While most people have resolutions heading into a near year, Matt James' goal on The Bachelor is to find his perfect partner. The Season 25 lead's journey to love began on Jan. 4, and already fans are picking their favorite on-screen contestants. While there are a lot of different women to meet, Mari on Matt's Bachelor season is someone who knows a thing or two about enchanting an audience.
Even before the contestants showed up, Season 25 was different than past installments. Matt James, just like the women competing for his heart, is new to on-screen romance. The 28-year-old has never been on a show in the franchise, but he's still pretty well-versed in the ins and outs of Bachelor Nation. He's BFFs with Tyler Cameron (who appeared on Hannah Brown's season) and was originally cast to be on Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette, but was instead recast to be the Season 25 lead.
This means, of course, he doesn't have experience dating multiple people at once like the lead (who is usually plucked from the preceding Bachelorette season's cast) normally does. With 32 women vying for his affection, making a good an impression was extra important during the Jan. 4 premiere episode. As soon as contestant Mari exited the limo, it was obvious she was up to the challenge.
The 24-year-old marketing director from Maryland showed up Night 1 in a glittering, floor-length gown and left Matt completely speechless. Her stella first impression makes sense, since she was named Miss Maryland USA in 2019 and placed in the Top 10 at Miss USA. Thanks to years of running (and winning) the pageant circuit, Mari seems to be a pro at remaining poised, thinking on her feet, and looking beautiful while doing it.
But no one can maintain a "perfect" facade all the time. After getting interrupted by Katie (and her vibrator) mid-convo with Matt later in the episode, Mari was visibly annoyed. Still, she kept her cool and managed to walk away with her head held high before venting to the other contestants. Fans will have to wait and see if Matt turns the beauty queen into a bride or if Mari will get lost in the middle of more drama as Season 25 unfolds.
Season 25 of The Bachelor continues on Monday, Jan. 11, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.