The Bachelor’s Joey on Why Lea Got His First Impression Rose


Lea Cayanan was the lucky recipient of Joey Graziadei’s first impression rose on season 28 of The Bachelor. The tennis instructor used his own experience on The Bachelorette as guidance for how he made his first big decision on the show.

“I kind of thought about it maybe a little differently than other people did,” Joey, 28, told Deadline. “I always remembered from when I was in the house how much pressure the first impression rose is [and] how much you have a target on your back. I thought it should definitely go to someone who I thought can not only handle that, but take it in stride. I just knew that not only was it something that she deserved, but I thought she would be able to handle that pressure pretty well because it’s a tough position to be in.”

Lea, 23, actually came into the mansion with a target on her back because she had already gotten a chance to meet Joey during After the Final Rose on The Bachelorette in August 2023. The Hawaii native was given a secret letter at the live show and was told that she couldn’t open it until night one of filming.


During The Bachelor premiere, viewers saw that Lea’s card gave her the opportunity to steal a one-on-one date from someone else. “It was kind of my biggest fear [that it] would be something like that, that would affect the experience not only for myself but the other women that were involved,” Joey explained. “My main thing … I was just trying to make her feel better. Because I could feel in that moment, even before she read the card, how much it was difficult for her. So it was less about how I was feeling at that time. I was just trying to reassure her to make her feel better.”

Lea decided that she didn’t want to use the advantage, as she wanted to rely on her chemistry with Joey as she moved forward. She threw the note in the fire as she made her declaration.

“All I knew was she said to me when she first read it that she was thinking about throwing it in the fire,” Joey revealed. “I think before I ended up giving her the first impression rose, someone through the grapevine told me that she actually did that. So just her attitude about it was what was most important to me but to also find out that she actually did that … I was pretty blown away.”

While Joey had a strong connection with Lea off the bat, there were also plenty of other women who caught his eye. “I don’t know how I could ever [prepare] for [dating 32 women at once],” he admitted. “It just feels kind of wrong from time to time. But, for me, what was most important was getting to know them. I just wanted to make sure I gave every woman a fair shake [and] get to know them as much as I could.”

The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Las Vegas News Magazine

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