The Bachelorette‘s Taje Fowler On Her Move To Quash ‘Homogenous’ Perception Of First Nations People

Image courtesy of Channel 10
Going on reality TV as only the third Indigenous woman in The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise's history in Australia, Taje Fowler knew she'd be making a big mark in terms of representation.
But according to the 23-year-old, it's not just about improving the on-screen visibility of First Nations people, but presenting a more accurate image of diversity within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Speaking to Refinery29 Australia, Fowler said that First Nations communities are often grouped as one, and combatting this perception that all Indigenous people are the same was on her agenda when entering The Bachelorette mansion to meet Brooke Blurton for the first time.
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"It’s so important to have First Nations people being represented on Aussie TV because we are perceived as homogenous people," said Fowler, explaining, "We are so diverse in our culture."
The youth worker, who is a proud decedent of the Wurundjeri nation with family connection to the Wiradjuri nation, chose to surprise Noongar-Yamatji woman Blurton by greeting her in Wiradjuri language.
"It was a proud moment on the red carpet when I introduced myself to Brooke in Wiradjuri language because even though we can relate being First Nations women, our culture is different," said Fowler.
"For so long, I’ve felt First Nations people have been 'othered' in regards to representation, so [it's great] being part of a new era where our young people, especially the youth I work with on a daily basis, can see diversity and possibilities in the mainstream space."
Talk of representation and racism often come hand in hand when it comes to the entertainment industry, and while Fowler didn't experience discrimination on set, she's faced adversity in the past.
"I have definitely experienced racism and discrimination throughout my life, and it’s a tough thing to be on the back end of, I can tell you!" she said.
"I personally know how tough it is to feel discriminated against and it’s a driving force to work even harder in advocating and supporting community, especially for kids."
Fowler took a break from studying a Bachelor of Community and Social Development for Indigenous Communities and working at a Dubbo-based youth support organisation to film The Bachelorette, and seeing Blurton as the lead was a clear drawcard.
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"Being a First Nations woman, I saw similar values in Brooke and that attracted me to applying," she explained. "I come from the belief that everything happens for a reason, and I truly believe that this was one of those moments."
Fowler is one of several contestants remaining on this year's The Bachelorette which boasts its most diverse cast ever. Both men and women from various backgrounds are vying for the heart of the show's first Indigenous bisexual bachelorette, Blurton, and the series is already three weeks underway.
Still in with a chance to nab the next rose, Fowler unsurprisingly remained tight-lipped on what's in store for her next and whether a romance with Blurton is part of the picture.
"You’ll just have to wait and see what happens between Brooke and I," she teased.
"But I will keep taking up any new opportunities that come into my life and of course, I want to continue supporting and advocating for community and youth to live their best life."  
The Bachelorette Australia airs on Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm on Channel 10.
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