The Bachelorette season 16 will announce its star Monday morning on ABC’s Good Morning America, but the news is already out: the next Bachelorette is Clare Crawley.
Clare is 38, and will turn 39 during production (her birthday is March 20), and that makes her the oldest Bachelorette in the history of the franchise. Rachel Lindsay was previously the oldest star, and she was just 32. Last season’s star, Hannah Brown, was 24.
The Chicago Tribune reported that, as of 2017, when Rachel was cast, “the median age of the Bachelorette has been 27 years old. This tracks closely with the median age of first marriage in the United States, which is 27.4 for women and 29.5 for men.”
Of course, that means there are an equal number of people older and younger than those ages when they get married.
So, this is a significant but welcome departure, and the second bit of news this week that The Bachelor franchise is embracing age and moving away from a focus on 20-somethings: ABC is now casting senior citizens for their own 65+ Bachelor show.
Perhaps the show is finally realizing that people with more life experience tend to be more interesting reality TV show cast members. And at the very least, not everyone who’s searching for a life partner is in their 20s.
Hannah Brown was reportedly offered a chance to return as The Bachelorette’s star for the second year in a row, which would have been a first, but she turned the show down, according to E! News.
Crawley, a stylist from Sacramento, Calif., was on several Bachelor franchise shows the past few years—but is not coming from Peter Weber’s season, or even a season that aired last year, so there may be a lot of “who?” or “really?” responses to this news from the show’s fans.
She first appeared on season 18 of The Bachelor, the same season that gave us The Bachelorette season 10 star Andi Dorfman. She was Juan Pablo’s runner up. “I lost respect for you,” she told Juan Pablo at the final rose ceremony, as she walked away. “What you just made me go through? I would never want my children having a father like you.”
She went on to appear on Bachelor in Paradise’s first and second seasons, and 2018’s The Bachelor Winter Games.
During the Winter Games reunion, Clare and fellow contestant Benoit Beausejour-Savard got engaged, but they ended their relationship a few months later.
Four days ago, Clare posted to Instagram a quote from author Brené Brown’s book Dare to Lead that said, “Choose courage over comfort. Choose whole hearts over armor. And choose the great adventure of being brave and afraid. At the exact same time.”
Why would Clare Crawley be chosen as The Bachelorette?
The news that Clare might be cast first came via a post to Facebook, which also claimed that Clare would be announced as the star on Ellen. Since then, GMA announced they’d reveal the star Monday morning, which called that source into question.
However, consistently accurate Bachelor spoiler “Reality Steve” Carbone has since confirmed that Clare will be announced as The Bachelorette.
Friday, Steve compared Clare’s casting to Bachelor season 22 star Arie Luyendyk Jr.: “Arie came out of nowhere. He hadn’t even been on Bachelor programming for 5 years. It’s only been 2 for Clare since Winter Games.”
Steve tweeted that “she’s not on anyone’s radar really … that gives them major shock value” and “kinda puts her as a combination of being the female Arie & Nick.”
Most significantly, he pointed out that the franchise “is all about who has a story they can sell to their audience. And Clare no doubt has a story. Not saying it’s any better or worse than someone else’s story. I’m just saying I can see where they’re going if it does end up being her.”
Steve has also been identifying the men who will be on this season, and said it will be “an older cast.” He tweeted the ages of the 14 men he’s identified so far, and they range in age from 23 to 40, with three in their 30s. He pointed out that may change, plus that’s just half of the cast of men, so the others might be older.
The show typically starts casting for suitors long before it locks in its star, which is yet another piece of evidence that the TV show doesn’t exactly care about finding a perfect match, it cares about finding drama. Will Clare Crawley and her men bring that, and wake up the franchise after this super-stale season of The Bachelor?