Rachel Recchia and Blake Moynes know what it feels like to have their happily ever afters shatter in the final hour. Moynes ended his engagement to Katie Thurston in 2021. Meanwhile, former Bachelorette star Recchia called off her 2022 engagement to Tino Franco following his confession of infidelity. Now, with the debut of Bachelor in Paradise Season 9, both have stepped onto the sandy branches of Mexico with healed hearts and a renewed hopefulness about finding love.
Before BIP’s season 9 premiere, Shadow and Act headed to Mexico and chatted with Moynes and Recchia about returning to Bachelor Nation, giving love another try and what they hope to gain from this new experience.
“They haven’t really panned out, of course, how I wanted, but I’m so excited to be back,” Recchia said. “I think this really does work. And all my friends who have been here before have had good experiences, so I’m excited to see what happens.”
For Moynes, who has appeared twice on The Bachelorette, BIP is a chance for a new experience without being put in the same position yet again. “I would never do Bachelorette again,” he explains. “That realm was too much, but this is a different environment, so I’m hoping that things turn out better for me this time around.”
Though Moynes says he doesn’t have a strategy for dating and finding companionship on BIP, he does have a different approach. “I think I’m just trying to come in very open-minded, very easy-going, and just kind of see how things flow,” he says. “There’s going to be a lot more people here to connect with, so I don’t have to feel like I’m chasing one person. I don’t have to prove myself to one person. Hopefully, the love finds me anyway. I feel like there’s not one great way to go about it because everyone has ups and downs through this process. And I think there are just so many scenarios that it’s impossible to pinpoint the right way to go about it. I think you just have to be yourself and hope for the best.”
Meanwhile, Recchia is more than willing to get the inside scoop and take the advice of friends who have already been to the beach. “They really have told me to go down, keep an open mind, always just be open to the process here. It is a lot different than The Bachelor and Bachelorette, so even though it’s different, I’m excited to see what this new challenge brings,” she says.
Moynes is hoping that his easy-going personality shines through. And he is also open about who he’d love to see on the island. “I’m trying to be as open-minded as I can because I tend to focus in and think I know someone before I actually do,” he says. “There’s a lot of great-looking women. Obviously, Kat, Jess, Ariel – Zach [Shellcross] ‘s women. I didn’t watch the season, but hopefully, I can learn more about them when I’m there.”
Recchia says she’s refined what she wants in a romantic partner in this new sunny setting, especially following her failed engagement. “I think I’ve always looked for the same values and morals in a partner, and that is still similar,” she explains. “But hopefully, I’m able to form deep connections in a way I couldn’t on the other shows. But I’m just excited to meet the new guys and see who I have a connection with. I have learned so many lessons. I really think I’m completely changed as a person just from what I’ve been through. Even though some is good, some is bad. I’m definitely so much stronger than I thought. Going through it, I feel like it’s just helped me learn lessons I couldn’t without it.”
As far as taking the major step toward engagement, Recchia, who has healed from her past experience, has an open mind. “I think to be engaged again, it would be definitely something I have to heavily consider and weigh the options for,” she says. “I never say never. But it’s definitely going to be a very big decision if I was ever in that position.”
Like Recchia, Moynes also wants to take his time this time around. “I’ve learned that I can fall hard,” he explains.” And I chase that fantasy love when it’s easy to do that here, clearly. So, I’m trying to slow things down, not fall so hard, and take time. I give a lot of my trust pretty quickly, so maybe making people earn it is a better idea this time around.”
Bachelor in Paradise Season 9 debuts Sept. 28 at 9 p.m. on ABC