Dual leads of The Bachelorette season 19 Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia shared the lessons they learned from one another while filming together. The new Bachelorette cycle represents the first time two women have searched for love for an entire season, unlike season 11, in which Kaitlyn Bristowe was selected over Britt Nilsson to continue as the new Bachelorette in the first episode. Host Jesse Palmer has assured viewers that the new dual lead format won’t pit the two women against one another. On the contrary, Gabby and Rachel seem to have grown closer over their season.
Gabby, a 31-year-old former cheerleader for the NFL, and Rachel, a 26-year-old flight instructor, met during the latest season of The Bachelor, when they both dated former Bachelor Clayton Echard. The two women supported each other throughout their journey, including the two-part season finale, in which Clayton ended his relationships with Gabby and Rachel at the same time while filming together in Iceland. Although the women didn’t find love on The Bachelor season 26, they both have a second chance to connect with the potential loves of their lives on The Bachelorette. Now, the women will try to find their fiancé in a group of 32 contestants—the most men ever included at the start of a season.
Rachel and Gabby both learned a lot from each other over the course of filming season 19, from how to let love in, to embracing support from friends. “Something I learned from Rachel is how to be vulnerable and really wear my heart on my sleeve. She helped me to not be so afraid of falling in love,” said Bachelorette Gabby in an interview with Bachelor Nation. Reflecting on her journey, Rachel said her co-lead helped her not only gain confidence, but learn more about herself. “I feel like having Gabby next to me throughout it all has really helped me come into myself more and made me so much more confident,” said Rachel. “Going through this, you learn so much about what you want and what you don’t, so looking back, I’m really happy that I got to learn so much about myself.”
Both season 19 Bachelorette leads had nothing but good things to say about filming together. Maintaining a strong friendship meant that co-leads Gabby and Rachel had to prioritize one another’s feelings throughout filming, according to Gabby. “Rachel and I just always put our friendship first and didn’t let anything or anyone stand in the way,” she said. “We always had great communication, so regardless of what things look like, we knew where our priorities lied.” The women grew so close over the course of the season that they didn’t even need to speak to make their feelings known. “We are both really good at reading people and have really open communication,” said Rachel. “Sometimes we would just look at each other and Gabby cannot hide any of her emotions, so I could just tell how she was feeling about someone.”
With two Bachelorettes, it’s also possible that some of the men either Gabby or Rachel are interested in pursuing could fall for the other woman. No matter what happens, season 19 has the potential for an ending never seen before, with a finale that could feature two engagements—or one, or none. What’s clear to the rest of Bachelor Nation is that Rachel and Gabby have remained friends through it all.