The INSIDER Summary:
- Season 13 of “The Bachelorette” will have the show’s first black Bachelorette.
- Former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky says she’s unsure whether or not there “was an opportunity like this in the past.”
- Fedotowsky says the show never cast enough diverse people.
- You have to make it to the top four to be the next “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette.”
- Fedotowsky thinks if she didn’t get engaged to Roberto Martinez at the end of her season that he would have been the next “Bachelor.”
Next season of “The Bachelorette” will feature the show’s first black star, 31-year-old civil defense litigation attorney Rachel Lindsay. After 13 seasons, and another 21 seasons of “The Bachelor,” most can agree it’s a long time coming.
ABC has been criticized for its lack of diversity in casting in the past. It’s a problem the network admitted it was well aware of and working on in early 2016 .
INSIDER recently asked former “Bachelorette” Ali Fedotowsky about her thoughts on ABC finally casting the first black “Bachelorette.” Our conversation led to how the series’ diversity problem may have initially started and how difficult it is for men and women of color to advance far on the show.
“In a way, it’s about time, but I don’t necessarily think that … I don’t really know that there was an opportunity like this in the past,” Fedotowsky told INSIDER. “ In the past, I don’t think there were enough diverse people cast on the show, so I think if that was a problem, that’s where the problem first started. If you don’t have enough diverse people cast on the show then they can’t make it far on the show and then therefore they can’t make it to be the Bachelor or Bachelorette.”
Fedotowsky doubled down on that statement, explaining to INSIDER that the show is unlikely to have a diverse star if it doesn’t first have a diverse cast. ABC typically chooses its stars from the rejected women and men on its “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” shows.
“Unless you’re Juan Pablo, you have to make it to like the top four to be the Bachelor or Bachelorette. There hasn’t really been any black men or women who have made it that far and that’s because sometimes there aren’t even that many of them on the show,” said Fedotowsky. “Or they just don’t click with the Bachelor or Bachelorette and that’s just more of an unfortunate situation, if that’s the case.”
“On my season, there wasn’t one black guy, and it’s not because I didn’t ask for any. I said I’d be open to dating whoever, but there just wasn’t one,” she added.
Juan Pablo Galavis was the controversial “Bachelor” star on season 18 of the show. The professional soccer player was heavily touted as the network’s first Bachelor of color despite many saying the American-born Venezuelan looked no different than any of the other bachelors who came before him .
Rachel Lindsay came in fourth place on this past season of “The Bachelor” starring Nick Viall. ABC wasted no time in making the announcement on its late-night show with Jimmy Kimmel even though Lindsay was still a contestant on “The Bachelor” at the time .
Fedotowsky pointed out that the only diverse male on her season of the show was Roberto Martinez, who she ended up getting engaged to in season six. They were together for over a year before calling things off. Fedotowsky says they couldn’t exactly pick him to be the next “Bachelor” at that point, but believes things could have been different for the series had she not picked Martinez.
“I think they would have picked him [Martinez] if I hadn’t picked him,” said Fedotowsky. “If I hadn’t picked Roberto at the end of my season, I think they would have cast him as the Bachelor.”
It’s something Fedotowsky seemed ambivalent about while speaking by phone. “I don’t blame ‘The Bachelor’ for it taking this long [to cast a black Bachelorette], but I don’t know, yeah, a little bit,” said Fedotowsky. “But I don’t think it was a purposeful thing. It kind of just happened.”
With Rachel Lindsay on the next season of “The Bachelorette,” returning to television May 22, Fedotowsky said the young lawyer will provide a good role model for many people to look up to.
“I think she’ll do all the young, black women and young black girls watching, I think she’ll do all of them very proud, and I’m excited for her. I’m excited for this franchise,” said Fedotowsky. “Maybe before, a young 21-year-old black girl wouldn’t watch the show because she didn’t see herself represented when she watched it and maybe now she’ll watch it. I think that is just an exciting time for not only our country, but for the franchise and everybody.”