‘The Bachelorette’: Mario Vassall Says Receiving Gabby’s First Impression Rose Made Him ‘Feel Pressured to Stand Out’

The Bachelorette Season 19 premiered on July 11, 2022. This season the producers are using a new format to spice things up on the long-running reality dating show. This season features two leads – Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia. Both women choose from a group of 32 men as they hope to find the one. Gabby’s First Impression Rose went to Mario Vassall, but the honor didn’t come without complications.

'The Bachelorette' contestant Mario Vassall received the First Impression Rose from Gabby. He's seen here wearing a tan shirt in a promotional image for the show.
‘The Bachelorette’ stars Mario Vassall | ABC/Ricky Middlesworth

Mario Vassall initially felt a connection with ‘Bachelorette’ lead Rachel Recchia

After watching the first episode of The Bachelorette, fans realize how complicated this season might be with two leads. To make matters worse, it doesn’t seem like the show’s producers put much thought into how everything would play out. When the women asked host Jesse Palmer how they should decide on their choices, he basically shrugged his shoulders and said it was “their journey.” 

However, it’s equally complicated for the men who must decide between the two leads. Mario stopped by Bachelor Happy Hour to speak with the hosts, and former Bachelorettes, Becca Kufrin and Michelle Young.

Mario confessed that Rachel caught his eyes at first. “When I got out of the limo and I did my first impression of Rachel and Gabby, I actually felt like I made a connection with Rachel initially because she kind of grabbed my hands. She’s from Chicago.”

Mario continued, “I walked into the mansion, and then I saw Gabby in front, and at this point, I’m just looking to get to know the both of them because I don’t really know them. Went to the front, and had a great conversation with Gabby. We connected and that eventually led to the kiss and the First Impression Rose.”

RELATED: ‘The Bachelorette’: Rachel’s Top 4 and Hometown Dates Revealed by Reality Steve

The First Impression Rose made Mario Vassall ‘feel pressured to stand out’

Historically, the men who receive the First Impression Rose on The Bachelorette have a higher chance of getting chosen as the winner in the finale. However, it also comes with somewhat of a target on their backs.

“I knew that it was a big deal, I was excited to get it from Gabby. She’s got a lot of personality, she’s not playing games, so to get it from her meant something too. I think it hit me the next day. Everyone else kind of just got a rose too. They saw past the Rose Ceremony, but I stood out to her and that meant a lot to me,” Mario told Becca and Michelle.

The hosts asked The Bachelorette contestant how felt receiving the First Impression Rose. Mario replied, “Initially, I was kind of comfortable, but after a while, it was like, ‘Ok, there’s this pressure to perform now. Maybe perform isn’t the best word, but there’s this pressure to stand out. I just wanted to be in a place where I was still myself and comfortable. But you feel this need to step it up even more because that First Impression Rose is a big deal and I stood out. I was like, ‘Ok, how can I continue to stay in the Mario lane and also continue to build that relationship with Gabby?”

Even though he got Gabby Windey’s First Impression Rose on ‘The Bachelorette,’ Mario Vassas is still open to testing the waters with Rachel Recchia

The Bachelorette contestant admitted to feeling a connection with Rachel first, even though he connected with Gabby later that night. However, Mario was still open to testing the waters with Rachel. 

Gabby said something during the toast after the first Rose Ceremony that made Mario realize he didn’t necessarily want to put all his eggs in one basket. Becca and Michelle asked if Mario still considered a chance with Rachel after receiving Gabby’s First Impression Rose.

Mario said, “I was still open to test the waters with Rachel. After we got the First Impression Rose, standing there during the rose ceremony and we did our toast. And Gabby goes, ‘There’s still so many of you I haven’t connected with.’ Even during the toast I was trying to stand by her. I think that when she said that, I was like ‘Ok, it’s still early. This rose is huge. I’m still trying to see how things are going to play out.’ Gabby and I had a great connection, but I’m still open to having a conversation with Rachel. So, I wasn’t necessarily 100% locked in on Gabby. I still wanted to get to know Rachel.”

Fans can watch how the drama plays out in new episodes of The Bachelorette on Monday nights on ABC.

RELATED: ‘The Bachelorette’: Gabby Windey’s Top 4 and Hometown Dates Revealed by Reality Steve