Season 13 of The Bachelorette will feature the most diverse cast to date. Not only is Rachel Lindsay the first black lead in the history of The Bachelorette and The Bachelor, but she also gets to pick from the most diverse group of suitors ever. Here’s an inside look at the selection process for this season’s contestants.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, almost half of this season’s suitors are non-white. ABC usually features a few non-white contestants every season, but never on this scale. For host Chris Harrison, bringing more diversity to the cast was a long time coming.
“They are a part of the most successful, most diverse and, of course, most dramatic cast we have ever had on the show,” Harrison shared during the cast announcement.
ABC has faced a lot of controversy in the past due to its lack of diversity. That all changed when Lindsay made it into the final three on Nick Viall’s season of The Bachelor. The network announced Lindsay as the new lead before she was eliminated from The Bachelor, and Harrison believes it was the right decision.
“The announcement of Rachel as the first African-American lead is not lost on me, nor is the importance of it. But in her defense, I don’t want it to be about that. I would love for people to realize that Rachel was going to be our girl regardless,” Harrison stated. “If she was black, white, Latino, Asian, whatever. It doesn’t matter. I’m very proud that ABC and everybody involved in this allowed us to do it this way: choosing the right girl.”
When it comes to casting the suitors, director Lacey Pemberton revealed that they actually start the recruiting process months beforehand. For Lindsay, Pemberton started recruiting for The Bachelorette the moment she stepped out of the limo on The Bachelor.
“We wanted to find the best people we thought Rachel would hopefully have some chemistry with and fall in love with,” she explained. “That’s really my goal every season. I look specifically for someone who is really interested in meeting someone in an unusual way and taking that leap of faith. It’s a vulnerable position. It’s a certain energy.”
Pemberton added that they don’t necessarily look for a certain type of man for the lead. Instead, her team established a relationship with each suitor before they commit to the show. This helps them understand what they are like and how they might fit in with the rest of the cast. She also admitted that they sometimes don’t get it right, and the person they think will go far doesn’t make it to the end.
Pemberton uses a number of different strategies to get suitors in the door. They take submissions online through ABC’s website, and they even recruit during events for the show. Surprisingly, the casting director admitted that a lot of work goes into casting, and sometimes it is difficult finding people to get on the show.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, 31 men will compete for Lindsay’s final rose when The Bachelorette returns to ABC this month. Lindsay met four of her suitors during The Bachelor finale a few months ago. This includes DeMario, a recruiter from California; Blake, a veteran from San Francisco; Dean, another recruiter from California; and Eric, a Los Angeles-based personal trainer.
Variety has released a full list of the suitors this season. There’s no telling who will emerge as the clear frontrunner, but Lindsay definitely has a wider range of men to pick from this time around than previous Bachelorette stars.
The new season of The Bachelorette premieres May 22 on ABC.
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[Featured Image by Craig Sjodin/ABC]