelor Nation gets to see because the bromance of this group of men was very strong.”
The Bachelorette airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET. Scroll down to learn more about Katie: