As the first — and still only — Black lead on either The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay has had a lot to say about the franchise’s inclusion issues, even calling the shows “white-washed.” HollywoodLife.com spoke to the 35-year-old beauty about the topic on our June 10 podcast. In an EXCLUSIVE interview, Rachel reveals the suggestions she gave the shows’ producers as to how to make the franchises more diverse. After a powerful June 8 blog post where she gave four exact steps to change things for the better, Rachel says that producers reached out to her. “They agree with me. They’re pretty much saying, ‘I hear you. We see you. We recognize that change needs to be made and they make it seem as if there will be steps taken,'” she shares.
Rachel has voiced how unhappy she was that Black contestant Mike Johnson from Hannah Brown‘s Bachelorette season was not picked as The Bachelor season 24 star, which instead went to White “Pilot” Peter Weber. “I think I lost all hope when it wasn’t Mike Johnson. And I thought, well, we’re never gonna get it at this point. I mean, he checked all the boxes. So I do feel like my blog sparked some attention, and I’m hoping to put a voice behind it. And I am getting the attention of producers. I have had executive producers reach out to me since the blog,” Rachel explains.
Rachel is still holding out hope that producers will cast a Black lead, revealing “I’d like for them to cast more leads of color. And I say Black because I’m Black. But I don’t want to stop there. Asian, Indian, Middle East, or whatever it may be, just to diversify what the leads look like.” She also suggests that, “they have more producers that are people of color. Because I think part of the success of the show is contestants being able to open up about who they are.” HollywoodLife.com has reached out to ABC, as well as the The Bachelor/Bachelorette‘s producers about Rachel’s comments.
While both shows have featured contestants of various races, Rachel says that whoever is the lead needs to actually be interested in pursuing those people for a romantic relationship. She says told producers that contestants shouldn’t be on the show just to “fill a quota.”
Rachel reveals, “One thing that I did also mention with the changes, is that when you are casting a lead. OK. Every lead is not going to be of color. I get it. But when you do cast a White lead, make them actually be interested in pursuing an interracial relationship. That’s never the case. And it’s so obvious to the audience that you’re keeping certain people just to fill a spot, a quota, rather than the person genuinely being interested in dating outside of their race.”
There have been a few exceptions, with Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky, 35, picking Latino hunk Roberto Martinez for her final rose in 2010 (they broke off their engagement a year later). Bachelor Sean Lowe‘s final rose selection, wife Catherine Giudici, is half-Filipino, and has admitted she felt like she was only chosen to be on the show “to check a box.”
Rachel says that the current Bachelorette season 15 lead Clare Crawley will show the audience a woman who is genuinely interested in an interracial relationship. “I’m happy to say that I know I talked to Clare and I know Clare is interested in dating outside of her race,” the Dallas native tells us.
At 39, Clare is the most mature female lead that the show has ever cast, and Rachel believes that her age is one of the reasons Clare is more open minded about her dating habits. “I think that that’s also the beauty of taking an older Bachelor/Bachelorette. They have more life experiences. They’re not discovering who they are, while also trying to figure out the journey of The Bachelor/Bachelorette. So I’m excited that with Clare, that you might see that change. Because they cast a lead who is interested in exploring interracial relationships,” she explains. Rachel ended up finding love with Miami chiropractor Brian Abasolo, 40, during her 2017 season. The couple married on Aug. 24, 2019, with a romantic ceremony in Cancún, Mexico.