No, those targeted ads aren’t fooling you: The new season of The Bachelor premieres tonight with Matt James as its chiseled lead, a mere two weeks after perfect angel Tayshia Adams finished her season with a very happy ending. If you, like us, totally forgot that the season was premiering until a box of brut rosé arrived at your apartment this morning, fear not about the return of Bachelor Mondays. Nature is healing. Influencers will be fighting about nothing and preaching the “wrong reasons” greatest hits in no time. But you still have some questions, and we have some answers. Read on for what you need to know about James and his quarantined season of love.
Give me the absolute basic facts about this man.
James is 29 years old, and he is the first Black Bachelor. Unlike previous Bachelors, he has not appeared on any of the franchise’s shows (such as The Bachelorette or Bachelor in Paradise) prior to receiving this role. However, James was cast as a contestant on Clare Crawley’s Bachelorette season; when the season was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, ABC decided to accelerate his ascension as the Bachelor due to franchise alums and fans alike demanding more diverse casting. “When filming couldn’t move forward as planned, we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt, and all agreed he would make a perfect Bachelor,” ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said in a statement at the time. “We know we have a responsibility to make sure the love stories we’re seeing onscreen are representative of the world we live in and we are proudly in service to our audience. This is just the beginning and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise.”
Is he an Instagram peddler, or does he have an actual job?
James has enjoyed a career that does not include a reliance on sponsored posts for Revolve shirts and/or coconut water. (And, mercifully, he’s not another pilot.) Following his graduation from Wake Forest University as an economics major, he landed a job as an associate broker at CBRE, a real-estate service and investment firm in Manhattan. (His page on the company website states that he still works there on a full-time basis despite the show’s monthslong filming schedule.) Along with fellow Bachelor Nation alum Tyler Cameron (Hannah Brown’s ex), he co-runs ABC Food Tours, a nonprofit organization and mentorship program that provides underserved children with food from local restaurants. Oh, and, like 10 percent of men in the franchise, James also dabbled in professional football for a hot second. Any Carolina Panthers or New Orleans Saints fans here? Either way, Sports Illustrated has a recap of his short-lived football career, which never made it past the mini-camp stage for both teams in 2015.
Any scandals I should know about?
Not really, but James hasn’t been free from salty coverage as a result of some questionable decisions. He joined Cameo last April when he was still just an upcoming contestant for Crawley’s season, which prompted Crawley to condemn him and his “wrong reasons” on social media. (“Respect the opportunity you’ve been given,” she added. “Respect the rules. Respect me.” Yes, the irony is amusing.) He and Cameron also released a line of merchandise last December, which includes sweatshirts and mugs of them eating pizza shirtless. And phone cases. And notebooks. It’s … pretty dumb.
So is his season quarantined as well?
It is, but it looks a lot nicer than Crawley and Adams’s stays at La Quinta. James and his contestants will remain in a bubble at the luxury Nemacolin resort, which is about an hour and a half south of Pittsburgh. However, season footage has already teased that date activities, such as horseback riding and zip-lining, will take place in the greater resort area, allowing for much more enjoyable experiences than taking an ice bath while kissing.
Does Reality Steve have any hot intel?
The patron saint of Bachelor Nation gossip hasn’t had any hot intel in quite some time. We suggest browsing the Bachelor sub-Reddit instead, which was actually the first to break the news of Crawley’s historic departure.