Why ‘The Bachelor’ star Rachel Lindsay wants more diversity on the reality show

Since Rachel Lindsay found love on The Bachelorette 2017, she’s been on a mission to make the franchise more diverse. It’s why she agreed to star in the series, becoming the first Black “Bachelorette” in the long-running show, in the first place.

“I wanted to make a pathway for diversity and inclusion in the franchise, because it was something I hadn’t seen, and it was a running joke that, honestly, wasn’t that funny,” Lindsay tells Yahoo Entertainment. “Just because it worked for me, I didn’t want to just move away from it.”

Lindsay, who gave her final rose to Bryan Abasolo, was skeptical in June when producers announced that Matt James would be the first Black star of The Bachelor in its new season. At the time, she called his casting a “knee-jerk reaction” to the climate of protests for racial equality and compared it to someone posting a black box on their social media accounts without taking any further action.

Two months later, with confirmation that Tayshia Adams will star in the upcoming season of The Bachelorette, Lindsay is more optimistic. She says she understands that the show’s moving in the right direction and she appreciates them putting out a statement in June, committing to diversity in the future.

“I want contestants of color to feel included, to feel like they can get a happy ending like I did. It shouldn’t stop with me. And I was disappointed that after my season, it took three years to see Matt James come along and possibly Tayshia. I wanted people to… feel like their stories were being told and told in the right way, that they felt comfortable talking to producers, that they felt they had a fighting chance and could deserve happiness in this franchise, like so many people who aren’t of color do.”

Lindsay says that, if rumors about Adams being cast — which Yahoo Entertainment has confirmed — are true, she’s thrilled.

“Tayshia’s Latina and a Black woman, and so I think that that is great for two communities,” Lindsay says. “I’m excited to see her in that role, if that’s true, but I also know that they’re committed to hiring more people of color within the production, which is something that that Bachelor diversity campaign started by fans wanted to see.”

Still, Lindsay’s cautious about getting too excited.

“Talk to me in two months after I see a season air,” she says.

Lindsay and the man she met on the show celebrated their first anniversary on Aug. 24 with a trip to Aruba. While they gladly took required precautions to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic — for starters, they had to test negative within 72 hours of their visit — they had a blissful time.

Abasolo describes the trip as “lots of adventure, romance and relaxation.”

Rachel Lindsay and Bryan Abasolo spent their first anniversary in Aruba. (Photos: Aruba Tourism Authority)

They soaked up the local culture on a sightseeing tour of the island, visited a lighthouse (Lindsay has a “fascination” with them) and ate breakfast in a private cabana on the beach every day.

Now it’s back to real life in Miami, where they’ve been in quarantine since March. Not that Lindsay has minded.

“It’s really been for us a chance to reconnect and to have quality time that we haven’t been able to have just because of work, work, work,” says Lindsay, whose work as host of MTV’s Ghosted: Love Gone Missing and multiple podcasts requires a lot of travel. “So, you know, we got into a bit of a schedule of [we] wake up together every morning. I’m making breakfast, he goes to work, I work from home, he comes home and we do something fun together. Even like playing old school board games or just watching a movie or bingeing a show together.”

Often, they’re watching sports, and both have been impressed with professional athletes taking a stance against racial injustice by boycotting or even walking out of games.

“They have the means and they have the voice and the platform to make change,” Abasolo says, “and I think what they’re doing is amazing.”

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