Keeping a Little Tank of Rage in Your Belly (with Hannah Brown)

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In this episode, I am joined by the Taylor Swift of reality TV, Hannah Brown! She is best known for her memorable stint as the Bachelorette and for winning her season of Dancing with The Stars. Hannah has truly charmed the world with her charisma and authenticity. Since then, she has become an author, releasing her book ‘God Bless This Mess,’ and ventured into podcasting, hosting her new show ‘Better Tomorrow.’ During our conversation, we discuss our extremely different approaches to speaking to strangers on airplanes, taking singing lessons, and explore the intriguing nature of the Bachelorette Universe. Additionally, she shares a story about the time she met the ‘Hannah Brown’ of music, Taylor Swift!

Please note, Funny Cuz It’s True contains mature themes and may not be appropriate for all listeners.

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Hannah Brown, Elyse Myers

Elyse Myers  00:11

Okay, actually, can you just pretend that you’re listening to a fully complete theme song here, I got really in my head. And I tried to make it perfect. And I couldn’t. So this is going to be the theme song right here. Hello, and welcome to another episode of Funny Cuz It’s True. I’m Elyse Myers. In this episode, I’m talking to America’s reality TV sweetheart, Hannah Brown. Hannah is best known for her memorable stint as the bachelorette and winning her season of Dancing with the Stars. But I personally admire Hannah because of her charisma and her authenticity. She’s become an author releasing her book, God bless this mess and ventured into the realm of podcasting hosting her new show better tomorrow. So two things that are funny because they’re true. Number one, today, I learned that Hannah Brown has zero plane anxiety, can you even imagine? And number two, she still doesn’t know who nominated her for the Bachelor, which I think is so interesting. Alright, let’s get into it. Okay, Hannah Brown, you’re here.

Hannah Brown  02:35

So happy to be here.

Elyse Myers  02:36

I cannot believe I’m meeting you. I feel like I’m meeting like a hero. Why am I here? Oh, I’m dying.

Hannah Brown  02:43

I’m so flattered, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Elyse Myers  02:48

Okay, I have a little intro icebreaker that I really wanted to ask you about. And this might seem very random because it is. Okay. So I saw like three different interviews of you where you talked about Greece, and how much you loved the musical Grease. Am I just reading too much into that? Or do you really really like grease?

Hannah Brown  03:06

I mean, it’s I talked about in three different interviews. Yeah, probably. It was my favorite movie grownup that. And cats. Those are like the two things that I watch. Whenever you ever in it are like, did you do musical theater? No, I didn’t do musical theater. My parents. You know, I don’t want to play my musical theater. Obviously, I wanted to do that’s all I did as a kid.

Elyse Myers  03:35

You’re like, listen, all I’m saying is it’s not my parents fault. But I could have been in cats. And they get that from me. So. So maybe I missed out on a career because my parents but other than that they were great.

Hannah Brown  03:47

That’s what I would be like, What do you think you would have been away? Well, first of all, I can’t sing. But maybe they would have put me in singing lessons. Maybe they would have been in acting classes. I would be doing red carpet, things that are way cooler than what I do now. And I would have been maybe, I don’t know, maybe I would have been Margot Robbie and Barbie who knows?

Elyse Myers  04:02

It’s not. even too late. If you like wanted to choose to do musical theater, right? Today, if you got off this call, and you were like, I’m gonna try it. I think that you would you would you clearly succeed at everything that you do. And this is the beginning of my lifelong campaign to get Hannah brown to take up musical theater. You’re just like, You know what, I’m gonna go on this reality show. And then I’m gonna go on another one and win and then I’m gonna go to another one and win. And it’s like, you could I’m 100 positive you could do grace or any other musical theater.

Hannah Brown  04:30

At least I’m, I’m telling you. If there’s one thing that’s not going to happen is me becoming a singer. Every time I’m very seriously. I’m like, do you think if I just went to like, had some singing classes like I could sing? Yes. Every time I say that to people who know me, they laugh.

Elyse Myers  04:51

Because you’ve never had classes.

Hannah Brown  04:53

But they laugh at the idea.

