The handsome Air Force veteran who melted the hearts of viewers with his ear-to-ear smile on Hannah Brown’s season of ABC’s The Bachelorette is in fact as sincere, bubbly, and hilarious as reality television depicted. Since Mike Johnson‘s journey to find love through The Bachelor franchise came to an end, he’s been busy becoming an author and sharing his expertise on self-love. In his debut book, Making The Love You Want (The Self Publishing Agency Inc.), now available on Amazon, the native Texan chronicles his road to self-love, detailing his past struggles and courageous truths while providing steps, exercises, and mantras to help readers level up from the inside out.
“Knowing that so many people I personally love and care about have gone through some form of mental illness—I just wanted to reach out to them,” Johnson says of his reason for writing Making The Love You Want, which he dedicated to a friend who lost her battle to mental illness. There wasn’t one specific moment when Johnson “wrote a book,” but rather a natural process showcasing his humanity and love for others. “I had so many people reaching out to me, being so vulnerable and authentic with me. I would just write back to them. It kinda just continued to flow until I wrote an entire book,” he explains.
“I write about some things that are quite unflattering that I have done,” Johnson admits, who made a dramatic change in his own life by joining the Air Force and seeing the world in a different light. “I want people to know that these are the life experiences I’ve gone through in order to get to the level I’m at. I decided to take the perspective of happiness–of glass half-full.”
Mentoring for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is another one of Johnson’s passions. “My mom is a mentor and I’m 99.99 percent certain that’s why I did it. She introduced it to me. As a young black man, I know that when I was younger I would have loved to have someone that was like a big brother,” he explains. “My mentee is 13 years old. Now, I’m almost 33, but I’m hip. I dance. I know the music and the lingo. So, he looks at me like a true big brother. Someone that is a parental figure, but someone that is going to steer him the right way. To me, that is literally everything—to be able to give someone your wisdom to hopefully make the world a better place through their eyes.”
Johnson cherishes the time he spends with his mentee, especially when the laughter is flowing. “He comes to me with all kinds of things. One time, he was like ‘Mike, let’s do a follow for a follow.’ I’m like, ‘Bro, you’ve got 100 followers,’” Johnson says before he bursts into the most adorable bout of laughter. “He’s so funny. He appreciates when I shout him out.”
When it comes to The Bachelorette, Johnson modestly admits that he wasn’t prepared for all the attention. Of course, internet trolls go along with the territory. “I have no problem speaking back,” he says. “I don’t think people realize that we’re people too. When they say some outlandish thing about me, I’ll like it and respond to them in a nice but stern way—and then they calm down a little bit. Some of the trolls just want validation and for you to notice them.”
We get to chatting about Johnson’s new bachelor pad (literally) in Austin, Texas with roommate and fellow season 15 cast member Connor Saeli. “Connor is dirty,” he says chuckling. “That dude—all he wants to do is work out. His protein is just everywhere.” In a more serious tone, he adds, “I’m being funny and playful, but the great thing is that Connor and I are both extremely ambitious. Before we moved to Austin, we wrote down our top ten biggest goals of what we wanted to accomplish in the next year.”
Before we hang up, Mike gives me his predictions for Clare Crawley’s upcoming season of The Bachelorette. “I’m pretty certain Clare will make the love that she wants. She’ll find her love.”
Will we see him handing out roses in the future? “No. I might be in love by then,” he says. “That’s the point of the show–to fall in love–right?”