Michelle Young grew up in Edina, Minnesota, and attended Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, where she played Division 1 basketball from 2011 to 2015. Upon graduation, Young became an elementary school teacher, working with fifth graders in Bloomington, Minnesota, before going on reality TV.
She joined season 25 of The Bachelor as a new contestant in week three, which aired in January 2021, and quickly became a fan favorite. Young was the runner-up for Matt James’ season, losing out to controversial contestant Rachael Kirkconnell.
During the show’s March 2021 After the Final Rose special, she was named as the season 18 Bachelorette, which will air after Katie Thurston’s Bachelorette season. “I’m excited that I get to have somebody to bond over with this and share notes as we go,” she said of Thurston going first. “I really do think that this process works. When you can set down all these outside distractions and really dive in, I think you can learn a lot about somebody.”
Young accepted a proposal from frontrunner Nayte Olukoya during the December 2021 finale, revealing at the After the Final Rose special that he intended to move to her native Minnesota. They confirmed their split in June 2022.