Elyse Myers  04:56

You get some better people around you. Okay, Hannah? This conversation is now turned into me convincing you to get some singing lessons so you can feel this dream of yours. Okay? This we’re I’m not this is happening letting you let her go.

Hannah Brown  05:13

Cat, Taylor Swift even though it wasn’t like the best movie I could have been in cats but Taylor Swift.

Elyse Myers  05:19

Are you a big Taylor Swift Fan?

Hannah Brown  05:21

Well, I follow you also on obviously, I follow you like everyone else does on Tik Tok, and I loved your journey becoming a Swifty? Yes, I try to be a Swifty that like, is not too extreme that like I could maybe be her friend one day that she won’t be like, Okay, this is a lot.

Elyse Myers  05:39

That was gonna be my question was if you met her? What do you think your reaction would be?

Hannah Brown  05:44

Well, I have met her one time. Oh shit. Really? Yeah, I was at. She was performing at this event called Wango. Tango when she came out with the lover album. I was a presenter. And so I was backstage and then she went on. And I was coming back in. I had somebody with me and they’re like, now’s your chance. Like, they knew I was a huge fan. I’m like, she’s just coming offstage. I don’t know, there’s one little girl that went up to her. But you could tell she was like, trying to get out of there. And I’m like, Okay, I’m just gonna do it. I took a picture. And I was like, hey, like, I think I did say it.

Elyse Myers  06:20

Did she know who you were?

Hannah Brown  06:22

I don’t know if she did at that point. But then no, I was on Dancing with the Stars. This is my birthday, which ended up being the worst birthday ever. But perfect. Taylor Swift redeemed it in some way. I was on Dancing with the Stars. I performed advanced Viennese Waltz to lover. Somehow she saw it and she tagged me it, she put it up on her story and tagged me stop and said something about how pretty entirely it was, and that she loved it.

Elyse Myers  06:55

What happened?

Hannah Brown  06:56

I absolutely freaked out. I can’t believe that Taylor Swift knows who I am. Then. A few months later, I was on good foot. Am I saying these things don’t feel real. But I was on Good Morning America. I think I after I one day insane. And then the next day, she was going to be there for that like series in the park where they have concerts in the park. And they knew I was a Swifty. And they’re like, would you want to stay another day and do like this little segment. And I want to stop it. Absolutely. So I didn’t like get to meet her. But I was like doing some of the like stuff, but then the story. So I’m thinking I’m not going to get to meet her. I’m just gonna get to be there, which was enough for me. I get to go on stage and I took a cell I was in a selfie with her and like Robin Roberts. So anyway, this talking about this over and over, it’s like making my chances to being friends with her less and less less. But I think I’ve been cool every time except for the I love you. That was kind of weird.

Elyse Myers  07:58

Here’s my prediction ready, you’re going to take a voice lesson. And then you’re going to get into musical theater, and then you’re going to see the opportunity open up for you to be in cats. And then it’s going to be the one time that she’s like, I’m going to go for it, I will also be there. And then you will be in it with her. And then everything will be full circle, and you’ll get to fulfill your dream. And you’ll also get to work with a hero, and it’s going to be great. That’s what I believe for you.

Hannah Brown  08:22

I mean, crazier things could happen have happen.

Elyse Myers  08:27

I mean, you could also tell the world that your celebrity crush was a boyband pop star and then end up meeting him teaching him how to take a shot of vodka. And then you know, filming a commercial with him. Anything is possible.

Hannah Brown  08:38

I mean, we’re here we’re talking to each other. And you’re like, actually way cooler than me.

Elyse Myers  08:44

Well, that’s, you know, no, but thank you. I wanted to talk so I really wanted to get into kind of your background before you got onto television. And before you kind of became the Hannah brown that everybody knows and loves. So like, I know that you did pageants. What about that life? Like? Is that something you chose for yourself? Is that something your parents kind of pushed you into?

