The 7 best and 7 worst bachelorettes in Bachelorette history

Let's be honest, being the star of The Bachelorette can't be easy. Sure, you have over a dozen men competing for your affections, but the amount of he-said-she-said hijinks and producer-induced sob sessions has to be draining. That isn't even taking into account all the pressure on social media — people judging you for every little thing you do. 

It takes a lot to endure all that and still remain entertaining and respectful. Some bachelorettes flourish in their role, while others... not so much. It's worth noting that it's really nothing personal — even some of the "worst" bachelorettes have gone on to accomplish incredible achievements, and appear to be awesome women.

The Bachelor just finished its 23rd season, and now it's time for Hannah Brown to take up the mantle in this three-ring circus. Luckily for her, she has plenty of research to delve into to prepare herself. With a new Bachelorette just starting her journey, let's take a look back at all those that have come before her and see where they succeeded or failed. Here are the seven best and seven worst Bachelorettes in the franchise's history.

Best: Rachel Lindsay

It's really embarrassing that it took thirteen seasons for us to get an African-American Bachelorette, but Rachel Lindsay was well worth the wait. Lindsay was a great conversationalist and whip smart. DeMario Jackson might have made a fool of himself by trying to weasel his way out of a lie, but Lindsay won our hearts early on by holding her ground with grace and intelligence. Then, of course, there was Peter. Peter Kraus quickly became one of the most beloved contestants of the entire show and the audience wasn't the only one falling for his charm

Sadly, though, Kraus didn't think he could propose to Lindsay in the season finale, leading to perhaps the most heartbreaking breakup in the entire show. Rachel gave us everything we wanted: drama, fun, romance, and even thought-provoking conversations about race. She elevated the show to new heights, and frankly, it hasn't reached that high point since her departure. At least Lindsay got her happy ending and will marry her beloved Bryan Abasolo in August 2019.

Worst: DeAnna Pappas

It's rough when even Chris Harrison doesn't agree with your choice. In the grand scheme of things, what happens to a Bachelor or Bachelorette's relationship post-show is important. For one thing, it breaks the illusion if the couple breaks it off less than a year after the finale. Second, it speaks to the star's emotional intelligence in choosing the right person for them. DeAnna started by dumping fan favorite Jason Mesnick. Then, she broke it off with her winner, Jesse Csincsak, under pretty messy circumstances. Harrison told Los Angeles' radio show Valentine in the Morning, "DeAnna... she's getting some really bad advice. Unfortunately she's getting this [advice] from people who are supposedly in Hollywood. ...He [Jesse] really, truly loved DeAnna." 

It comes off as immaturity on Pappas' part, which puts into perspective her very off-the-cuff behavior on the show. Pappas even admits that Csincsak was the wrong choice in an interview with Cosmopolitan. "I was stuck in a relationship with someone that I hated for a very long time, because I tried desperately to make it work." That is perhaps the complete opposite of what fans want to see out of the show. Nevertheless, DeAnna did end up finding love through The Bachelor franchise. She married Stephan Stagliano, brother of Bachelorette contestant Michael Stagliano, in October 2011 and they have two children together.

Best: Trista Sutter

Trista Sutter was the very first Bachelorette and really started the series off on a high note. Compared to a lot of the insanity that goes on in newer seasons, Season 1 seems very tame, but that's part of what makes it so pure and enjoyable. "I kissed three guys," Sutter told US Weekly. "And I think that the kisses are a little more plentiful [now]. It was a little more innocent when Ryan and I were on." Who didn't love watching the Bachelorette fall in love with the sensitive firefighter? The romance practically writes itself!

Trista and Ryan Sutter ended up having their wedding televised, the first wedding of the series to be broadcast. Years later and the couple is still going strong. Trista posted a heartfelt message on Instagram for their 15th anniversary and if it doesn't tug at your heart strings, nothing will. "Thank you for loving me for me... not fame or glory or just to "win" that final rose," Sutter writes, "You and our family are the best part of our story..." We all can only hope that someday we find that kind of happy ending!

Worst: Jen Schefft

It's one thing for the audience to be bored, but quite another for the actual star to be bored. Jen always looked "over it" throughout her season. The disinterest not only made for a pretty boring season, but led to one of the most annoying conclusions ever with Jen rejecting both of her two remaining suitors. Brad Womack can tell you just how popular that kind of decision is. By not picking anyone, Jen made the season feel like a waste of time. Audiences were rightfully pissed off.

