“I didn’t end up with Colton, but I ended up loving myself more,” she says

By Aili Nahas
March 13, 2019 07:00 AM

Less than two weeks ago, Hannah Brown was at home in Alabama, fresh off her breakup with The Bachelor’s Colton Underwood, when she got a surprising call.

Chris Harrison FaceTimed me and told me I was the next Bachelorette,” Brown tells PEOPLE. “I think I screamed, cried and then freaked out. It was not expected. But I wanted it so bad!”

And the 24-year-old interior decorator, who was crushed when Underwood sent her packing before hometowns, says she nonetheless has no regrets from her time on the show.

Hannah Brown

“I didn’t end up with Colton, but I ended up loving myself more,” she says. “I came into that show as someone who wasn’t as open as I am now. I was terrified to be my true self because I felt that it wasn’t enough. But I allowed myself to break down those walls.”

  • For more on Cassie and Colton, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday
Jim Wright

RELATED: The Bachelor‘s Colton Underwood Shocks His Final 2 Women After Cassie’s Rejection: ‘I’m Done’

When it comes to her ex, “I’m happy for Colton. He was able to choose somebody and it wasn’t me, and that’s okay. I’ve moved on. And I’m excited to find my person.”

RELATED VIDEO: Colton on Finding Love on The Bachelor: I Would Jump 1,000 More Fences If I Had To

Now, as she readies herself to meet a crop of eligible men, the former beauty queen says she doesn’t have a type but is looking for “someone with a good heart.” And yes, she’s ready for an engagement.

“This is something I really believe in,” says Brown. “And at the end of the day, I want somebody who loves me and chooses me. I’m ready for my moment.”