Hannah Brown  09:06

What I loved as being on stage? Yeah, it was like I took hours and hours a dance class all year just for the day that we got to go on stage. And then I was like, This is my thing. I just wanted to be on stage. My one of my mom’s friend’s daughters did pageants. And I was like, Oh, he’s just be on stage. Like, yeah, I just felt like that’s where I came alive. And then you got to wear like a pretty dress and like sign me up. So at first Yeah, I was like, I want to do this. This is fun. And then I really saw how it’s yes, it’s definitely about the way that you look. And now that I’m older, I’m like as kind of weird, but it was awesome. But it taught me a lot of life skills than like how to be able to talk in front of an audience and be asked crazy questions. doing job interviews when I was just starting high school, you know, and that was different interesting and obviously really helpful for me later on. Actually then I’m like, no, I really didn’t have a job. I went into reality TV. So that helped me.

Elyse Myers  10:15

I mean, it’s helpful for literally what we’re doing right now. Like I’m interviewing you. So

Hannah Brown  10:20

Can we tell that I did that that interview practice?

Elyse Myers  10:24

doing great, Hannah. Thank you. You’re doing great.

Hannah Brown  10:28

I laugh at myself a lot of like, why am I saying this? I’m gonna keep saying it. But

Elyse Myers  10:34

I think that that’s what makes you so like relatable though is a lot of people like filter what they say to feel like they are presenting like the cleanest version of themselves. And I think that you just give people you and I think that that’s why people related to you so much on the show like on Bachelor and Bachelorette, but like, just in life like on social media. I think that that’s such a beautiful thing that people need more of.

Hannah Brown  10:57

I’ve realized that this is just who I am.  Do you feel like when you went into the like so when you found out you were going to be cast on The Bachelor? Did any of those fears of like I need to present myself the perfect way on this show? Like did you feel like the crossover from pageantry to this show helped hurt you? What was that transition? Like?

Hannah Brown  13:52

It kind of goes back to patches for my 15 to 21 I did pageants and at first I had no nobody else telling me how I needed to be and what I needed to do. It’s just like, here I am. And that’s when I was really successful. And they started getting into it and a lot of other voices come in and then they change you and then I was being changed because I think the only thing I’m good at is like the being authentic and being myself. I wasn’t that anymore because I was just trying to win and I was watching everybody else and picking from okay, that girl did that and she wants to I need to change my hair color to potato chip. Okay, perfect.

Elyse Myers  14:34

Is that? Is that a common hair color?

Hannah Brown  14:37

No, it’s just what my that’s just what color my hair was. So I feel like that’s when I really struggled my mental health. Just a lot was going on and then I’m like I can’t do it. I couldn’t do it anymore. I just cared a lot about what other people thought about me and they were telling me that I sucked. So I took a break and went back to compete in Miss Alabama. I did it when I like only had two weeks before to like get prepared where usually I would prepare for like a whole year. Yeah, I didn’t have time to change anything about myself. And so I was like, Okay, I guess I’ll do it. And that’s when I won. And so it was just like one of those aha moments of like, Oh, I am my best when I’m just completely myself and don’t really have any input of what other people think I shouldn’t be. And then when did the whole I did the Miss USA, I didn’t place to do anything in that. And then I randomly get this call from the bachelor, which I didn’t really watch. And I didn’t I thought it was a joke. And I was like, what is happening? But I just like leaned into it and found out it was not any my friends. I still had no idea who had like, nominated me. I think going on the show into my first interview. I started doing the thing of okay, I need to be what I think the bachelor, a contestant on The Bachelor supposed to be. And I remember the executive producer, he said something like, I think you’re full of rage. I was like, what? And I was like, No, I think I’m full. I’m full of joy. What? It was so weird. But I do think I had this like part of me, which if you’ve watched my season, like I do kind of have this, like, Don’t cross me to this certain spot and then I’m gonna like have a blow up on you or something. And I think he was just trying to like get in my head because he knew that I was just putting on this this space.

Elyse Myers  16:38

What do you think, though? prompted? I think you’re full of rage.

Hannah Brown  16:42

Probably because I was so like,

Elyse Myers  16:44

Like, he’s like, there’s no way this girl is so happy. She’s gotten mad. And she’s masking it.

Hannah Brown  16:49

Yeah, I think so. Which is true. I don’t think I was mad. But I think I have more emotions than like this weird smile that I sometimes put on my face. So I think he was like tapping into that, and wanting to see what I would do. And it kind of pissed me off a little bit. And that is not what I’m trying to show here. I am sweet. Perfect. Bachelor girl.