After Jen's season, there wasn't another Bachelorette until DeAnna three years later. Really, it just seems like Jen wasn't a good fit for the franchise, and the whole season left everyone with a bad taste in their mouth. Jen left the reality tv world and settled down with Joe Waterman, who she met on a blind date. She lives in Ohio with him and their two daughters.

Best: Ashley Herbert

Ashley Herbert was just the right amount of vulnerable, without coming across as too unstable. Herbert undeservedly had a rough start. Contestants walking into the house thought they would be getting Emily Maynard, and some of them even brought it up during the roast date (worst idea for a date ever, by the way). Her season also had one of the most devious villains ever, Bentley Williams. He straight up said that he was out to make Herbert cry, the only way he could be more maniacal is if he twisted a curly mustache.

Thankfully, besides the nastiness, there was also a lot of sweetness. Once Williams kindly sashayed away, J.P. Rosenbaum slid right into Herbert's heart. Herbert and Rosenbaum sharing an adorable pajama night-in date (best idea for a date ever, by the way) immediately endeared us to their story. Herbert's insecurities made her relatable, and it was very swoon-worthy to watch Rosenbaum sweep her off her feet. The two are still married and raising a family together.

Worst: Andi Dorfman

It's difficult to place Andi Dorfman in the "worst" category because she did have an entertaining season. Plus, no one can argue that her shutdown of Juan Pablo Galavis is nothing less than iconic. Dorfman can stick to her guns, and that's a good thing. Ultimately, it's a few odd decisions on her part that have landed her here. Perhaps the most controversial being Nick Viall and Dorfman's fantasy suite date. Andi in After the Final Rose pretty much confirms that she knew she would pick Josh Murray at the end. Therefore, regardless of how you feel about Viall publicly announcing that they sealed the deal, it can come across as insensitive that she would take things that far in the fantasy suite.

And, of course, there's the fact that she picked Murray at all. Throughout the season, Dorfman states that she doesn't want to go for her usual type of athletic jocks who treat her badly. So, naturally, she picks the athletic jock that treats her badly. As a viewer, it's frustrating to watch the star say one thing and then act the complete opposite way. It's unfortunate that things ended this way for such a strong lead. Hopefully Dorfman will find her own happiness someday with someone that deserves her.

Best: Desiree Hartsock

The drama was fairly low during Desiree Hartsock's season, which makes some fans label it as "boring." However, Hartsock made up for the lack of petty in-fighting with sincerity and humor. She came across as very sweet and more laid-back than other Bachelorette stars. The show felt less like a hyper-produced reality show and more like a documentary with Hartsock in the driver's seat. She always took the process seriously and gave the men the respect they deserved, even when she was breaking their heart.

This made the shocking last minute breakup with Brooks Forester all the more heart-wrenching. The tears and emotion over Forester made audiences think that Chris Siegfried was Hartsock's second choice and a "consolation prize" more than a future husband. Nevertheless, they are still together with two children. Her season may not be enough for the more drama-centric viewers, but Hartsock delivered an authentic Bachelorette experience.

Worst: Becca Kufrin

In hindsight, it was way too soon for Becca Kufrin to be The Bachelorette. She was the obvious choice, and audiences rallied to her side after Arie blindsided her to be with Lauren Bushnel. Things started off okay when Kufrin began her journey to find her own love, but the cracks started to show soon after. Kufrin was easily frustrated with the standard Bachelorette drama and would cancel cocktail parties pretty often. To be fair to Kufrin, production made some really bizarre choices in casting the men that would pursue her.

Even when Kufrin had her head in the game the season was just frankly boring. The goodwill that Kufrin had built up from her heartbreak was pretty much spent by the time she got engaged to Garrett Yrigoyen. This wasn't helped by the fact that Yrigoyen got some heat near the end of the season for his social media activity. Perhaps with time, Kufrin's season will be remembered more fondly. For now, though, it's not recommended for a re-watch. 

Best: Kaitlyn Bristowe

Kaitlyn Bristowe's season started off with a bang with one of the most unique and eventful premieres in Bachelorette history. It's hard to argue that Bristowe wasn't beloved when she was literally voted to be the Bachelorette. Nothing sells a romance more than authenticity, and Bristowe was always 100% herself. The dates, oh boy the dates, really showed off the wild and fun side of the show. What other season had both a boxing match date and a sumo wrestling date? 

Nick Viall's return was highly controversial, but in the good way that just added to how iconic Bristowe's season was. It felt like anything could happen and the show felt fresher than it had in a long time. Bristowe took everything they threw at her in stride, providing a great watching experience. Bristowe and Shawn Booth split up in November 2018, but she started a romance with former Bachelorette contestant Jason Tartick in January 2019.

