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The Bachelor Season 25 star Matt James might be new to the franchise, but the lead is so much more than what fans see on Instagram — and all his job titles prove it. So what does James do for a living? The next bachelor has had a few career shifts in the past few years. 

Who is Matt James from ‘The Bachelor’ Season 25?

Matt James from 'The Bachelor' 2021
Matt James from ‘The Bachelor’ 2021 | Billy Kidd via Getty Images

As mentioned, James hasn’t appeared on The Bachelor franchise before. The 29-year-old was originally cast for Clare Crawley’s season of The Bachelorette. Meanwhile, viewers got to know the cast member on social media because he was friends with Tyler Cameron from The Bachelorette Season 15 with Hannah Brown. 

Nevertheless, Crawley’s season of The Bachelorette was postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Then ABC announced James as the next lead. James is also the franchise’s first Black bachelor.

“Matt has been on our radar since February when producers first approached him to join Bachelor Nation as part of Clare’s season,” ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said in June 2020. “When filming couldn’t move forward as planned, we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt and all agreed he would make a perfect bachelor.”

Burke continued, “We know we have a responsibility to make sure the love stories we’re seeing on-screen are representative of the world we live in, and we are proudly in service to our audience. This is just the beginning, and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise. We feel so privileged to have Matt as our first Black bachelor and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him.”

‘The Bachelor’ 2021 star Matt James almost had a professional football career

Long before James became The Bachelor Season 25 lead, he attended Wake Forest University and majored in economics, per his ABC profile. Like many Bachelor Nation contestants before him, James was also a football star. He was a wide receiver for his university’s team, the Demon Deacons.

After graduation, James went after a career in professional football. He tried out for the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints. But in the end, James was cut and pursued another occupation. 

While James didn’t end up making it pro, the new bachelor picked up a few things from his football days that will surely help him on the reality series. In an interview with Us Weekly from January 2021, James said:

I think one of my most important things I learned from my coach back when I was playing college football is, he said, “Be where your feet are.” That’s just, like, be present, be in that moment and take it for what it is. Don’t get enamored by all the glitz and glamours of how amazing this can be. Really see what this is, be in that moment, and see who that girl is for you, and see if it can work.

Matt James currently holds multiple job titles


How ‘The Bachelorette’ Clare Crawley Really Feels About ‘The Bachelor’ Matt James

James shifted careers a few times before landing The Bachelor Season 25 role. After pursuing football, the 29-year-old moved on and worked as a banking analyst for PNC Bank in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Then in 2017, James moved to New York City and started his job with CBRE, a commercial real estate firm based in Manhattan. 

Now, James is not just a real estate broker with CBRE and the next bachelor, but also an entrepreneur and community organization founder. In 2018, James founded ABC Food Tours, a local nonprofit organization and mentorship program that helps educate children in underprivileged communities about living healthier lives through food and fitness. He currently runs the organization alongside Cameron. 

“We just felt like we needed to do something to bridge that gap so that they’re not missing out on an experience that they should be privy to,” James told CBS News in November 2019.

The Bachelor Season 25 with Matt James airs Monday nights on ABC.