Brooke Blurton has always been upfront about wanting to find her person. After giving love a shot on The Bachelor Australia and Bachelor In Paradise, she's excited to report that she's finally found her match on The Bachelorette Australia.
But while she's beyond thankful now that she took up the chance of being Australia's first ever Indigenous and bisexual Bachelorette, when she was first approached to hand out the roses instead of receive them, she admits she was "absolutely petrified".
"I was scared," Brooke tells TV WEEK. "The last two times, I didn't come out of this how I would have liked to. But being the Bachelorette, I thought, 'This is my chance to actually define who I want in a person.' And they were casting for me, so I knew my chances of finding love were much higher."
When we first met the proud Noongar-Yamatji woman on Nick "The Honey Badger" Cummins' season in 2018, her sexuality was quickly thrust into the spotlight. Even though the then 23-year-old was always upfront about it, she couldn't wrap her head around the way her story would be portrayed.
"It was an unusual world for me to be in," the youth worker says with a laugh. "I'd never really defined myself by labels, and it's hard when you're seeing articles in the media putting labels on you that don't necessarily fit.
"I've been so open and honest about most things in my life, so I wanted my story to not be manipulated or changed in any way to come across as disingenuous."
Three years on, the 26-year-old is wiser and stronger, and proud to share her journey with Australia. Although she's excited to bring positive queer love stories into the mainstream media, she hopes audiences will see there's so much more to her.
"While it's a huge shift to bring my sexuality front and centre, I don't think it's the only thing that defines who I am," she says. "There are other aspects of me that are important too. I hope that people see the positive portrayal, but don't just chuck me into a box."
While Brooke is "bloody excited" for the show, the lead-up hasn't been without heartbreak. During filming, Brooke received news that her sister Kye had tragically passed away.
Stuck in Sydney's COVID lockdown, she applied for a G2G pass to travel home to Western Australia to be with her family. Brooke shared the sad loss with her Instagram followers – not because she felt she had to, but because she wanted to.
"I mostly share and be as transparent as much as I can," she explains. "They've been on this journey with me the last couple of years, so sometimes I feel like I owe it to them to keep them updated, and to be honest about how I'm feeling."
Now, as she awaits the season to roll out on our screens, she's looking forward to when life with her chosen partner can be out in the open.
"Right now, it's [their relationship] all via FaceTime and Zoom and you have to get really creative with keeping it light, fun and entertaining," she says.
"It's really tested both of us in a way, because it's nothing we've been used to. But I think, outside the show, you get to really know one another in this unusual digital world.
"I want to get some normality back into life, doing the relationship things – like going on dates and combining both our worlds. In the next couple of years, I'd love to look at having a family. That's my motivation."