Michelle Young Says She 'Stayed True' to Herself on The Bachelorette Ahead of Season Premiere
"One thing that I promised myself walking into [it] is that I'm going to stay true to who I am and I'm going to listen to my gut," Young, 28, told PEOPLE (the TV Show!) correspondent Sandra Vergara at Sunday's "Brunch with The Bachelorette" event in Los Angeles. "I stayed true to who I was. And when I handed out date roses it's because that's how I was feeling in that moment. And I can't change that."
Coming from her job as an elementary school teacher, Young, who was the runner-up on Matt James' season of The Bachelor, said she's accustomed to being in a position where "everybody's watching." But "this situation," she said, is "so different."
"It's so abnormal because you are showcasing a relationship and multiple relationships on national television," the Minnesota native continued. "But what I can say is that there is a world where you can handle yourself, where you can be a teacher, but then you can also have a life and you can live your life. And, you know, teaching's one part of me and it's a very big passionate part of me, but what makes me a good teacher was staying balanced on the other side of that."
One of the promos for Young's season teased that she actually already knew one of the 30 men vying for her heart from back home. "It was something that really surprised me," she admitted. "I was not expecting [that]. And everyone's going to have to wait and see how that whole thing plays out."
Addressing rumors that her suitor Clayton Echard is the new Bachelor, Young simply teased: "There were so many men who are good catches on my season. And so yes, Clayton is definitely one of those."
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Young had support throughout her journey from franchise vets Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe, who co-hosted her season. "They will always have my back," Young said. "You know, women, we can be FBI agents if we need to, and we're going to get down to the bottom of it."
Bristowe, 36, said she "was genuinely there to support a friend, lift her up when she was down, and tell her her feelings are totally valid."
"The whole reason Tayshia and I are there for Michelle is to kind of have extra eyes and look out for her heart," Bristowe added. "Of course there's going to be dramatic guys, but if somebody is coming in with bad intentions, we're there to let her know."
Bristowe and Adams, 31, uncovered that one of Young's suitors came with a playbook on how to succeed on the show. "I don't think Kaitlyn and I have ever witnessed anything like that before, and it kind of had a few red flags in it," Adams said. "So that's really our jobs, to raise awareness when needed."
While Adams and Bristowe guided Young on her potential path to engagement, they both have their own weddings to plan, too. For Bristowe, the moment she ties the knot with fellow Bachelor franchise star Jason Tartick will be one away from TV cameras.
"Wedding to me is something private and I share way too much of on social media anyways," the Off the Vine podcast host said. "I mean, I'll probably have my Instagram Stories out at the wedding, but not televised, no."
Adams said she and fiancé Zac Clark continue to focus on "making memories" together.
"We've had the best time," the Click Bait with Bachelor Nation podcast co-host said. "We're shooting for the stars here."
The Bachelorette season 18 premieres Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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