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[This story contains spoilers for The Bachelor’s season 27 Women Tell All special.]
ABC is looking forward to the start of The Bachelorette before even wrapping things up on Zach Shallcross’ run of The Bachelor.
Charity Lawson was announced during Tuesday’s Women Tell All special as the lead for the upcoming 20th season of ABC’s The Bachelorette. The new season will debut over the summer.
“I know that I’ll be making a lot of people proud,” Lawson said after host Jesse Palmer surprised her with the decision. Viewers also saw her tearfully call her mom to relay the news.
Lawson was a standout from Shallcross’ current season of The Bachelor and was eliminated during Monday’s hometowns episode ahead of his March 27 finale. Lawson ended up in fourth place, and her exit left Gabi Elnicki, Ariel Frenkel and Kaity Biggar as the three remaining contestants for Shallcross’ final rose.
The new Bachelorette is a 27-year-old child and family therapist from Columbus, Georgia. She received her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Auburn University.
“This is hard, really hard,” Lawson told Shallcross after he sent her home Monday. “I took a big risk, obviously, coming here and putting my heart out on the line. And I knew that from night one, the moment that you spoke and the moment I knew that it was you, I knew that this experience was going to be something incredible. It’s bittersweet, for sure.”
She will look to end a lengthy streak of unsuccessful Bachelorette couples, as the show’s two most recent co-leads, Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia, have both since split from their chosen suitors. To find a still-thriving Bachelorette couple, one needs to go all the way back to 2017 lead Rachel Lindsay, who tied the knot with Bryan Abasolo in 2019. Additionally, JoJo Fletcher, the Bachelorette prior to Lindsay, married her show pick, Jordan Rodgers, in May.
Lawson also continues to bring diversity to The Bachelorette franchise, as she becomes the fourth Black female lead in the long-running franchise following Lindsay (2017), Tayshia Adams (2020) and Michelle Young (2021). Windey, whose season with Recchia premiered in July, is also a woman of color. After the firestorm around the season with the first-ever Black Bachelor with Matt James in 2021, the ABC and Warner Bros. franchise has made efforts to diversity the series both in front of and behind the camera. (Lindsay, who distanced herself from the franchise, recently said she no longer watches the show.)
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter ahead of his season premiere, Shallcross said he was hopeful that his run as the dating show’s star would keep viewers from just seeing him as the “boring Bachelor.” He explained, “People don’t know necessarily who I am, and on this season, you’re going to see all of me. It’s the good, the bad, the goofy — the side that hasn’t really been shown before. That’s what I’m excited for people to see.”
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