Elyse Myers  17:11

Did it swing you further that way? Like did it make you feel even more like you had to present like the happy smiley version of you or no?

Hannah Brown  17:18

No, no, I think it’s like, in this weird way, like, opened me up to be like, you know, I’m not full of rage. I said like, I’m full of joy. And I like maybe the I was like that maybe there’s like a little tank of rage. And I like pointed to like this like small side of my stuff. Maybe that’s what the little right.

Elyse Myers  17:35

Here’s the the tank. When Hannah said this, I immediately imagined the same thing is like the desert compartment in your stomach.

Hannah Brown  17:46

And now that I’m close to a lot of people that was involved in that show, where they’re like, that’s when we’re like, oh my gosh, we have something here. She has no idea. She’s so innocent and pure. Like, let’s see what we can do it there. And the bachelors the first time I feel like I was fully myself actually, I loved my experience on The Bachelor. I’m very thankful for that.

Elyse Myers  18:07

Was there a point in the show when you kind of chose to just like step into more an honest version of yourself or where you feel like you were that from the beginning?

Hannah Brown  18:17

The first night in my first day, I realized, oh, like I don’t know how to do this, because I was kind of going on that journey. Right before the show and the shows where I think I’ve lost sort of like Who do I want to be like, I feel like I’ve been trying to be this one part of myself. But I don’t know if I can fully like put on the act with cameras around me at all times. Like I am. I am kind and I am smiley, and I am happy. But I do have other varying emotions and like, I’d now talk a lot about the mental health. Like I think I struggle with depression for like a lot of my life and still will have episodes where something times are harder than others. And I never showed that to anyone else. That I can feel feelings deeply. And that usually I just like isolate myself and like step away until I can come back into the way that I want to be able to present to people as who I am. Yeah. So I was like, kind of on that journey myself. And then I realized when I was on that first day that I was going to have to choose what I was going to be because I can’t ride this line it was either like, you’re gonna just fully go into this character that’s not you and be that like pageant patty. Or if you really are like wanting to find a person to spend your life with, is that really how you want them to see you or do you want to be yourself? Yeah, but what I have learned since is that that shows the first time anybody had ever asked me how I felt about anything truly.

Elyse Myers  19:57

What do you mean, like people didn’t ask you in pageantry?

Hannah Brown  20:00

like a real like, how does something make you feel? Or how are you feeling in this moment? Or does this bring up anything from your past? Or what were your past relationships? Like, I’d never been asked those questions. And for me, it was that was so like liberating like, oh, you really want to know how I feel. However, I’ve learned about safe and unsafe places to have conversations like that was a very unsafe place to do that. Because it was the it was like therapy for me.

Elyse Myers  20:32

But it wasn’t being it wasn’t therapy for the people. It was getting information from you.

Hannah Brown  20:36

Yes. It was like, Oh, wow. Like, this girl is so innocent. And like, wow, she’s giving us some great content. And yeah, so I had to, like, realize that but when I got back home, like my whole family knew this notice a difference in me of just like, fully, like being able to be myself and I learned so much about myself on that, on that show, you have a lot of downtime. So I was really like writing all the time about like, what do I want enough person? And how do I want the rest of my what, obviously, what do I see myself? Like in a relationship maybe far? What have I learned in my past relationships? What am I learning in this, you know, weird experiment relationship? And yeah, it was a really powerful time for me. Yeah. So I’ll always be thankful for that.

Elyse Myers  21:30

Time for another break. When we come back, Hannah and I talk about her book. God bless this mess. It seems like you had a hard pivot, right? So you were really involved in TV and reality TV and opportunities that you didn’t have as much like creative control over. And it seems like you went from like being in a ecosystem that it was driving itself to you are now like creating the space that you are driving and like you are the one in control. And so I wanted to know what that feels like. What does it feel different for you when you’re working? When you’re writing when you’re podcasting? What does that feel?

