Bachelor Nick Viall has has been on a long and laborious journey to find love, and it’s so close. The season 21 lead, also a finalist on two seasons of The Bachelorette, is hoping to find clarity in Finland with his final three contestants. Ahead of next week’s three-hour special, The Knot clues Bachelor Nation in on everything there is to know about Vanessa Grimaldi, Rachel Lindsay, and Raven Gates.
Vanessa, 29, is a special education teacher from Montreal, Quebec. The Canadian educator first made a lasting impression on Nick when she introduced herself to him at the Bachelor Mansion… en Francais. Her last serious relationship ended three years ago and she’s avoided the dating scene since then. In fact, a friend secretly submitted Vanessa’s photo to Bachelor producers, and she was shocked when she got the call to audition.
The finalist comes from a close-knit Italian family and was first drawn to Nick because he’s family-oriented. Prior to the show, Vanessa opted out of research. “I told myself, ‘I’m coming in on a clean slate, so it’s only fair that I do the same for him.’” she told Glamour.
During hometown dates, viewers got an inside look at Vanessa’s work with adult-age, special needs students at her school in Montreal. Since her parents are divorced, Vanessa introduced her mom and dad separately to Nick. Both parents expressed concern about Nick’s intentions, and Vanessa’s sister even questioned whether her sibling had thoroughly considered the relationship.
Nick also asked Vanessa’s father for his blessing if and when he proposed, which prompted Mr. Grimaldi to give a resounding “no” as his response. After the tense sit-down, Vanessa’s father eventually gave Nick his blessing, though the Bachelor expressed that he wished the meeting had gone better.
Vanessa is anxious to start a family. “I’m 28 years old, and that’s something I’m starting to think of,” she told Glamour. “I’m not in a rush. I don’t want to have kids with just anyone. But I definitely want to start a family and have what my family has.”
Rachel, 31, is an attorney from Dallas, Texas, who was not a member of Bachelor Nation before becoming a contestant. “My coworkers actually signed me up,” she revealed in an interview with People. Ironically, Rachel shared in her contestant profile that one of her biggest regrets has been “focusing too much on my career.”
Rachel received Nick’s first impression rose on the season premiere. The chemistry between them has been unmistakable ever since. During a wildly romantic one-on-one date in New Orleans, Nick revealed that he had “the most explosive chemistry with Rachel.”
While visiting Dallas, Nick set Rachel’s mother’s mind at ease by explaining that he had a connection with Rachel from the very beginning. “I always feel the most comfortable with myself when I’m with Rachel,” he added in the confessional.
Earlier this month, viewers were shocked when it was revealed that Rachel–a fan favorite–will be the next Bachelorette. With weeks until the finale, fans couldn’t fathom why Nick would send her home.
“He let me go,” Rachel said in a candid interview with Ellen DeGeneres. “I was shocked, too. I really thought Nick and I had a strong connection, and I was pretty heartbroken when it happened… but I’ve moved on since then.”
Raven, 25, is a fashion boutique owner from Hoxie, Arkansas, who made a cheerful introduction during the opening rose ceremony. However, what Nick seems to appreciate most about Raven is the fact that she’s straightforward.
Like Nick, Raven’s parents have been married for over 30 years. “When I first applied, I came out of a terrible breakup and didn’t think I’d date again,” Raven told Glamour. “But at the end of the night, when I’m all alone and by myself, I still want to be a wife and a mother.”
Raven was excited to learn Nick was the next Bachelor, but not as ecstatic as her Bachelor-obsessed best friend. “I was like, ‘Please don’t tell me anything about him, ’cause I want it to be super organic when I meet him.’ I mean, as organic as it can be,” she recalled.
Since Nick is dating multiple women, Raven has yet to see the one trait she deems as most important. “Loyalty, loyalty, and loyalty,” she said when asked what she needs in a relationship. “In past relationships, I’ve never found a true, loyal person. And I’m a Leo, so I’m super loyal. I need someone to be super loyal back!”
Nick’s visit to Raven’s hometown went relatively smooth, but Raven backed out from telling Nick she loved him at the end of the evening. She got a second chance in Finland when Nick invited her on the first fantasy suite date. Raven took the opportunity to reveal her love for Nick, as well as the fact that she’s never had an orgasm.
Tune in to next week’s three-hour Bachelor special, airing Monday, March 6 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC