Making history — and a lasting first impression? Abigail Heringer, who is competing for Matt James’ heart, is the first deaf contestant to appear on The Bachelor.
“Abigail is one of our favorites. This is an absolute gem of a woman, impossible not to fall in love with,” Chris Harrison said as he announced the cast in December via YouTube. “Abigail has an incredible story; she’s the first hearing-impaired person we’ve ever had on the show. [She] is just beautiful and sincere, the true definition of someone here for the right reasons.”
The host concluded, ”I think you’re all going to really love Abigail, who — I will just say this — makes a very strong first impression on Matt.”
Abigail is one of four children and lives with her sister, Rachel. She also has two younger brothers.
“She’s always made us proud, and she’s got a really good head on her shoulders, so I’m not worried about anything,” Abigail’s mom, Suzie, told the Statesman Journal in October while production was still underway. “Hopefully, she’ll have fun. … I jokingly told her to remember her grandparents will be watching. I know that will stick with her.”
Both Abigail and Rachel were born with congenital hearing loss. According to their mother, Rachel was the youngest child to undergo cochlear implantation surgery at Oregon Health & Science University when she was 2 years old. Abigail underwent the same procedure when she was 2.
“I was surprised she was willing to share her story about her hearing loss,” Suzie told the outlet. “It’s something she usually doesn’t talk much about. … With her disability, if that can impact one other person, it’s worth sharing the story.”
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Matt’s season is also historic as he is the first Black Bachelor. The show filmed from late September to late November at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania.
“To be honest. I don’t think this is a great way to meet your forever person,” Abigail’s mother said before acknowledging it’s hard to find love amid the coronavirus pandemic. ”Actually, in the age of COVID, it’s a safe way to date.”
Back in 2013, Sarah Herron became the show’s first contestant with a physical disability. Sarah, who competed for Sean Lowe’s heart and on two seasons of Bachelor in Paradise, was born with only the upper half of her left arm.
The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
Scroll through for five things to know about Abigail:
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