Hannah Brown  24:28

Oh my gosh, yes, feels very different. It’s weird. I say it’s a lot more pressure. I put pressure on myself. But then there’s a lot of pressure, of course, like being a face of like this huge machine too. They both have their own types of pressure. Everything that I do feels really good because I know that I’ve done it for myself, too and that the community that I’m creating as a community that is mine, if that makes sense. And yes, there have been people who have obviously been there from the beginning and then the journey with me but But it’s cool to have other people come like, oh my gosh, I read, they know me from my book, or they know me from different, like just my own social media and like, that is really, really cool. And it’s something that I have more control over. But that also gives me a lot more anxiety, does it? Yes. Because, because if it fails, or if it succeeds, it’s kind of like, I feel like it’s still all on me. It can’t it is. And, and there is no, I can’t blame something on like, oh, well, it was the edit or it was, oh, they took this thing out or whatever. It’s like no, like, good or bad. Like I had to take accountability and responsibility for everything that I put out there. And then it’s harder when you have, you know, any type of response. That is not what you want it to be because it’s on. It’s, it’s more personal, I guess, even though everything that I did was really personal.

Elyse Myers  26:04

When you were writing like, god bless this mess, like, Did it feel like you were like, this is on me, like, Was it scary? Or was it something easier for you to do? Because you were the one making those creative decisions.

Hannah Brown  26:13

I was hard on my heart, it was really, really hard. That was probably one of the hardest seasons of my life. Because I think that was during the time where I was realizing, oh, my gosh, I was in this situation that I didn’t even realize and like I had nobody around me that was supporting me. And like, there, there was somebody to trust in the season or like, this relationship was actually like, really toxic and bad. And I think that’s just part of anybody’s healing journey. Whether they’re writing a book or not. Mine just coincided with me writing a book for the rest of the world.

Elyse Myers  26:49

Especially writing a book that’s about you. I’m currently writing one and I will start a story that isn’t even the sad part. I’m like, this is the funny part to get to the sad part. And that part becomes sad. And you’re like, oh, no, because

Hannah Brown  27:02

Was all like how it actually all started?

Elyse Myers  27:04

Yeah, it’s it is really like, I will have a deadline or something. And I’ll start writing. And I’ll be like, Look, I’m not going to get this to you for like a few more days. Because this took me out a whole day. Yes. Like I it is it is how long did it take you to write it?

Hannah Brown  27:19

It took me two years. Wow, it took a long time.

Elyse Myers  27:22

Two years. Sounds pretty good right now, because I have less than two months to finish my manuscript. So that’s good. And it was, yeah, it was like the roughest. I’m sorry. Don’t be sorry. This isn’t me. This is a this is what people want to know about you. It’s like so real.

Hannah Brown  27:42

But as soon as that book was out, the day it came out, I felt all the weight of the world just like fall off. And because I’m like it’s out there. Now I’m in that with the podcast, too. It’s like, I’m the craziest person during the time of announcing till it actually being like out there to the world. Because once it’s out there, you really don’t have control. And weirdly, for me, that’s the moment where I’m like, Okay, I guess it’s all good. Now it’s all good. Now it’s either like we just see how it goes and move on. I just feel like I like kind of move on to the next thing.

Elyse Myers  28:20

You just finished that in between with your podcast, right? You just launched better tomorrow, better tomorrow with Hannah Brown? Yes. So how did you make the decision to do this?

Hannah Brown  28:28

I always wanted a space to have community and always was interested in like hosting or, like just having conversations with people genuinely my favorite thing to do is talk to strangers and like find something that we can relate to the most terrifying thing I’ve ever heard in my life. When I sit down by somebody on the plane, like, I love when I get to like meet somebody. And I’m telling you some of my best connections have happened by talking to the person next to me. On the plane.

Elyse Myers  28:54

You were telling me that you sit on a plane and you’re like, I can’t wait to talk to the stranger. Oh, well, it depends. Hannah, I sit on a plane and I get anxiety 15 minutes before the plane because I’m like, what if someone talks to me.

Hannah Brown  29:09

So mad, but I think I’m like, very polite about it. I will talk before the plane like we’re taking off because there’s that weird time and I don’t know if they seem interesting. It’s like quiet. Yeah, I’m just like, Hi, how are you? What’s going on? That’s amazing. But then I look at them and I’m like, it was so nice to talk to you. I’m not dead. It’ll look like.

