It's easy to forget that The Bachelorette is a massive production. Everything, from the set to the clothing to the casting, is pulled off so seamlessly by the time it reaches our televisions that we don't even think about what goes into creating the show.
In an incredibly candid interview with the Hollywood Reporter, casting director Lacey Pemberton and host Chris Harrison shed some light on the casting process, as well as talking about Rachel Lindsay's historic season of The Bachelorette, whose 14-year wait for a Bachelorette of color was recently parodied on SNL.
The most mindblowing reveal is that the casting begins over a year in advance for each season. It takes that long to recruit the perfect mix of people. Pemberton says that finding someone who really will romantically click the Bachelor or Bachelorette is their primary objective, even if it seems like the most random mix of fame-hungry contestants. "We wanted to find the best people we thought Rachel would hopefully have some chemistry with and fall in love with. That’s really my goal every season," she explains to THR. She sets up recruiting events for potential contestants as well as sifts through tons of submissions from would-be casanovas. The production team is serious about finding someone their star will have some chemistry with, but just like IRL, "if that chemistry is not there it’s not there. Our process is very much like real life. It can not work, work for a time or work forever." Isn't that the honest truth about relationships.
This season, Rachel Lindsay is the first Black woman to be cast as the Bachelorette. While we agree that there's no excuse that it has taken this long, the producers were heartened by the sheer volume of submissions from guys who wanted to meet Rachel. After all, Chris Harrison says "she’s beautiful, smart, articulate, educated and has an incredible career." Who wouldn't want to date her?
This season's group of hopeful romantics are also the most diverse yet, in terms of race and geographical hometowns. "We made a point to have a good cross-section and a good diverse group geographically speaking and racially. It’s nothing we haven’t been trying, but you're going to see it on Rachel’s season more than ever," Harrison told THR. Here's hoping they keep up the commitment to truly capturing all the different joys of love.
It seems to have worked: Rachel Lindsay has already announced that she's engaged! Which one of these fine gentlemen is it to? We'll just have to tune in to find out!
The Bachelorette starts this Monday, May 22nd at 9p.m. ET on ABC.
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