If there was one contestant on Clayton Echard’s season of “The Bachelorette” that viewers were rooting for, it was Gabriela "Gabby" Windey.
Bachelor Nation had high expectations for the 31-year-old intensive care unit nurse before she even stepped out of the limo. After her ABC cast bio was released, Dean Unglert, first seen on Rachel Lindsay’s season of “The Bachelorette,” revealed that he had previously dated Windey in college on his podcast “Help! I Suck At Dating” in October.
Unglert also made a bold prediction about Windey at the time: She would either get engaged to the Bachelor or become the next Bachelorette. And he was right.
When Season 19 of "The Bachelorette" premieres in July, viewers will see Windey — former NFL cheerleader and current fan favorite — find love among 32 contestants. The show's 19th season makes history as the first to feature two bachelorettes simultaneously. Rachel Recchia, also from Echard's season, will join Windey.
The first teaser released for the season shows the friends putting their spin on an iconic line from “Mean Girls” and Windey joking about shopping for a husband. Looks like Windey will be bringing her wit and humor to the upcoming season, which premieres on Monday, July 11 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Before watching Windey (hopefully) find the love she jokes about in the clip, here’s everything you need to know about her.
She works at a hospital in Colorado
Windey is an ICU nurse at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colo. She has worked as a nurse since she was 22, and said she has always loved her job.
“I’ve always loved being a nurse. I’m grateful to have given back," Windey said during a recent appearance on “Talking It Out,” a "Bachelor" podcast, per a clip posted on Instagram.
But that doesn't mean it's easy. When asked about working on the frontlines of the pandemic, she responded, “It’s been hard.”
“Death and dying are often in the forefront. But then COVID exacerbated that," she said.
In the spring of 2020, Windey spoke to the Athletic about what was unfolding. “We are used to change. But it is hard and, of course, this is different because of the seriousness of it and how many people it’s affecting,” she said.
She was a cheerleader for the Denver Broncos
Prior to being "The Bachelor," Windey split her time as an ICU nurse and a cheerleader for the Denver Broncos.
She joined the squad in 2015 and left in 2021, but not before receiving Pop Warner Humanitarian Award. The award is typically given to NFL players; Windey is the first woman and NFL cheerleader to win, per the Denver Broncos.
Windey, like co-bachelorette Rachel Recchia, was a cheerleader in college.
Her birthday makes her this zodiac sign
Drumroll, please. Windey was born on January 2, 1991, making her a Capricorn, a sign known for their work ethic and determination. Recchia is a Pisces.
Like Recchia, she's originally from Illinois
Recchia was raised in Chicago before moving to Florida. Windey is from O'Fallon, Ill., a town near St. Louis., Mo.
She had one of the most memorable limo entrances from the season
Windey’s first interaction with Echard confirmed she would be one of the most entertaining contestants on his season. She greeted him and said, “I just want to sit on your face” before cheekily displaying a giant pillow covered with Echard’s face.
“Pillow talk, am I right?,” she wrote on Instagram after the funny moment aired.
She continued to make Echard and fans laugh throughout the season. Her reenactment of the famous “Baywatch” beach stroll during an early group date made the other women burst into laughter.
In week five, she referred to Shanae Ankney, the season’s "villain," as a “succubus” and celebrated with two bottles of champagne when Ankney finally left.
Windey said it's 'terrifying' to be vulnerable on national TV
During a one-on-one date with Echard in Toronto, Windey got vulnerable. Specifically, Windey said her strained relationship with her mother affects how she approaches love.
“Thank you for letting me share a glimpse of my story,” she wrote on Instagram after the emotional date. “As you can see, it takes me a while to warm up and let my guard down; however, the people I met during my time here have helped me start to overcome this struggle. It’s terrifying being yourself on national TV for fear of criticism, and that fear is compounded while being vulnerable.”
Her dad and grandpa had memorable moments on the show, too
During the "hometown dates" episode of "The Bachelor," Echard and Windey traveled to Colorado, where Windey and her family live.
While Windey’s father couldn’t make it due to health restrictions, her grandfather John was there to ask Echard the tough questions.
John also proved that Windey gets her sense of humor from him. With affection, he referred to Windey as a “loveable dingbat” and also joked that Echard was “full of crap” for liking his granddaughter.
Before the night ended, Windey’s father arrived and stood across the street as he recreated the unforgettable scene from “Love Actually” to express to his daughter how much she means to him.
Next to pictures from the episode, including one with grandpa John, Windey shared on Instagram how “lucky” she felt to “relive one of the best nights of my life for a second time tonight.”
She continued, “My family may be an atypical one and we may look different from others, but I am so grateful for how perfectly to me we are stitched together and wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Speaking about her grandma, who she shared in the episode had passed away, Windey said, “If you think my grandpa is entertaining, imagine the woman he was married to for so many years.”
She delivered quite the break-up speech
Once there were only three contestants left, Echard's "Bachelor" season got dramatic, as promised. Evans departed early after finding out that Echard had been intimate with both Windey and Recchia.
In response, Windey decided to leave, too — but then Echard convinced her to stay. Then, just days after introducing Windey and Recchia to his family, Echard broke up with both women at the same time.
While Reechia wept, Windey immediately left the room and called Echard out for not caring about her.
When he asked to walk her out, Windey firmly replied, “No,” as the live audience watching the “After the Final Rose” episode cheered in the background.
Here’s what she’s looking for in a partner
In her official bio, Windey said she wants “a man with quiet confidence” and a personality, otherwise it's a "hard pass."
“Her ideal man will challenge her, communicate his feelings and work hard to equally carry the weight of the relationship,” the bio said. She is also looking for a partner who will respect her independence.
Based on clips from the new season of “The Bachelorette,” Windey is going to shed quite a few tears on her journey to find love.
Hopefully she leaves with the man of the dreams. There’s no doubt she’ll make us laugh as she searches for her husband.