“It’s about forming friendships, supporting each other, and not treating it as a competition.”
On Thursday, March 9th, former Bachelor and Bachelorette star, as well as advocate for the empowerment of women, Kaitlyn Bristowe, joined students at the Humber North campus for IGNITE’s International Women’s Day Real Talks event. If you missed it you can watch the recording on our Facebook page.
Prior to her discussion on stage, IGNITE sat down for a one-on-one interview with the reality star and advocate. Here’s what she had to say:
International Women’s Day was yesterday, what did you do to celebrate?
I had a glass of wine with myself. Well actually I FaceTimed with my mom, so we had a glass of wine on FaceTime together. If you follow me on Snapchat, you’ll see that I always post with her because she is a riot.
A lot of young women watched you on The Bachelorette, what would you say to them about self-esteem?
I always say “don’t compare yourself to other girls and to try to be happy with who you are”. You could sit on Instagram and get sucked into the whole comparing yourself thing, and I’ve actually had to stop myself from doing that because I’m guilty of it too. Some days I tell myself, “I’m not going to scroll today, I’m not going to go there.” So, don’t ever compare yourself. I know it’s hard, I struggled with that in my younger twenties too, and I think some of it comes with time.
On the show, you had to compete with Brit to become the Bachelorette. What do you think about women being pitted against each other in the media?
It’s terrible. I almost said no [to the show]. Actually, I did say no for an entire week before doing it. I was like, “I’m not doing that, I’m not being compared to somebody.” Chris Harrison even said, “Who will be the better wife?” And ugh, that disgusted me, so I said no because I didn’t think it was right. But we were friends, so at the end of the day, we knew to not make it about that and to not compare to each other. To know that it depends on the group of guys, who we get along with, it’s not “Who’s the better wife?” or “Who’s the better woman?” it was about the guys and who we get along with. We decided to have fun with it and to not compare ourselves to each other.
Women are often treated differently than men in regards to sexual history. You dealt with that on the show and received a lot of backlash. What would you say to young women dealing with that situation?
It’s so hard because everything is personal. You know, there are virgins who go on the show too, and they don’t seem to get judged. I think everyone should just understand that everyone’s situation is different. No one should be judged for that. I think just having these conversation helps too. A lot of people don’t want to talk about it but having conversations is important.
What would you say to young women going through a tough time, dealing with bullying, or pressure from social media?
You just have to know that every person has their own personal struggles. So everything you see on Instagram [is not the whole picture]. Sometimes I want to post a picture of myself bawling my eyes out or fighting with Shawn to show that that’s real life too. People don’t want to see that though. I think just knowing that every person has their own struggles. I also don’t like when people get self-worth from social media. Don’t get your self-worth just because you get so many ‘likes’ or you have so many followers. There’s just so much more to life than social media.
How do you think women can build each other up and help each other build self-worth?
It’s about forming friendships, supporting each other, and not treating it as a competition. You feel so much better about it at the end of the day if you just open yourself up. I think women, now more than ever, are doing that. It’s getting better and I do think that it’s about these conversations that we’re having.
When do you feel most beautiful?
It took me a long time to get to this point, but I feel most beautiful when I have no makeup on and I’m hanging out with Shawn and he’s still telling me he loves me. I feel the most beautiful when I’m just around people that love me.
What are your future goals?
Everyone asks, “What do you want in five years?” And I always say I don’t know. I don’t have plans for the future. I just know I want to continue doing bigger and better things every year; being a part of something like this means so much to me. I’m obviously a big fan of empowering women and I would love to keep being a part of conversations like this. I also just want to have a family and babies in like the next two years. I don’t know if that’s going to happen but I want that. So, I don’t know, no real goals except for just continuing to be a better person.
Thank you to Kaitlyn for taking the time to chat with us, we’re sure these insights are valuable to many young women at Humber and Guelph-Humber. From dealing with bullying on social media, to gaining confidence, to helping bring each other up, Kaitlyn is truly an inspiring woman.
Be sure to check all of IGNITE’s upcoming events and join in on the next one!