Bachelor Nation unite! Rachel Lindsay was announced as the star of the upcoming season of The Bachelorette Monday, February 13, and she already has the support of the most recent Bachelorette, JoJo Fletcher. Watch Lindsay celebrate her big news in the video above!
The season 12 alum, who is engaged to sports commentator Jordan Rodgers, spoke exclusively with Us Weekly on Monday night, shortly after ABC named Lindsay the franchise's first-ever African-American lead, and Fletcher said she's looking forward to passing the torch.
"I'm actually really excited about it," Fletcher, 26, told Us of Lindsay, 31, at 102.7 KIIS FM's Purse Party at the Bungalow in Huntington Beach, California. "I sent her a message today actually on Instagram because I just had this feeling before I had even seen anything, literally this morning. I was like, 'You know what? I'm going to reach out to her,' because in my mind she was the only qualified person I feel like out of [season 21 Bachelor Nick Viall's] bunch."
The former real estate developer, who first tried to find love on Ben Higgins' season of The Bachelor last year, is thrilled that she and Lindsay have something in common. "She's from Dallas, so we have two Dallas [Bachelorettes] back to back, which I love," Fletcher told Us. "I just think she's smart and she's competent and she's bringing something that we've never had before."
Like many viewers, Fletcher is also excited to finally see some diversity on the reality dating franchise, which, prior to Lindsay's casting, had not featured a black Bachelor or Bachelorette in its 15 years on air. "[She'll bring] diversity," Fletcher told Us, noting that she was selected as the season 12 star over fan favorite Caila Quinn, the Filipino beauty who also competed for Higgins' heart.
"Last year, that stuff with Caila, everyone thought [she'd be the Bachelorette] and I think that when I was chosen, I think some people were a little disappointed that there wasn't more diversity," the Dallas native explained. "I think this is perfect timing for them to do that. And to be honest, if it wasn't Rachel, I think they would probably get some backlash on that because there'd be no reason why it shouldn't be her."
Bachelor Nation star Becca Tilley, who was the runner-up on Chris Soules' season of The Bachelor and competed on Higgins' season with Fletcher and Quinn, is also looking forward to seeing the attorney as the next Bachelorette. "I just find her to be really smart, but I find that she brings this sweetness and sincerity without being a pushover or anything," she told Us at the KIIS FM party, which was sponsored by Zeel Massage, Base Coat Nail Salon and Aegean Apparel. "She does have some big shoes to fill. She's stepping into a position where people loved JoJo and I think people love Rachel, so I think she's the person to do it and I don't think there's anyone else that I would [choose]."
As for current Bachelor villain Corinne Olympios? "We'll see Corinne on [Bachelor in] Paradise," Tilley, 32, joked. "She was literally made for Paradise!"
The Bachelorette returns to ABC on Monday, May 22, at 9 p.m. ET.
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