"The Golden Bachelorette" star Joan Vassos, a grandmother and school administrator...

"The Golden Bachelorette" star Joan Vassos, a grandmother and school administrator from Maryland, has begun filming the ABC competition. Credit: Disney / TNS / Ramona Rosales

Joan Vassos, the inaugural star of ABC’s upcoming “The Golden Bachelorette,” gave Bachelor Nation fans a video greeting Wednesday as she prepared to fly to California to begin shooting.

“I am getting ready to leave tomorrow,” Vassos, 61, of Rockville, Maryland, says in an Instagram video, sitting on her bedroom floor amid artfully arranged clutter and open suitcases. “And I’m packing and it’s a disaster here because I have no idea what to bring because I don’t know what any of the dates are.”

Vassos, a contestant on last year’s inaugural season of “The Golden Bachelor,” had left the competition early to help with a medical issue afflicting one of her and her late husband’s four adult children. In her video she said becoming star of the female version of the series “is all a little bittersweet because I’m leaving my family for seven weeks and that’s a little scary. But, you know, in the end I could come back and maybe have the love of my life and someone to share my great life with.”

She later noted that her family “is going to come out with me for a couple days and [will] shoot some promos … . And I’m excited about that. I’m so proud of them, and it gives me a couple more days with them, so I love that.”

In an accompanying caption, the private-school administrator wrote: “Excited, nervous, and overpacked… but, mostly ready to get this golden journey started. Feeling all the feels as I pack up to start my next chapter at the Bachelor Mansion. I’ve never been this vulnerable and grateful at the same time,” adding she was “thankful to have the most supportive friends, family and viewers a golden girl could ask for. I’m not sure what this journey holds, but if it's anything like my suitcase, it’s sure to be FULL of surprises! Here I go… .”

“Sending you so much love and support as you embark on this amazing journey, my friend,” commented Theresa Nist, winner of “The Golden Bachelor,” who married but has since divorced star Gerry Turner. “I am so incredibly excited for you!! I’ll be thinking about you and sending you only good thoughts. Now go have the time of your life, Joan!!!”


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