‘The Bachelorette’: ABC’s new leading lady revealed with groundbreaking pick

The finale for the current season of “The Bachelor” is still one week away, but the new star of “The Bachelorette” has already been revealed.

Clare Crawley, a 38-year-old hair stylist from Sacramento, will lead “The Bachelorette” franchise during its 16th season. The news was announced Monday morning on “Good Morning America.”

Crawley is no stranger to the franchise, having first appeared as the runner-up during Juan Pablo Galavis’ season of “The Bachelor.” She continued to appear on the first two seasons of “Bachelor in Paradise” and the spinoff entitled “Bachelor Winter Games.”

Crawley can vouch that she’s found love in the franchise before, after leaving “Bachelor Winter Games” with an engagement with Benoit Beauséjour-Savard. The two had a relationship during filming where he proposed during the “Tell All” show, before they eventually called off their engagement in April 2018.

The archival pick is atypical for ABC, since leads are typically selected from the previous batch of contestants from recent seasons. However, the network has gone out-of-order in selecting franchise stars, for instance, with Bachelors Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Nick Viall. On the heels of Galavis’ season in 2014, Andi Dorfman was selected over Crawley as the Bachelorette

Crawley’s resurrection could be a reaction to the recent backlash that contestants are too young with most of the cast being in their early 20’s, which seems outdated for current societal dating habits that see many partners meeting later in life, after they’ve become established in their own careers independently. Crawley dethrones Rachel Lindsay, who was 32 during filming, as the oldest Bachelorette in the franchise’s history.

Aside from the franchise being criticized for its unrealistic age standards, “The Bachelor” has received much backlash for their lack of diversity. Lindsay is the only star, male or female, of color to lead the franchise in its nearly 20 year history.

Several others were in consideration for the gig, including Bachelor alums Tia Booth, Tayshia Adams and Kelsey Weier, who was a runner-up in the current season with Peter Weber.

Filming for “The Bachelorette” is scheduled to begin next week and premiere in May. “The Bachelor” finale airs next week, and the “Women Tell All” special airs tonight.