After 15 years and 33 seasons, The Bachelor franchise has finally cast its first African-American lead. Rachel Lindsay, one of four women left competing for Nick Viall's heart on the current season of The Bachelor, will kick off her own search for love as The Bachelorette on ABC on May 22, reports USA Today. Lindsay, a 31-year-old lawyer from Texas—who also received the "first impression" rose from Viall on the first episode of this season, per the Hollywood Reporter—appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday to help make the announcement, which, in a rare move, came weeks before the season finale of The Bachelor.
Show creator Mike Fleiss had promised a "historic" announcement following years of controversy over the show's lack of diversity. Last summer, ABC Entertainment chief Channing Dungey said she hoped to "increase the pool of diverse candidates in the beginning" since a favorite contestant from one season usually ends up as the next Bachelor or Bachelorette. ABC boss Robert Mills says Lindsay is "the fans' choice" and "an accomplished, confident and beautiful woman who knows what she wants in life." On Kimmel, Lindsay said she's looking for a man with a great smile who can make her laugh. "I'm ready to find love, to find a husband," she said. (See how Viall feels about saying goodbye to Lindsay.)