Constance Zimmer is no stranger to reality TV drama. The Emmy-nominated actress starred in Lifetime’s critically acclaimed drama UnREAL, based on the behind-the-scenes chaos of a dating reality show. The show ran for four seasons from 2015 to 2018.
While hers may have been fiction, the Bachelor Nation is facing its own controversy, after Chris Harrison defended Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s past racist actions. Both Harrison and Kirkconnell have since apologized, however, the host announced over the weekend that he is “stepping aside” from the franchise for a “period of time.”
“Well, one, I’m glad that they finally have an African American Bachelor. I mean, my god!” Zimmer, who guest hosted ET on Wednesday, told ET’s Kevin Frazier about current Bachelor Matt James, before adding, “I hate to say I’m not surprised by controversy on that show. That’s gonna be what it feeds off of, or what the fans feed off of.”
“Look, they fed off of it on our show and our show wasn’t real, and reality shows are not real. Sorry, hate to say it. But they’re gonna use the stuff you think they’re not gonna use and that exposes people,” she continued. “It’s tough, but I’m glad that Chris stood up for understanding what he did was wrong and was like, ‘I’ll go away now.'”
Just after James’ Bachelor premiere last month, a TikTok user accused Kirkconnell — an early front-runner on the show — of bullying her in the past for dating Black men. Then, another user accused Kirkconnell of liking racist photos. Pics have also surfaced of Kirkconnell at an Old South plantation-themed party while in college.
Kirkconnell apologized in a statement on Instagram on Thursday, expressing that she hoped to “earn your forgiveness through my future actions.” Harrison also published his own statement after receiving backlash from his interview with Rachel Lindsay talking about Kirkconnell’s actions. He was even met with backlash from former Bachelor and Bachelorette stars.
The controversy, noted Zimmer, is like a page ripped out of UnREAL. She noted that they were given “so much crap” for their extravagant storylines and people saying “no way this would happen and this was way too unrealistic.”
“And then stuff [that] we were doing on our show was happening on TheBachelor or TheBachelorette or any of these shows,” Zimmer recalled. “It was like, You might not have wanted to see it, but look what we broke open.”
“We pushed a lot of buttons on that show, and I’m glad we did, and I’m glad we fought to push them because how else do we get people talking?” she said. “Beyond entertainment purposes, we have a platform to educate and try to humanize, not politicize but humanize, what was going on in the world.”
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Zimmer, meanwhile, is making her debut on season 3 of Good Trouble. On the Freeform series, she plays an intimidating defense attorney who is ready to take no prisoners.
“It’s so interesting because I feel like I’m not that in real life,” she relayed. “So it’s fascinating to me that all the characters I play are. Everyone always thinks I’m super secure, that I’m fierce, I don’t apologize, that I’m unfiltered. And no, I’m super insecure. I’m not as fierce as I play on television. I just get it all out on television and then when I’m home I’m like, ‘I’m so sorry, what do you need? So you need something? Are you OK?'”
“People tell me I’m a good actor, but I don’t know [where it comes from],” she added. “I think it’s interesting. It’s got to be in there somewhere…I have to say, something else takes over and it’s a very bizarre actor speak but it’s true. It’s exhausting playing these characters that are so confident and just do not give a crap about what anybody says about them. I wish I had some of these personality types that I play.”
Watch Zimmer on the season 3 premiere of Good Trouble, airing Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 10 p.m. on Freeform.
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