Matt James reached a milestone in reality TV history and didn’t even realize it.
On Season 25 of “The Bachelor,” James made history as the first Black Bachelor in the franchise.
According to James, he didn’t know he was breaking new ground for the long-running show, which first aired in 2002, when he accepted the role in June 2020.
“I guess I didn’t think there was something that wasn’t done,” he said Tuesday, referring to his accomplishment on Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast.
“I didn’t think that was something we hadn’t come across yet. I’ve seen a bunch of black people through the franchise. I thought. I didn’t know,” James said.
The reality star was originally scheduled to appear on season 16 of “The Bachelorette” in 2020, but production was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
James was living in Florida with “Bachelorette” alum Tyler Cameron when ABC tapped him to lead “The Bachelor” weeks after the season was temporarily postponed.
James said, “Initially, I thought it was a prank call because it was in the middle of COVID and I was living in a quarantine home with all my friends, and we were all messing around at that time.”
Shortly after he decided to become The Bachelor, he learned how great the season was.
“I didn’t accept the role of being the savior,” shared James. “My only focus was finding someone with whom I could spend the rest of my life and fall in love. I was looking for this in my life because I was missing it.”
He talked about the pressure of feeling “the weight of everyone’s expectations”. [the] Journey” after saying yes to appearing in the historic season.
“I’m like, ‘I wonder if anyone else felt this move in a role like this.’ And they didn’t because it was at the right time in a country where we were going through everything that we were going through from a racial perspective – [and] Still passing through,” he said.
The star eventually ended up with the winner of his season, Rachel Kirkconnell, but the pair briefly split when controversial photos of Kirkkonnell at an “Antebellum Plantation themed” party in 2018 surfaced in early 2021.
The leading man released a book titled “First Impressions: Off Screen Conversation with a Bachelor on Race, Family, and Forgiveness” that hit bookstores on Tuesday, giving fans a glimpse of his life and experience on the show .