Bachelor 17’s Leslie Hughes Talks Race Issues in the Franchise
Even though we love The Bachelor, it’s hard to ignore the race issue that the show’s casting presents. The leads on Bachelor and Bachelorette have been overwhelmingly white, and minority contestants rarely make it to the final rounds. So what’s the deal, ABC? Aren’t Bach stars upset about this, too?
Yes, they are — including Leslie Hughes, who competed on Sean Lowe’s Season 17 of The Bachelor. Although she was super excited to be chosen for the show, Leslie can’t help but notice the ever-shrinking number of minorities from season to season. This is also something that Lifetime’s new Bachelor-esque drama, UnREAL, tackled in the premiere episode when producers shut down the idea of a black woman being the first person their "suitor" (aka Bachelor) meets during arrivals.
“I don't know if they try to be racist, or if … like, honestly, I don't understand it,” Leslie tells Cosmopolitan. “Even daytime TV, primetime TV, there's more ethnicities represented, more multi-racial couples. Why would they not want it on The Bachelor?”
And Leslie’s not just blaming the franchise's producers — a lot rests on the shoulders of the leads themselves.
“[Sean] wanted a diverse cast, and the producers pick by what the lead wants,” she continued. “So maybe the Bachelors and the Bachelorettes they're picking want a mostly white cast. But the show's been on for so many years — why not bring in a mixed race headliner? Why not bring in a black lead? There are so many ethnicities to pick from, and there's been one? Really?”
We definitely understand where she’s coming from, and we’d love to see more diversity on the show. Fingers crossed Leslie’s pleas are heard and that next year’s Bachelor is a little more representative of our society as a whole!