MINNEAPOLIS — Michelle Young, the biracial star of "The Bachelorette," opened up in the Tuesday, Nov. 2, episode about feeling like the "token Black girl" growing up in Minnesota.
During a spoken word date on the ABC reality series, the Woodbury High School grad shared her own poem, dedicated to her "future soulmate." As a teen, Young made friends and went to parties.
But "dating was a whole other challenge," she told the men.
"I was never the girl invited to cute dates at the apple orchard in the fall," she said. "I was the girl picked last for prom but the first for basketball."
Those experiences led to her become a teacher, said Young, 28, who now teaches fifth grade at Echo Park Elementary in Burnsville.
"I made a promise to myself to help empower all hues of Black, white and brown ... being that role model young brown girls see."
Before the episode's start, Young posted a story on her Instagram about "the reality of being the Bachelorette and a teacher at the same time." While fans were gearing up for the show, Young said, grinning, she was "gearing up for my last parent teacher conference — which honestly I would not have any other way."
This episode's dates revealed more of Young's history, as well as her goofiness. When Nayte Olukoya suggested running away together, she shot him a mischievous smile before unbuckling her heels and taking off.
On a giggly one-on-one date with Rodney Mathews, she donned a blindfold and he stripped naked.
But over dinner, things got serious. Young shared that one time at a grocery store, a woman directed a racial slur at her.
Her boyfriend at the time, who was not a person of color, responded by saying that "I was giving the woman more power because I was upset about it," Young said. "I had to justify my emotions ..."
"Looking back on it, that was my sign. I shouldn't have ever had to justify my feelings. Whatever emotion I was feeling in that moment, I was allowed to feel."
That doesn't mean that someone who is white or a different race can't understand, she added.
Later, Young squashed two episodes worth of drama by confronting Jamie Skaar. Skaar had told Young that all the men were speculating about whether Young had known fellow Minnesotan Joe Coleman before the show — when, in fact, Skaar was the one speculating.
Young sent him home.
"Cheers to the woman who handles herself with class when adversity hits," Will Urena toasted. "Here's to you, Michelle."
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