Matt James‘ debut on the Bachelor will make him the first black leading man in the franchise’s history. However, fans might not be familiar with the real estate broker as he’s also the first lead in 12 years who hasn’t previously appeared on The Bachelorette.
The Bachelor announced on Friday, June 12, that the North Carolina native would be the series lead on season 25.
“It’s an honor,” James said on Good Morning America. “I’m just going to lean into myself and how my mom raised me, and hopefully when people invite me into their homes on Monday nights, they’re going to see that I’m not much different from them and they see that diverse love stories are beautiful.”
The former wide receiver added that he has some key personality characteristics that he’s looking for in a woman — but he’s hoping his contestants will be physically diverse.
“Selfless, honest, caring, compassionate and those are qualities found in women all shape, sizes and races,” James explained. “It’s not a black or white thing so I’m hoping that when that limo puts up there is a lot of diversity and I see every type of woman coming out of that limo.”
James was first introduced to Bachelor Nation as Tyler Cameron‘s best friend, who frequently posted his bestie on his social media accounts. The model’s late mother, Andrea Cameron, even nominated James as the Bachelor, according to Entertainment Tonight.
The Wake Forest University alum was originally cast on Clare Crawley‘s upcoming season of The Bachelorette, but the show’s production was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
James clashed with the hairstylist before they ever sparked a romance when he started a Cameo account to raise money for COVID-19 relief.
“If you are doing interviews and creating Cameo accounts before you are even on my season… you are in it for the wrong reasons … #dontwasteyourtime,” Crawley tweeted in April.
James revealed that he had no hard feelings against Crawley during his appearance on Good Morning America.
“I was looking forward to meeting her. I had set aside all this time and we had gone out to California and been called back with quarantine so I’m super excited for her and her season but looking forward to meeting her eventually,” he said.
Scroll down to see James’ steamiest social media photos.