It took 33 seasons for The Bachelor franchise to make history.
Rachel Lindsay, a current contestant on Nick Viall’s season, will be Bachelorette no. 13, multiple outlets report, marking the first time in the history of the entire ABC franchise that a nonwhite contestant will lead the show.
Bachelor blogger Reality Steve first reported the news, which ABC declined to confirm. The official announcement will be made on Jimmy Kimmel Live! after Monday night’s episode of The Bachelor.
Show creator Mike Fleiss teased the announcement in January, calling it “historic,” before tweeting on Feb. 12 that Kimmel would make the reveal on his show on Monday night.
Normally, the selection process for The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise originates with what ABC calls “The Farm Team” a.k.a the pool of contestants that producers have used since the show’s inception in 2009.
For example, Season 20 Bachelor Ben Higgins was a finalist on The Bachelorette with Kaitlyn Bristowe.
Channing Dungey, current ABC Entertainment President and the first black woman to lead a broadcast network in the U.S., also touched on the need for more diversity in the show’s cast during Television Critics Association in August of last year.
“I would very much like to see some changes there,” Dungey said of the franchise. “We need to increase the pool of diverse candidates in the beginning…so that is something we really want to put some effort and energy towards.
When asked if ABC would ever pick outside the Farm Team pool, Dungey said “we could … But first runner up in one cycle becomes person to lead next cycle [and] its worked really well for us,” she said. “Because the audience feels very engaged in choosing next candidate. I think what wed like to do is widen that pool of candidates.”
People had high hopes that inclusivity would come sooner rather than later following Ben Higgins’ season, during which Jubilee Sharpe became a fan favorite.
The 24-year-old, who was adopted from Haiti after her family died, even garnered support from celebrities such as comedian Amy Schumer. But Jubilee would have been the most shortlived Bachelor contestant to earn a lead position the following season Ben dismissed her with several weeks to go.
Back when ABC marketed Season 18 Bachelor Juan Pablo as a diverse choice, it didn’t go so well because the leading man is actually an American-born Venezuelan. Not to mention he was considered a PR “disaster” after he made a slew of controversial statements including how there shouldn’t be a gay Bachelor and tweeting an offensive comment about mentally disabled people.
JoJo (Joelle) Fletcher, the 25-year-old Texas native and runner-up to Higgins’ heart, was the latest Bachelorette to almost be considered nonwhite. She is half Iranian. But for whatever reason,ABC neglected to mention her heritage in a release sent out following the news. Instead, they described her a a “Southern sweetheart” who grew up the daughter of two doctors. And if she ever did say anything about it on camera, we didn’t see it.
Rachel Lindsay, 31, is an attorney from Dallas, Texas.
Fans and Viall loved her from episode one, during which she got the first impression rose.
According to her Bachelor bio online, Rachel Lindsay said if she could be anyone for just one day, she would be “Michelle Obama. She’s everything!” Her favorite artist is Jean-Michel Basquiat.
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