Joey Graziadei is eager to forge his own Bachelor path. ET’s Denny Directo spoke to Bachelor Nation’s newest leading man ahead of his first night in the role, and Joey revealed why he turned down offers of advice from franchise alums.
“I was lucky enough that Ben Higgins sent me a DM, Arie [Luyendyk Jr.] did as well,” Joey told ET. “A lot of guys just kind of wanted to at least send some support, saying they’d love seeing me last season and they wanted to make sure if I needed anything whatsoever, they would be there to help.”
While Joey said that “it’s nice to know that people have reached out,” he admitted that he gave “the same response every time.”
“I appreciate the love and support, but I really am excited to do it my own way,” Joey said of what he messaged back to the former Bachelors. “I don’t think I really need to look for advice from anyone. I think I’ve just got to look within. I’m here for a reason and I’m gonna do my best to show that.”
Bachelor Nation certainly agrees, as the excitement for Joey’s new role has been virtually unanimous among fans.
“I don’t know what the outside kind of excitement and noise is. I’ve been trying to ignore it as much as I can, because I’m truthfully just here to find my person,” the tennis pro said. “I didn’t think this was the way I was going to be doing it back in the day, but I’ve fully committed to it now. The excitement’s great. I’m glad people are happy to see me try to find my person. I think they’re excited about this season and I am too.”
As for whether or not it’s really sunk in that he’s the Bachelor, Joey said he doesn’t expect it to “until the first limo pulls up.”
“It’s definitely different, because I feel like I’ve been here before,” the Bachelorette alum said. “There’s some comfortability, but it’s also a completely different ballgame now with me being the lead. The nerves haven’t fully hit yet, but I’m expecting it to hit on night one.”
The fact that he’s been through this before makes sense, as Joey vied for Charity Lawson‘s heart on her season of the show. While that particular experience left Joey heartbroken, it also showed him that the process can work.
“Charity was amazing all of last season. I think the big thing for me is she fully gave into this and you could tell that she was really committed to find her person,” Joey said. “That gave a level of comfort to all the other guys. I’m going to try to do the same, to really make sure they understand that I’m here fully committed. I believe in this process. I’m going to be invested. If I can give that same level of confidence to them, I know they’ll have that instilled in themselves as well.”
“Anything I can do on my side to give that level of comfort is all I’m trying to focus on, because I just want them to feel like they can be themselves and try to ignore all the outside factors that come with it,” he added. “We don’t want to have to worry about them getting to that point where they feel like they can finally be themselves. I want them to be [themselves] right away.”
“I love those two,” he said of the happy couple. “I think they are going to be a very successful couple at the end of the day, and do everything they need to do to make sure they’re gonna be living happily ever after. I want the same thing. That’s the goal. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we’re doing it.”
What that will look like for Joey is uncertain, though he told ET he’ll “definitely just know” when the right woman comes along.
“I think it might be those intangibles I can’t explain,” he said of his perfect partner. “I definitely want someone who’s outgoing, fun, can make me laugh, can really be willing to take on life together… It’s gonna be a vibe thing. I think there’s gonna be a lot of amazing women that bring a lot of different things to the table, so for me it’s just gonna be trying to pay attention to what fits, what feels right.”
Joey is confident that the journey itself, which will play out on season 28 of the ABC series, is going to be one to remember.
“What I’m most looking forward to is meeting so many people, because obviously, at the end, I want to find my person,” he said. “I think this is gonna really be exciting and fun, to meet people from different walks of life that are… excited to kind of give everything they have to find that person. That alone gets me excited.”