Matt James was first introduced to Bachelor Nation as Tyler Cameron‘s best friend before he became the first black male lead in the history of The Bachelor.
The Raleigh, North Carolina, native met Cameron at Wake Forest University where he played on the Demon Deacons football team and graduated with an Economics degree in 2015. After graduation, James attempted to enter the NFL as a wide receiver. He tried out for the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints but didn’t make the teams.
James later worked at PNC Bank in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before he moved to New York City with Cameron in October 2019. While there, he began working as a research analyst for commercial real estate company CBRE. James also works with Cameron on ABC Food Tours, a food and fitness mentorship program for elementary school students in New York City.
The Bachelor announced in June 2020 that James would become the first black lead in the franchise since the show’s premiere in 2002.