This Is How Katie Really Feels About All The Sexual Innuendos From Her Bachelorette Cast

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
“For a few weeks, people didn’t even know my name. I was just ‘Dildo Girl,’” Katie Thurston, ABC's newest The Bachelorette lead, recalls over Zoom. “So to go from that to The Bachelorette is a big progression.” 
Thurston's initial Bachelor Nation nickname was a bit of a misnomer. The 30-year-old did introduce herself to 2020 Bachelor Matt James while wielding a sex toy during his season’s premiere. But Thurston wasn’t carrying a mere dildo — she came equipped with a fully operational vibrator. As Thurston joked back then, it was the kind of mechanical friend that got her through the loneliness of the pandemic (like many, many, many of us not on national TV). 
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“It was something I wanted to do to show my sense of humor. But also my TikTok videos are very sex-focused,” Thurston says to Refinery29, days before her Bachelorette season 17 debut. She came up with the bit by herself, without producer interference. “It kind of sums me up in a two-second image,” Thurston explains. “That was important for me and Matt as like, ‘This is who I am. Hopefully you take it. If not, it’s not meant to be.’” 
A few months later, it’s Thurston’s job to grade limo entrances as the Bachelorette during her own season premiere. It is apparent from the episode that Thurston’s suitors heard about her vibrator comedy, since they come to The Bachelorette’s New Mexico resort equipped with endless sexual innuendos of their own for Night One. Of course, there’s the heavily publicized appearance of a blowup doll. One man also rips off his underwear and hands it to Katie. Another cast member recites a sexually loaded poem. Thurston sits in a “truck full of balls.” In the most horny and memorable introduction, a guy tells Katie all about his stroke… his painting stroke that is.  
The season 17 super trailer doesn’t let up on the erotic undertones. A snippet of the video shows Thurston spending some private time with a contestant in a dark, backlit room. The suggestion of a pre-Fantasy Suites hookup is obvious. 
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The Bachelorette — and its stable of men — has clearly pegged Katie Thurston as “The Sexual Bachelorette.” She isn’t complaining. 
Refinery29: Your “See what all the buzz is about” promo is a vibrator joke. What did you think of that? 
Katie Thurston: “It’s cheesy; it’s corny. But it made me laugh. It’s a full circle of where my journey started and where it’s going. I thought it was a fun way to bring the audience back in .” 
Do you think you talk about sex more than other people? Your approach towards the subject feels very average in comparison to myself and other women in our generation. 
“Exactly! I never realized that [my outlook] was such a grand gesture. For me and my friends and family, it’s very normal. But for some other people, it’s not. My hope is that that goes away. Because it is okay to talk about sex, especially in 2021 and being a female.” 
So many of your contestants perform very sexual innuendos for their introductions, which could feel like pigeonholing after a while. Were all those sexy intros appealing to you? Or were you being a good sport. 
“I thought it was funny. I enjoyed every single guy that came out with their little bit. I have a good sense of humor. Night One is intense. So anything to break the ice, I’m going to be all for it.”  
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Did any of their comments feel too intense? Justin’s “stroke” pickup line really surprised me. I don’t know if I would love that in a bar. 
[Laughter] “I mean that’s the thing though — this isn’t a bar! This is The Bachelorette and you gotta bring your A game and come prepared. Justin did. He tied it into his artistic talent, which I thought was really cool.” 
While everyone keeps connecting you to sex, your biggest Bachelor breakout moment was actually your conversation with Sarah Trott. You showed empathy and a true disinterest in drama before her exit. How are you bringing that to this season? 
“The guys know how I feel about any negativity. Of course there’s going to be drama, naturally, in this environment. But you will also see a lot of romances. That was what was missing unfortunately with Matt’s season. You didn’t get to see the friendships that formed. That’s going to be very obvious this time around.”  
People will be wondering about this since you’re ‘The Sexual Bachelorette,’ even though, again, your sex positvity is actually very normal. Do you get frisky before Fantasy Suites? Was that something you were open to exploring before that stage? 
“I’m open to doing whatever I need to do to figure out who it is I’m falling in love with. Physical connection is very important. So if I need to do something to figure that out, I’m going to go ahead and do it.” 
I saw that super trailer scene involving you and a contestant in a dark room. People are going to have questions! 
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I don’t know!”
Now that the season is over, how are you feeling about your romantic future? 
“I feel good. Everything happens the way it’s supposed to, and that’s what I’m embracing.” 
This interview has been edited and condensed.

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