It’s almost that time of year! Matt James‘ season of The Bachelor will kick off at the start of the 2021, and the cast is in for quite a different experience.
Season 25 will be a season of firsts: James is the first Black Bachelor, and the season will be the first to film at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania. Additionally, it’s the first time that the lead of the season has not appeared on the franchise in the past — and that may impact a lot.
“It was really funny. There were some times where we’d be walking a thousand miles an hour and talking and he would just stop and say, ‘Guys, I don’t know what you’re saying. I’ve never done [this]. I don’t know what a rose ceremony is,” host Chris Harrison told Us Weekly exclusively. “We had to really go back and learn our ABCs and spoon feed this guy. There was a sense of innocence naivete that was very endearing about that because he was also real: Everything was happening to him for the first time — group dates, two-on-ones, rose ceremonies. His eyes were just, like, wide-open, going, ‘Oh, this is crazy!'”
The entrepreneur, who was originally set to be part of Clare Crawley‘s season of The Bachelorette, also feels honored that he’s able to be a role model as the first Black Bachelor.
“On night one, he tells me he feels pressure being the first Black Bachelor. He feels like, ‘I have to serve a community. I have to serve a family. I have to serve myself,'” the producer said. “There’s a lot of weight on his shoulders and he owns that and he really leans into it and I love it.”
The real estate broker has been open about the type of women he’s hoping to meet.
“I’m looking for qualities that my mom embodies, and that’s selfless, honest, caring, compassionate and those are qualities found in women all shapes, sizes and races and it’s not a Black or white thing,” he said on Good Morning America following the announcement of his casting. “I’m hoping when that limo pulls up there’s a lot of diversity and I see every type of woman coming out of that limo.”
Why did Colton Underwood have to stay 100 yards away from Cassie Randolph? Hear the alleged crazy texts he sent her that earned him a restraining order. In under 2 minutes!
Scroll through the gallery below to meet the 32 women hoping to find love with James. After night one, 24 will remain. The new season premieres on ABC Monday, January 4, at 8 p.m. ET.