The Bachelor is kicking off 2021 with a brand-new season. Season 25 premieres Jan. 4 on ABC with the dashing Matt James, 29, looking to find his soulmate amongst a group of fabulous ladies. Matt was revealed as the new Bachelor in June 2020. He’s never been featured in any Bachelor Nation shows, so who is Matt James? HollywoodLife has rounded up 5 key things you need to know.
1. Matt is making history as the first Black lead of The Bachelor. Matt’s casting came after calls from fans and Bachelor Nation alum like former Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay, 35, who was the franchise’s first-ever Black lead as the star of The Bachelorette, to be more inclusive when it comes to the cast and the leads of the series. “I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Matt told GMA in June 2020 when he was announced. “Hopefully this is the first of many Black men to be in the position that I am now.”
2. Matt was initially going to be a contestant on Clare Crawley’s season of The Bachelorette. Prior to earning the coveted position on The Bachelor, Matt had actually signed up to be on the previous season of The Bachelorette with Clare Crawley. Before the season was put on hiatus, Matt shared EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife that he had his sights set on the new Bachelorette. “I have my eyes set on somebody right now and she’s in Sacramento and hopefully when all this stuff settles down, I’ll be able to meet her,” he gushed back in April 2020.
3. Matt is good friends with other Bachelor Nation alum! Tyler Cameron is one of Matt’s best friends. Tyler appeared on Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette in 2019. Tyler and Matt live together in New York City and co-run the non-profit ABC Food Tours together. They met while playing football together in college! Matt also got to know Hannah through Tyler!
4. He didn’t tell his mom that he was going to be the next Bachelor! Talk about keeping a secret. Matt held his cards so close to the chest and kept everything so “tight” around his upcoming gig that he didn’t even tell his mom. In fact, she found out while watching GMA like everyone else! “She’s going to be excited,” he shared with the GMA co-hosts. “I’m sorry, Mom, but it’s hard for her to keep a secret,” he admitted. “She’s just finding out which is a fun way for everyone to participate.”
5. Matt works as a real estate agent in New York City. Matt has worked for CBRE realtors since October 2017, according to his LinkedIn page. Prior to working at the real estate company, Matt was a media planner at Mic and a corporate and institutional bank analyst for PNC. He graduated from Wake Forest University in North Carolina in 2015 with a degree in Economics.