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Hannah Brown Was ‘Broken’ After Reality TV Journey: I Didn’t ‘Like’ Myself

Hannah Brown has come a long way since Bachelor Nation met her on Colton Underwood’s season of The Bachelor — and the 26-year-old former Miss Alabama could barely recognize herself after her whirlwind journey as The Bachelorette and mirrorball winner on Dancing With the Stars.

“When I think of Hannah then and I was also looking at my journals today, I’m like, ‘Oh, sweet baby,’” Brown told fellow former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe on a recent episode of “Off the Vine” podcast. “[I was] just was so doe-eyed and so innocent.”

Brown, who was briefly engaged to Jed Wyatt after season 15 of The Bachelorette, told Bristowe, 35, that she struggled watching the season 16 premiere.

“I’m proud of my season and how I grew from that, but to know that there has been a lot that’s happened since then and to watch somebody else and realize that was me. People were sitting like I was, watching me, like, do my life, not play a character,” she explained. “And I think about the impact of all that. [What] people saw on TV wasn’t just a two-hour week thing that then got talked about Twitter. No, I’m still healing and learning from that first two hours I was ever on TV and just realizing the impact … like a whole season later was difficult. I want to watch [Clare Crawley] and be a part of it, but I definitely think that there’s a part of me that has to step back a little.”

Following her brief engagement to Wyatt, who got caught lying on the show about his past relationship, Brown competed on and won season 28 of DWTS. After riding the high of winning the competition show, Brown came under fire for singing the N-word in May.

“Me being me is making some big mistakes, but those victories that I do have are going to be so much more impactful and satisfying for me,” she said, hinting at the controversy.

The Alabama native added that she’s working with a therapist and a life coach.

“For my career to be what I want it to be, I’d got to, like, know Hannah, and know exactly what motives me and not just externally but internally and I think I’m still in that discovery mode,” she told Bristowe. “Ultimately, what I think I’ve been put on this earth to do is connect with people.”

Scroll through for everything we learned from Brown: