Monday marked the premiere of the 21st season of The Bachelor. And as per the show’s longstanding tradition, Bachelor Nick Viall (yes, it’s pronounced “vile”) handed out a “first impression rose,” aka a rose that saves a contestant from elimination ahead of the rose ceremony itself. Receiving said rose is almost always a good sign and contestants who get them tend to go far on the show. And on Monday, a woman of color got the prize for the very first time. Finally! I mean, it’s been 21 seasons.
The Bachelor definitely shouldn’t be getting any major accolades for this. The show has historically struggled with diversity; there was even a 2012 lawsuit that alleged racist casting practices. Only one woman of color has ever “won” the show. And amongst viewers, the fact that only white girls ever make it far is something of a running joke. A Black contestant has literally, in 21 seasons, never made it further than week five. It's like a horror movie, except it's real life!
But this episode was different. Rachel, who received the rose, is a Black woman from Dallas and works as an attorney. Viall said he was intrigued by her “aura.” And viewers were thrilled to see an accomplished Black woman singled out.
We hope this bodes well for Rachel. In addition to the fact that she’s a WOC, it’s nice to see a woman with an impressive career doing well on the show — some other contestants’ jobs are listed as “aspiring dolphin trainer” and “unemployed” (although, granted, neither of those can match the majesty of last season’s “chicken enthusiast”).
There are nine women of color included among this season’s 30 women. As Refinery29 points out, this likely goes back to a comment from an ABC exec about purposefully diversifying the show, which lines up with much of the channel’s programming. We hope at least a few of them last longer than five weeks.
(Photo: ABC/Rick Rowell)