Katie Thurston was born and raised in Renton, Washington. She played volleyball in high school and has a love of the outdoors. Thurston was a bank marketing manager in Seattle before competing on season 25 of The Bachelor, which premiered in January 2021.
She turned heads on night one of the show when she stepped out with a sparkly vibrator to meet Bachelor Matt James. Thurston continued to gain fans throughout the series, by defending her fellow contestants against bullies on set, but was eliminated during week six.
Following the season’s finale in March 2021, Thurston was announced as the season 17 lead for The Bachelorette. “I’m ready to find love, and not just, like, the temporary kind. I’m talking forever, my husband, and I’m in a place in my life where I feel like I’m the best version of me,” the reality TV personality said on the After the Final Rose special at the time. “Honestly, I’ve seen it work before, why can’t it work for me.”