Worst: Emily Maynard

After Ashley Herbert's season, the contestants finally got who they had been waiting for: Emily Maynard. And it was... underwhelming. This is a bit of a middle-of-the-road season, but what tips it over is the fact that if Maynard hadn't rejected Arie, he would have never been the bachelor. She could have spared all of us from a season of "I love that." Still, it feels like kicking a puppy saying that Maynard is one of the worst considering her long history of heartbreak

It could simply be that, unlike Desiree Hartsock's season, there just aren't any memorable moments that stick with viewers. Not an egregious crime, of course, but these "best" and "worst" decisions are burdens we simply have to take on. Maynard broke up with her final pick, Jef Holm, in October 2012. Thankfully, after two failed engagements, Maynard found happiness and married Taylor Johnson in a fairytale, rustic wedding in a South Carolina barn on June 7, 2014. 

Best: Joelle "JoJo" Fletcher

Joelle "JoJo" Fletcher had Becca Kufrin's same questionable quality of guys to choose from, but had way more fun with it. Plus, who doesn't love a little southern charm? It was pretty much love at first sight for Fletcher as she saw Jordan Rodgers walk out. The season was admittedly a bit predictable because of that, but Fletcher was able to endear us the whole time. 

In a weird way Fletcher's "villains" helped by adding some chaos to an otherwise straightforward season. Brian "Chad" Johnson lived up to the douche-y "Chad" title and continuously ruffled feathers in the house. Rodgers proposed to Fletcher in the season finale and the two are still together. No wedding date has been set, but the couple has their own YouTube channel showcasing their life together. Even though it's now been two years since the season ended, Fletcher continues to outshine the newer Kufrin season.

Worst: Meredith Phillips

Meredith Phillips committed the worst crime in reality television: she bored the audience. Phillips starred in the second season ever and she was no match to follow in the big shoes of Trista's charming love story. There's a case to be made that she's the most forgettable Bachelorette in the show's history. Her break up with her winner, Ian Mckee, started the long trend of Bachelorettes not ending up with their final pick, and thus painted the franchise in a bad light. 

It wasn't until her life after the show that Phillips began to gain some attention. She spoke up about her struggle with alcoholism, and further criticized the show for its emphasis on pushing alcohol on the contestants. Even more shocking are her allegations that a masseuse sexually assaulted her while the show was filming. It's clear that life has been less than kind to Phillips, but she's optimistic. She is married to her former high school sweetheart, Michael Broady, and is working on life post-addiction. In an interview with People, Phillips admits, "It's not fun to start over again at 39, but life is short. And I have a second chance."

Best: Jillian Harris

In the long desert of questionable Bachelorettes, there was Jillian Harris. Harris also did not end up with her pick, Ed Swiderski, but her season still has enough good in it. Harris had a great sense of humor and, even when things were hard, she continued to captivate the audience with her charm. The two might not still be together, but Harris and Swiderski's journey on the show was quite memorable, with Swiderski leaving in the middle only to return when he realized his mistake.

Harris also gave us another great relationship with Reid Rosenthal. Even after the show ended, Rosenthal still clearly had feelings for Harris in a show of sincerity the series often lacks. If you can't get enough of Harris, you can still find her on reality TV, but this time she's over on HGTV hosting Love It or List It Vancouver. It's clear that she has a charisma about her that is simply made for TV.

Worst: Ali Fedotowsky

Watching Ali Fedotowsky as The Bachelorette is kind of like watching a kid in a candy store, tantrums included. Fedotowsky was a pretty surprising pick from the 14th season of The Bachelor. She talked a lot of smack about fellow contestant Vienna Girardi (probably deservedly, to be fair), and came off as a semi-villain. In her own Bachelorette season, when Francis "Frank" Neuschaefer decided to call things off because of feelings for his ex-girlfriend, Fedotowsky sort of brushes him off and goes off on her own to sulk. Of course she was hurt, but this is pretty cold and, frankly, an emotionally immature reaction considering Neuschaefer was a final three contestant. 

When the situations are flipped, though, Fedotowsky feels differently. She confronted Justin Rego in front of the rest of the house about his girlfriend and demanded he stick around to talk with her. Admittedly, it's hilarious to watch Fedotowsky cry, "You'll regret this!" as Rego retreats as far as he can. Fedotowsky broke up with fiancée Roberto Martinez in 2011.