'The Bachelor': Who is Matt James? All you need to know about show's first Black lead and drama with Clare Crawley
Matt James friendship with Tyler C is the only thing that audiences know about but there's more to the show's first Black lead who has impressed fans even before his season premiere
By now, Bachelor Nation fans know what every season of 'The Bachelor' is like and Season 25 is no different except for the fact that they're creating history with this one. How they did so was listening to millions of fans who protested asking showmakers to cast a Black male lead, an initiative they'd not taken since the show began airing 18 years ago.
Rachel Lindsay, a Black female lead on the franchise's spinoff 'The Bachelorette' too raised an alarm against the lack of diversity. A petition was created to recruit more POC after #BachelorSoWhite heavily trended back on June 8. Four days later, Matt James was announced as the frontman of 'The Bachelor' creating history as the first Black male to lead the show.
The only thing about him that everyone knows well is that he's 'The Bachelorette' contestant Tyler Cameron's best friend but there's more to him than just that. Continue reading for everything else that you need to know about him.
Who is Matt James?
The 6'4" North Carolina native is the first Black man to ever lead 'The Bachelor' on Season 25 of the show. It seems like his stint as the Bachelor was written in the stars. Even though Covid-19 took away a lot from the majority of the world's population in a number of ways, James too lost his chance to appear as Clare Crawley's suitor on 'The Bachelorette' Season 16. Instead, a chance to be the show's lead came his way and he lapped it up with fervor.
He went on to appear on 'Good Morning America' after the announcement and said it was an "honor" to be the first Black Bachelor. "I hope people see that I'm not that much different than them, and that diverse love stories are beautiful," James said.
What does he do?
He was a former wide receiver for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons football team while pursuing his Economics major at the Wake Forest University. After graduating, he tried his hand at the NFL, earning a tryout with the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints, according to Oprah Mag. His athletic career didn't last, however, James continues to stay ripped. He's continued to engage in various sporting activities including golf, horseriding, skateboarding and basketball.
Who has he dated before?
James hasn't had any public relationships ever before. However, blogger Reality Steve had some exclusive dope about the Bachelor's dating life. James was dating a certain Madison Nelson briefly, around the same time that his BFF Tyler C was dating Gigi Hadid.
"Some tea for you already: Apparently Madison Nelson was dating Matt last summer when Tyler was seeing GiGi. Went to one of the fashion shows with him. Here they are together. Heard they were together for at least a couple of months," Reality Steve had tweeted.
Some tea for you already: Apparently Madison Nelson was dating Matt last summer when Tyler was seeing GiGi. Went to one of the fashion shows with him. Here they are together. Heard they were together for at least a couple months. pic.twitter.com/Jbb8xrb2Cx— RealitySteve (@RealitySteve) October 6, 2020
Madison is one of the contestants that has been cast on Season 25 as one of James' suitresses and it remains to be seen how things will go between the two.
Non-profit organization ABC Food Tours
After moving to New York from North Carolina, James started ABC Food Tours, a non-profit organization along with Tyler C. The organization's philanthropic mission is to offer free tours to underserved elementary school students. One of the programs offered by the organization is to teach underprivileged New York City youth about how to lead healthy, active lifestyles while giving them a chance to try new restaurants in their local communities, according to PEOPLE.
Relationship with Christianity
Matt James during an interview with Wake Forest Magazine said, “Other than becoming a Christian, coming to Wake Forest was the best decision I ever made.” He credits his mother who he says was and continues to remain a great inspiration. She backed all his decisions, whatever he wanted to do, and nurtured his soul in the church, he said.
Matt James and Clare Crawley
James was popular due to his time on the football teams as well as his friendship with Tyler C, even before he was cast as a suitor on Clare Crawley's season and later as the lead on 'The Bachelor'. When Covid-19 struck, he decided to raise money for relief via Cameo but this didn't sit well with Crawley who tweeted, “If you are doing interviews and creating Cameo accounts before you are even on my season… you are in it for the wrong reasons… #dontwasteyourtime.”
Fans slammed Clare back then saying she's getting ahead of herself and later, she also went on to become the worst Bachelorette of all times while James was given his own season.
What he is looking for in future romantic partner?
“Selfless, honest, caring, compassionate, and those are qualities found in women all shape, sizes, and races,” he explained on 'Good Morning America'. “It’s not a black or white thing so I'm hoping that when that limo pulls up there is a lot of diversity and I see every type of woman coming out of that limo," James said.
'The Bachelor' Season 25 will premiere on January 4, 2021. A new episode will air every Monday night at 8 pm ET on ABC.