In 22 seasons of “The Bachelor” and 14 seasons of “The Bachelorette,” we’ve yet to see a season centered around a same-sex couple. When Elan Gale, an executive producer for the ABC shows, was asked this year if an LGBT season might be coming soon, he didn’t rule it out but didn’t commit to the idea, either, saying: “We’ll see what the future holds.”
According to an interview by Solo-ish on The Washington Post, there’s been at least one bisexual contestant on “The Bachelor,” but two same-sex contestants have never ended up together. However, it’s happened in Vietnam. This fall on the country’s Bachelor show, contestant Minh Thu told the male lead that she’s found love but not with him — with fellow contestant Truc Nhu. In an emotional rose ceremony, Minh Thu asked Truc Nhu to come home with her.
Truc stayed on the show a little longer, but once she was eliminated, she got together with Minh. Solo-ish asked the couple about their relationship, which they discussed through the help of a translator. The following exchange has been edited for clarity and length.
Solo-ish: Minh Thu, what was the moment you realized you had feelings for Truc Nhu?
Minh Thu: At the end of the second episode, Truc Nhu was the last person to get her name called for a rose. I was worried she was going to be eliminated, and I realized I didn’t want to be far from her. After that, my feelings started to seem like something more.
During Episode 3, the other people on the show joked that Truc Nhu might be up for elimination again. Before we started filming that day, I cried a lot. I asked myself why was I crying so much. After that, I gradually was able to understand what my feelings were.
Solo-ish: Truc Nhu, how did you feel when Minh Thu confessed her feelings for you? Were you surprised?
Truc Nhu: I was surprised. I didn’t know if Minh Thu had thoughtfully reflected. Did she really like me, or was she doing something to make the show exciting?
But when I saw her face looking back at me, her expression was so true. Actually, during that time [when Minh Thu was talking to the Bachelor], I couldn’t hear what she was saying. I just knew that Minh Thu wanted me to go home with her. I was surprised she was daring enough to say that on TV. It’s like she wasn’t afraid of what people would say.
Solo-ish: Tell me how your love blossomed on the show.
Truc Nhu: When the show started filming, we were assigned to the same room. When I looked through the door’s peephole and saw Minh Thu waiting outside, her expression seemed snobby. I let her knock three times before I let her in. Minh Thu was very adorable and polite when speaking to me. I was a bit more guarded and cold at first.
After we finished filming the second episode where I was the last one called for a rose and almost eliminated, I looked back at the rest of the contestants almost in a way of saying, “It was great to know all of you. Now it’s my time to leave.” I saw Minh Thu, and her eyes were shaking with tears because she was scared I would leave. It made me wonder why she was so worried and sad about me being eliminated. When the results came and I wasn’t eliminated, I went downstairs, and she was waiting for me so that we could go back together.
Minh Thu: Everyone had already left. That was about 2 in the morning.
Truc Nhu: That’s right, at that time you must have been so tired. That’s when you’re supposed to go home, brush your teeth, change clothes, to go to bed, etc., since there was only one bathroom. Even with that, Minh Thu was still waiting for me.
For Episode 3, some of the cast said that they’d thought I’d probably be eliminated in this episode. Minh Thu was crying —
Minh Thu: Like rain.
Truc Nhu: It was about that time where we started to realize there were feelings, even though we didn’t quite know how to express it. We would often talk by the beach near where we were staying. We talked about what we wanted for our futures, what kind of jobs we were interested in. Eventually feelings gradually grew until the episode where Minh Thu confessed how she felt.
Solo-ish: Would you like to see a same-sex Bachelor show in Vietnam? What do you think it will take to get to that moment?
Minh Thu: Whether we would like to see it or not isn’t what is important. What’s important is whether Vietnamese audiences would accept it. Currently, we’ve experienced some acceptance for our story in Vietnam, but the support hasn’t nearly been as open as it has been internationally. Vietnam is gradually becoming more accepting, but it will take some time to become ready for an LGBT show like that. In a few generations, this would be acceptable.
Solo-ish: What is your relationship like off the show?
Minh Thu: We’ve been together about three months and moved in together a month ago.
Truc Nhu: Our relationship is gradually growing. We’re trying to get to know each other more carefully, where we can support each other in ways where the other person may be lacking. We believe that maybe you can’t guarantee that something will last forever, but day by day we are trying to firmly build something together. We can’t just rush it like we’ve done in previous relationships. With us, right now, we value having strong communication …
Minh Thu: … and being honest to each other.
Truc Nhu: We usually go through three or four phases in love: Falling in love madly; second, we start having issues, arguments and things would keep getting worse after that; lastly, we could either overcome it and live happily, or we fail. For us, we want to take it carefully from the beginning.
Solo-ish: In the United States, “Bachelor” couples often find their relationships to be difficult once the cameras are gone. Has it been hard or easy in ways that have surprised you?
Minh Thu: It’s really after the show when you’re back to real life, that you truly start to know and understand each other. However, you’re still in the public eye, and having people care about your relationship after the show and paying attention to you, which can be troublesome. It can be hard, because everyone is going to have an opinion on your relationship. If you spend your time focusing on that — what people are thinking about you, how they see you — instead of just living your life, then it’s difficult. However, if you take the time to instead focus on yourself, what your feelings are, it gets easier.
Truc Nhu: To be honest, I don’t see many difficulties for us. If there’s any challenges, we’re able to mentally overcome it and move past it quickly.
Solo-ish: I understand this is the first same-sex relationship for both of you. Tell me what that’s been like.
Minh Thu: It’s different compared to our past relationships. For example, I think there are some general differences about how men’s minds and women’s minds function when it comes to relationships. In general, as a woman I feel like I’m very aware of everything, and am independent and can handle many things on my own. However, men typically feel a greater need to be seen as the conqueror, to play the role of the hero or the strong one in order for their feelings to develop. That’s just too many rules for me. With our current relationship, it’s much easier and clearer. I can express my feelings better, and I can just do whatever I want without trying to overthink it.
Truc Nhu: It’s like I have found my little twin sister.
Minh Thu: It’s been more comfortable. Since both of us are women, we understand each other better.
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