It's true. At 24 years old, Hannah Brown is the youngest Bachelorette the franchise has seen. But let's get real here, that's only one year younger than the previous youngest Bachelorette, JoJo Fletcher and even if that wasn't the case, no one should judge Bachelorette Hannah's age, but many people are anyway. In fact, among Hannah's age detractors is former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay. Not cool, girl.
Lindsay told Page Six that she felt only someone older than Hannah Brown could truly "embody what the ideals of the show are" and it seems clear she is referring to the Bachelorette being someone who is genuinely ready to get engaged. Lindsay added, "If you’re wanting somebody who’s committed to marriage and a proposal … then you’re going to have to choose older." Lindsay was 31 when she filmed her season, and listed herself and 36-year-old Arie Luyendyk Jr. as examples of contestants who were serious about the process. (Apparently she forgot that Arie changed his mind after proposing to one contestant and then proposed to the runner-up.)
Lindsay was the oldest Bachelorette at 31 (which isn't really old at all), which is proof that this franchise has seen quite a few leads who don't meet her "older" qualifications. Also, the average age of Bachelor contestants is 26, so it's not unsurprising that some of the Bachelorettes who come from these seasons are also in their mid-20s.
And with that legion of 20-somethings, the franchise has managed to make some serious matches (more so than its sibling series, The Bachelor). Six of the 14 Bachelorette seasons have produced lasting romances and the second-youngest Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher is still engaged to her winner three years later. Age really isn't anything but a number.
But since we're talking numbers, while Hannah was 23 during The Bachelor, she was actually 24 when she filmed her season (she's turning 25 this September). And even if she had been 23, that shouldn't matter. What matters is that the lead enters this show ready and open to the process of meeting someone who might be their person. An engagement is actually not mandated for the show — as Colton Underwood just showed us on The Bachelor — but, for what it's worth, that is what Hannah is hoping for out of this journey.
Hannah addressed doubts about her age when on the Ellen DeGeneres Show with a little of her classic realness. "I know, whatever," she said when DeGeneres first brought up her age. Then she added that she was "absolutely" looking for a husband. "I'm so ready," she said. "I know I'm young but I would not have gone on this show if I hadn't really thought about what was at the end of this."
In an interview with People magazine, the Bachelorette added that it was actually her Bachelor journey that prepared her for this commitment. "I didn’t end up with Colton, but I ended up loving myself more," Hannah said, adding that being on the show helped her be more open and vulnerable and break down any emotional walls she had. "This is something I really believe in," she continued. "And at the end of the day, I want somebody who loves me and chooses me. I’m ready for my moment.”
Being 24 shouldn't stop you from being the Bachelorette, full stop. The show needs someone who believes in and is open to the experience. It sounds like Hannah is exactly that.
Fortunately, Hannah has some strong supporters too. OG Bachelorette Trista Sutter told Us Weekly that she knows age isn't anything but a number.
"I know that she’s catching some flak for being young. But who’s to say that she’s not ready when someone who’s 35 is ready? You know what I mean? I don’t think it’s about age, I think it’s just about that individual, and I’m excited for her," Trista said.
This show has had successful relationships between "young" contestants and failed relationships between "older" contestants. (Nick Viall, anyone?) As long as Hannah is prepared to tackle this show and ready to find love, that's what matters. Not what it says on her birth certificate.