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The Bachelor

Why Raven Gates Is Packing for Paradise — and Which Guy in Bachelor Nation Might Help Heal Her Heart

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Raven Gates may not have gotten Nick Viall’s final rose, but she isn’t giving up on love — and she’s heading to paradise to find it!

During Monday’s After The Final Rose special, the 25-year-old Bachelor runner-up accepted Chris Harrison’s invitation to join Bachelor in Paradise — the franchise’s tropical spin-off.

“I’ve heard of this place,” Gates said when Harrison mentioned Paradise. “Hey, if anything, I know that if Nick can go to Paradise and do this experience and find love, that I can too.”

“So we’ll see you in Paradise?” Harrison asked.

“Yeah!” she answered.

“I really trust the Bachelor system, whether it be Bachelor, Bachelorette or Bachelor In Paradise,” Gates told reporters about her decision to join the show during a press conference Tuesday. “I’m confident in finding love in Paradise because I’m so open-minded when it comes to meeting someone.”

Though Gates said there isn’t anyone specific she’s hoping to see there, there’s one successful Paradise couple she admires.

“I want to find someone that is the Evan to my Carly,” she said of engaged couple Evan Bass and Carly Waddell. “That’s the kind of relationship I want.”

Gates may be in luck as there’s already one Bachelor Nation guy that has set his sights on her: James Taylor.

“Lord have mercy, Raven meet me in Paradise?!” Taylor posted on Twitter during Monday’s finale. “You deserve a good southern gentleman.”

As to whether Gates will take Taylor up on his offer, Gates said: “I think James is very sweet. I want to get to know James so it’s definitely not a no.”

Although Gates’ journey on the show didn’t end how she hoped with 36-year-old Viall, she told PEOPLE that she was “super realistic” throughout the entire process, which helped her come to peace with the outcome.

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“The moment he told me that I wasn’t the one, I accepted it,” Gates explained about being turned down by Viall. “I think as soon as he told me I wasn’t the one I started the healing process right then and there. I accepted it, I didn’t question myself, I was confident in myself.”

After two previous unsuccessful tries on The Bachelor, Viall empathized with Gates, knowing what it’s like to be turned down in the process.

“Knowing full well what it’s like to be in Raven’s shoes, I have no regrets and I hope that Raven doesn’t either,” Viall told PEOPLE exclusively of choosing fiancée Vanessa Grimaldi over Gates. “I hope that Raven will look back and not have regrets and think that it was all for the best.”