Rachel Lindsay Initially Declined ‘The Bachelorette’ and the Reason Why She Changed Her Mind Will Melt Your Heart

Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette may not be featured on The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever, but the podcast host is one of the most-beloved leads of all time. Lindsay is the franchise’s first Black bachelorette. And even now, years after finding her person, Bryan Abasolo, she remains active within the community. 

That said, Lindsay originally declined the leading role. But what made the reality star change her mind? Recently, Lindsay shared the moment she decided to move forward with The Bachelorette.

Rachel Lindsay reveals why she changed her mind after declining ‘The Bachelorette’

'The Bachelorette' Season 13 star Rachel Lindsay attends Tyler Perry Studios grand opening gala at Tyler Perry Studios on October 05, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.
‘The Bachelorette’ star Rachel Lindsay | Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Tyler Perry Studios

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When Lindsay first appeared on The Bachelor Season 21 with Nick Viall, the lawyer wasn’t familiar with the show. Her co-worker also signed her up as a cast member. 

“My coworkers actually signed me up for The Bachelor and were like, ‘You’ve got to go to this casting call,’” Lindsay told People in 2017. “So once that process happened, I started to tune in more.”

As we know, Lindsay came third on Viall’s season and moved on to become the new bachelorette. But in a recent interview with Page Six, Lindsay revealed she initially turned down the role.

“All the time, I look back and say, ‘What if?’” she told the publication in August 2020. “I laughed when my co-workers came into my office and said you should do ‘The Bachelor. And then when they offered me The Bachelorette, I told them no.”

Then Lindsay shared the moment that changed her mind about The Bachelorette. She said:

It was a mother coming up to me saying, “I heard you’re going to be on The Bachelorette. My daughter stopped watching the show. But she’s gonna start watching it again because there’s [minority] representation.” And I said, “OK. Then I have to do The Bachelorette.” 

I wasn’t even thinking about the bigger picture. But now I don’t even recognize myself. Like, “Who am I?” One decision just sent me on a path to change my whole life course.

Rachel Lindsay discusses diversity on ‘The Bachelor’ franchise now

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The reason why Lindsay decided to do The Bachelorette may not come as much of a surprise to some fans. Ever since she took on the role, she has been an advocate for diversity within the franchise. But that in itself is an uphill battle. 

In May 2020, The Bachelorette’s Hannah Brown said the N-word in an Instagram Live. The higher-ups didn’t respond. But the moment caused some fans to examine the franchise as a whole, particularly when it came to casting. 

The flagship series hasn’t had a Black bachelor in 24 seasons. Meanwhile, Lindsay is the only Black bachelorette in 16. Then when speaking with Today in June 2020, Lindsay revealed she felt unsupported by the franchise.

“I really thought I could be the one to open the door to diversity,” she said. “But I feel like I haven’t been heard.”

Lindsay also shared she would sever ties with The Bachelor franchise if there wasn’t change anytime soon. 

“It’s been asked of me, will I continue in this franchise if it continues in this way,” she told AfterBuzz. “I can’t. I have to see some type of change. It’s ridiculous. It’s embarrassing. At this point it’s embarrassing to be affiliated with it.”

Then a few weeks later, ABC announced Matt James as the first Black bachelor for the 2021 season. Following the news, Lindsay congratulated James on Twitter and noted it was a “step in the right direction.” But Lindsay also reminded fans there was still work to be done when it came to The Bachelor franchise and diversity. 

“I would be remiss to not point out that based on the current climate, it feels like a knee-jerk reaction and a result of societal pressure,” Lindsay wrote. “This announcement, without any further commitments regarding diversity, sweepingly brushes deeper issues under the rug.”

In a separate tweet, she added, “Until we see action to address the systemic racism within the franchise, the casting news today is equivalent to the trend of posting a black box on your social media account without other steps taken to dismantle the systems of injustice.”

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