Rachel Lindsay is making history as the first African-American Bachelorette. And as an added bonus, after a combined 33 seasons of the rose-filled ABC reality franchise, viewers will finally see a much more diverse cast of suitors on the show. Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss recently tweeted photos from the first night of filming of Rachel’s season, and it’s immediately clear that she will have a wide variety of guys to choose from.
Lindsay made history in another way when she met four of her suitors early during the live After the Final Rose special immediately following Nick Viall’s Bachelor finale. The blindsided Bachelorette was forced to engage in an awkward meet and greet with suitors named Demario, Blake, Eric, and Dean. Dean, a white male, raised some eyebrows when he told Rachel he was “ready to go black” and never planned on going back. But the bigger question may be, what type of guy is Rachel looking for?
Bachelorette fans know Rachel was attracted to Viall (she placed third during his season) but what is her usual type? The 31-year-old Dallas lawyer told People she is open to dating all types of men.
“Physically, I really don’t have a type,” Rachel told the magazine.
“I’m very open…I’m really not picky. I’m a sucker for a great smile. That’s probably my favorite physical attribute. I just want a guy with good morals, who’s funny. I’m corny, it’s easy to make me laugh. I like a guy who can hold a good conversation. I want him to be intelligent and ambitious.”
Lindsay also added that while her future mate doesn’t have to be an athlete, he does need to be a sports fan.
“They have to like sports!” Rachel told People. “They don’t have to play them, but they have to be able to talk about them.”
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Rachel Lindsay said she feels some pressure as the first African American lead on the franchise and revealed she is constantly asked if she intends to make history in another way by picking a black man as the winner of her season.
“That is a very common question that I get from black people,” Lindsay told THR.
“Honestly, I don’t want to go into this process with any preconceived notions or any pressures to do something for somebody else. I hate to sound selfish, but it’s my process. It’s my journey in finding love. And whether that person is black, white, red, whatever — it’s my journey. I’m not choosing a man for America, I’m choosing a man for me.”
Rachel admitted that she can’t win when it comes to pleasing viewers, but she added that she was definitely pushing for the most diverse cast in the show’s history.
“I know there are going to be people who criticize what I do no matter what, but I’m just trying to not get caught up in it,” Rachel said. “I’m hoping that as a black Bachelorette you’re going to get to see a more diverse cast, a cast that’s reflective of what America looks like.”
Ahead of Rachel Lindsay’s casting announcement, Bachelor producers were feeling the pressure to fill the suitor slots with a more diverse mix of guys. JoJo Fletcher’s season consisted of 21 white and six nonwhite contestants, while Kaitlyn Bristowe’s group featured four nonwhite men.
Lindsay also revealed that her father, who met Viall off-camera during his season of the show, is “very supportive” of her latest endeavor as The Bachelorette, despite the fact that she’ll take a sabbatical from her law career in Texas.
According to Us Weekly, Rachel Lindsay previously admitted she was “nervous” to meet her group of guys, but added she planned to follow Nick Viall’s lead when it comes to the reality TV dating process.
“He just went with his gut, and I plan to do that exact same thing in my season,” Lindsay said.
Take a look at the video below for more on Rachel Lindsay as The Bachelorette.
Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette premieres Monday, May 22 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
[Featured Image by ABC The Bachelor Twitter]