Lexie Brown wouldn’t describe herself as shy, but she was, once upon a time, a private person.
She was, somewhat, a traditionalist as well. And yet she’s found herself the centre of a reality television dating show, the leading woman of New Zealand’s second season of The Bachelorette.
In her first interview as the bachelorette, Brown tells Stuff she applied for the programme as a bit of a joke upon returning to New Zealand in the shadow of the global pandemic after five years living abroad.
“Once it became a serious possibility, I really thought about it as it presented itself as an opportunity to have loads of fun, go on new adventures and have a small chance of actually meeting someone,” she said.
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Brown had been living in Canada at the start of 2020, but the uncertainty of Covid-19 pulled her back to Aotearoa.
During her five years away, Brown worked in marketing in England, nannied in France, taught English in Japan, and snowboarded in Canada.
“I love travelling, I love adventure, I loved living overseas. But I was always going to come home, I really want to raise a Kiwi family and live a Kiwi life. Coming home was always on the cards, but I guess it was a little earlier because of the pandemic,” she said.
Filming for The Bachelorette finished before 2020 came to an end. Since then, Brown has been travelling New Zealand. She spoke to Stuff shortly after arriving at her family home at ?hope in the Bay of Plenty. For much of her time back in New Zealand, Brown had been living in Wellington – where her mum and two brothers are based. She is from Ng?ti Raukawa, Horowhenua.
For Brown, wh?nau and fun play major parts of her life. And she hopes the same goes for any future love match.
“The key thing that draws me to people is a sense of adventure, someone who’s Kiwi and can have a laugh. I also really value my family,” she said.
When it comes to home visits, which happen later in the Bachelorette season, she said the remaining men were met with not just the brothers and parents. “My family is the opposite of nuclear, which I love,” she said.
“What I consider close family is wide reaching in other people’s eyes. So, home visits on the show are very different.”
Although Brown had experience working in brand and marketing jobs, she said she had never gone through anything like this. Her Instagram account had about 600 followers before the show went to air. It’s expected that will balloon as viewers get to know her.
In the months before the show went to air, Brown had gone through her Instagram and posted snapshots of her life. She had, before that clean up of her account, not posted anything for five years.
But she said she had never tried to cultivate an online brand for herself, preferring to meet people in real life. Unusually, for someone about to try and find love on television, Brown had never tried Tinder, or any other form of online dating before now.
“Some people live online and define a lot of worth in their online presence, but I try to live in real life.”
Going from only meeting people in real life, to dating on a reality show and turning her private life into public television was going from “one extreme to the other”, she admitted.
There was no date yet as to when this season of The Bachelorette would air, but TVNZ said it would be “soon”.
Brown’s season follows up Dr Lesina Nakhid-Schuster’s attempt to find love as the first Kiwi bachelorette in 2019. That series flipped the script, introducing Lily McManus as a second bachelorette halfway through filming. While McManus left the show with a partner, Richie Boyens, Nakhid-Schuster failed to find love during filming.