Big Brother was watching Charity Lawson when she began her “journey” on Monday’s season premiere of The Bachelorette. Literally.
Charity’s older brother, Nehemiah, surprised her at the mansion on her first night as the Bachelorette. The protective older sibling then went undercover as a bartender to eavesdrop on the assembled suitors, just to make sure all the men were there for the Right Reasons™.
After listening to Brayden — a 24-year-old travel nurse from San Diego — go on and on and on and on to the other contestants about sharing a kiss with Charity, Nehemiah decided he need to warn his sister about Brayden’s potentially “problematic” behavior. The concerned Bachelorette immediately pulled Brayden aside and asked him to explain himself.
Just when Bachelor Nation thought Charity was going to send Brayden packing, she did the opposite — and gave him the First Impression Rose. EW spoke to the Bachelorette about her surprise decision, Nehemiah’s hilariously awful disguise, and why she chose to initiate most of the kisses on night one.
I decided to give Brayden the First impression Rose strictly because we had just great chemistry, and a great conversation early on. When I sat down with Brayden, he was one of the ones out of all the guys that I got to talk to you that just provided me a level of ease. It was just an effortless conversation. So, I remembered that feeling.
Hearing my brother’s insight, when my brother initially told me that, I was like, “Is he being cocky or is he just like really excited, and being like a schoolgirl that’s super giddy?” I think Brayden’s age and maturity definitely plays a role in that. So I was just taking [Nehemiah’s input] in that moment and translating to, maybe that’s how [Brayden] expresses his emotions. Hearing Brayden explain it put me a little bit more at ease. With my brother’s insight, I stored that in my back pocket, but it definitely was not worth axing [Brayden] on night one.
Nehemiah went undercover to get intel on the guys, but as you saw, his disguise was truly terrible. Do you plan to tease him about it for the rest of his life?
I need to get my hands back on it and, like, re-gift it to him, for his birthday or something. [Laughs] He needs to have it permanently because it’s, like, the most insane thing ever.
There were a few men you did not have time to talk with on night one, including Sean and Dotun, who still got roses. What factors did you use to make decisions about guys you hadn’t really spoken to?
Time is everything, and we know that in the Bachelor world. Those limo entrances are truly the first impression. How you utilize that first minute with me is also important because you don’t know once you get inside [the mansion] whether or not we will have an opportunity to talk. Sean had a very creative limo entrance with the check and cashing his heart out to me. And with Dotun, just telling me the background story of how he ended up on a show like The Bachelorette, that really, like, resonated with me, and it also left me wanting to talk more about that.
I liked that you initiated most, if not all, the kisses on night one.
What was your kissing philosophy going into the evening?
The game plan, I don’t know if there necessarily was one. You see me kind of initiate a few of [the kisses]. I knew right off the bat, I don’t want to kiss everyone, but also, I knew a lot of the guys were going to be nervous. So, I thought, okay, let me show them who’s boss and then maybe the next time, they’ll be the ones initiating [the kiss].
Michael, the yacht captain, gave you a charm bracelet with boat on it. Have you ever worn it?
I have not worn it, but I have [it in] a memory box of all the little like keepsakes that I kept from the show that are very meaningful to me.