Mike Johnson wants to be known for more than The Bachelorette. “I am so much more than just a contestant on a TV show. Period,” Johnson tells StyleCaster.
As Bachelor Nation members know, Johnson starred on season 15 of The Bachelorette in 2019 and came in sixth before starring on season 6 of Bachelor in Paradise later that summer. Though Johnson credits The Bachelorette for the platform he has now (for one, it’s how he met his roommate, Connor Saeli), Johnson wants his fans to know him for more than six months he spent on reality TV. “I’m an author, I’m a veteran, I’m a mentor with Big Brother Big Sisters. I’m not a person that is stagnant to something I did last year,” he says. “I’m a person who is always forward-thinking. I want to let the world know there’s so much more to me outside of, ‘Who’s Mike dating?’”
Johnson’s desire to show who he is outside of the Bachelor franchise is part of the reason he wrote his new book, Making the Love You Want, which hit shelves on Friday, October 2. “I’ve been alive for 32 years, and I was on TV maybe half of one year,” he says. The book, which Johnson describes as a self-love book, came from a realization that he always had the love he wanted after his time on The Bachelorette. “I was on the show to find love, but I realized that I already had the love I needed,” he says. “I do want love with another, but the love I have with myself is already enough.”
The book, in which Johnson reveals that he contemplated suicide and is a survivor of sexual assault, also comes two years after he experienced a deep depression before his time on The Bachelorette. “Writing a book is a therapy session,” Johnson says of how the book helped him with his depression. “In order to get over it, you need to go through it. I had to go through a lot of pain and a lot of things that I tried to bury, so now I can come over it and get over it.”
Ahead, StyleCaster talked to Johnson about why he’s nervous for his parents to read Making the Love You Want, why he decided to write about his sexual assault and the advice he gave to Matt James and Tayshia Adams as the next Black Bachelor and Black Bachelorette.
On the meaning of the title, Making the Love You Want
“Making the Love You Want, to me, is just that. I want everyone to know they have the ability to create the life that they want. They have the ability to create the love that they truly desire.”
On why he’s nervous for his parents to read the book
“The hardest part of the book would be the conversation I have to have with my mom and my father because the things I write in the book, they don’t even know yet. I don’t want them to feel like they didn’t protect me or couldn’t protect me. These are things I chose to withhold at the time and to deal with, probably because I don’t want to make my mother cry. My mother, she has this motherly instinct. She wants to protect me at all times. Once she finds out that my life was almost taken on different occasions, it may be a shock to her ears.”
On why he decided to write about his sexual assault
“I practice what I preach. Like Brené Brown says, ‘Vulnerability is a connector.’ I don’t think most people would ever know that about me. The way I carry about myself, the way people have misconceptions of people who are victims of sexual harassment and/or sexual assault. For me, it allowed people to connect with me on a deeper level, without thinking, ‘Oh. This is just a reality TV personality or this is just a guy with a cute smile.’ But now, it’s going to be more of, ‘This is someone who speaks honestly. This is someone who speaks real. This is someone who has a voice and is not scared to speak on his story, so it can help their story.’”
On how The Bachelorette gave him a “platform” for his book
“I’m super elated and blessed to have been in that experience. That experience will always be with me. I will always have sprinkles of that in my life everyday, from my roommate, who is Connor, who I met from the show, to business associates that I have now and will have in the future that developed from the show. Chris Harrison, he gave me a quote that’s on the cover of the book. I love my time on the show. It’s the only reason I have a platform to speak.”
On Matt and Tayshia being the next Black Bachelor and Bachelorette
“They’re more than the color of their skin, but to state the obvious, they are a Black man and woman, That’s an amazing thing. I do feel that it shouldn’t have taken an outcry from my beautiful fans in order for this to happen. I think that shows how awesome our fans are and I’m glad that the franchise is listening to their fanbase because at the end of the day, we’re nothing without our family, and that’s what I call our fans.”
I do think the elephant in the room is that, out of all the Bachelors prior to Matt, there were none that were full African American or Indian or Latino or Asian descent. Myself and the audience noticed that. We’re human beings, It’s something we would never not notice. I love our fans who are acknowledging that.”
On the advice he gave to Matt
“I reached out to him personally. We talk occasionally. Not everyday. I reached out to Tayshia too. I remember talking to Matt in November of last year, just telling him, if he goes onto the show to treat women the way his mother told him to be, make sure he has an amazing body and just go along for the ride. That’s my personality. I’m sweet, but I’m also really honest. Make sure your body looks good, bro.”
On if he would ever return to a Bachelor show
“If I am not in love, I have no opposition to not do it.”
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