Rachel Lindsay may have only become the first Black lead in the Bachelor franchise as recently as 2017, but it appears some long-overdue efforts toward more diversity are finally being made. Reports have recently indicated Season 16 lead Clare Crawley quit filming The Bachelorette after only a few days, and it sounds like former Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise fan-fave Tayshia Adams is taking over the lead role. Now, Rachel Lindsay's reaction to Tayshia Adams reportedly being the Bachelorette addresses the significance of this reported decision.
Rachel was first a contestant on Season 21 of The Bachelor, and later that year became the Season 13 Bachelorette, which is when she found lasting love with chiropractor Bryan Abasolo. Since appearing in the franchise, Rachel has been vocal about a need for better representation in Bachelor Nation, both onscreen and behind the camera. In June, she told Today she thought being the first Black Bachelorette would help her "open the door to diversity," but felt like she hadn't "been heard" during her time with the franchise.
Now, with Tayshia, another woman of color, reportedly taking up the Bachelorette mantle, Rachel is feeling some of that hope again. "When I stepped in as Bachelorette, I wanted to pave a way for more diversity, for more people who look like me and who didn’t look like the typical lead," she told Entertainment Tonight in an Aug. 3 interview. "To see another Bachelorette of color, I’m thrilled."
Rachel went on to expound her support of the new lead. "I‘ve said before that Tayshia would be an excellent Bachelorette, so I am more than happy to pass the torch," she told ET. "I am so excited to see what she’s going to do, how she will represent herself and her journey to find love. Now she’s in the driver’s seat, and I’m excited to see her get this opportunity."
Back before Clare was announced as the Season 16 Bachelorette, producers were also reportedly considering Hannah Brown (again), Tia Booth, Kelsey Weier, Kendall Long, and Katie Morton, in addition to Tayshia. It's possible these women were also look at as options for the reported mid-season switch. "There are other single women in Bachelor Nation that the show could’ve chosen, and there were other alumni who were considered for this role, so I am really happy they chose Tayshia," Rachel said in her interview with Entertainment Tonight. Of course, there is still more work to be done in terms of the Bachelor franchise becoming more diverse, but Rachel indicated things are looking promising: "I do still want to see some additional producers of all colors brought in, but change is being made and I’m happy to see it."
As of Aug. 4, ABC has yet to confirm the news about Tayshia, but according to multiple reports, Tayshia and Clare will both be Bachelorettes in Season 16, apparently with Clare spearheading the start of the season and Tayshia taking over soon after. If Tayshia is indeed the new Season 16 Bachelorette, this will be the first time the franchise has cast leads of color back-to-back. As announced in June, Matt James is the first Black lead for The Bachelor, and his season will reportedly start filming in late September.
The Bachelorette Season 16 is expected to air in the fall of 2020.