“It’s about forming friendships and 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 the event you can watch it on our Facebook page. Prior to her discussion in front of students, IGNITE sat down for a one-on-one interview with the outspoken reality star and advocate.
International Women’s Day was yesterday, what did you do to celebrate?
I had a glass of wine with myself, well 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 girls watched you on The Bachelorette, including myself, what would you say to them about self-esteem?
I always say to not compare yourself to other girls and to try to be happy with who you are because you could sit on Instagram and get sucked into the whole comparing yourself at all times 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, to just not ever compare yourself. I know it’s hard, I struggled with that in my younger twenties too, and I think also some of it comes with time.
On the show, you had to compete with Brit to even become the Bachelorette, what do you think about girls and women in general being pitted against each other in the media?
It’s terrible. I almost said no, 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.” Even Chris Harrison 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 and 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 unfairly about sexual history, especially in comparison to men. You dealt with that on the show and received a lot of backlash, so what would you say to young women dealing with that kind of treatment? And what kind of steps do you think society as a whole should take to change that?
It’s so hard because everything is so personal. You know, there are virgins who go on the show too, and they don’t seem to get judged and I think everyone should just understand everyone’s situation and understand that that’s something that if you feel ready for or you don’t, no one should be judged with that. I think just having the conversation helps too. I think a lot of people don’t want to talk about it but having the conversation 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 always know that every person has their own personal struggles so everything you see on Instagram, like everything in my life, 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 also don’t want to see that though. I think just knowing that every person has their own struggles and that you aren’t the only one that’s doing that on social media. 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 to build up that self-worth?
The example of Brit being pitted against me as Bachelorette, it’s about forming friendships and 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 to making it not about a competition. I think women, now more than ever, are doing that and it’s getting better and I do think that it’s about these conversation that we’re having about it.
As women, we always want to feel our best, and we all struggle with that sometimes. 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.
And what are your future goals for your life?
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.
If you weren’t able to come to the event, we hope this interview gave you some insight into the amazing woman that Kaitlyn Bristowe is. From dealing with bullying on social media, to giving advice about how to feel confident, Kaitlyn truly is an inspiring woman.
Be sure to check all of IGNITE’s upcoming events and join in on the next one!