Elyse Myers  29:31

That most awkward part though. Because then you you’re still like an inch away from them. That’s my biggest fear is you’re like Okay, bye. And then you just sit. That is like my greatest fear. This is so wild to me. Because this is basically the same thing as like saying bye to someone and then accidentally walking in the same direction as them but instead of just walking you’re stuck next to them on a plane for two and a half hours if you’re lucky could be longer.

Hannah Brown  30:00

I guess it kind of goes back to like how I like meeting new people, I love to be able to have like impactful conversations with people that I maybe would have never had an opportunity to speak with.

Elyse Myers  30:13

She’s a better person than I am. I’m telling you that right now.

Hannah Brown  30:16

And I learned something about them, and they learn something about me. And you just feel like that closeness. Yeah. I think a podcast is a really unique way to do that. Because it’s also long form. It’s not like, you know, being a host on a show where you have like a five minute interview. I think the whole goal of a podcast is to find those moments, and the, in the conversation where you just feel like going this different level between the two people talking, but then also like, the people that are listening can feel that too. Yeah. And that is something that I’m so excited about just those little nuggets in a conversation that really leave you feeling better, or feeling satisfied, even better is feeling seen or feeling like understood, that is what makes me excited about a podcast. There’s a lot of things that terrify me about a podcast, but those are the things that like make it worth.

Elyse Myers  31:15

What terrifies you?

Hannah Brown  31:18

Just not doing my whatever my best is, like, walking away and being like, Ah, I could have done better i the ad that is what I struggle with most

Elyse Myers  31:29

What are you gauging yourself off of though in that way? Is there a? Is there something you have in your mind of what you think you should be for this podcast?

Hannah Brown  31:36

I want to get off the call and feel like energized, but also like really at peace? Yeah, if that makes I want like both at the same time and feel like I did a good job of facilitating somebody else to feel good and get out what they need to say. Yeah. And if I don’t do that, if I don’t feel like I did that, to the best of my ability. That is where like the fear comes in.

Elyse Myers  32:03

Can I give you like unsolicited advice you did not ask for? Can I get? Can I do that? Perfect. So I want to tell you like the number one thing that I want you to hold on to is like, yes, it’s going to be about the guests that you have. But it’s also like people want to see learn about this person through the lens of you. And so, like, trust yourself, and if it goes totally like off the rails, or if it goes somewhere different, like, that’s because you had the natural inclination to take it there. And that’s important. And the questions you have really matter, because those are the questions people are gonna want to ask to. So just trust yourself.

Hannah Brown  32:37

I appreciate that. I mean, that’s something that I’ve, the past year, I would say it’s been my, like one of those like mantras of like, learning to trust myself and to trust like that, that I can. And that I do have. I think for a while I thought I made so many decisions that like, oh, it’s better for somebody else to run my life or to tell me what to do than, than me run my own. And this podcast is a great exercise of that.

Elyse Myers  33:09

Yeah, thank you Hannah Brown. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I got to meet you. I wish I give you like a huge hug.

Hannah Brown  33:15

No, thank you for having me. And hopefully one day we will get to meet in person. Yeah, I’m just so excited that I could come on and talk to you because I’ve been like fascinated with you. So this was a pleasure for me.

Elyse Myers  33:26

Okay, that’s it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. If you want to check out his book, it’s called God bless this mess. If you like this episode, make sure to give us a little rating and a review. It helps other people find us. All right. We’ll be back next week with more Funny Cuz It’s True, bye. There’s more Funny Cuz It’s True with Lemonada Premium get access to all of Lemonada’s premium content, including my five questions with Andrew Rannells, which aired last week. Subscribe now in Apple podcasts. Funny Cuz It’s True is a Lemonada Media and Powderkeg production. The show is produced by Claire Jones, Zoe Dennis and […], our associate producer is Tiffany Buoy. Rachel Neil is our senior director of new content and our VP of weekly production is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, Paul Feig, Laura Fisher, […] and me Elyse Myers. The show is mixed by Brian Castillo and Johnny Evans. Our theme song music was written by me and scored by Xander Singh.

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