Well, Bachelor Nation. It's been a long year already, hasn't it? While we await Katie Thurston's Season 17 of The Bachelorette on these shores (and truly hope it will be worth that wait), it's been a bit difficult to get and stay excited about the franchise, which has been increasingly mired in (very deserved) controversy. We shall see soon what The Bachelorette has in store for us, but know that the Australian leg of the franchise has already outpaced ours in a very important way, as they've now cast the first openly bisexual star of their upcoming 2021 season.
Australia's Network 10 announced that their new Bachelorette is Brooke Blurton, a 26-year-old youth worker, presenter, and mental health worker who appeared first on the country's version of The Bachelor in 2019, and later on their Bachelor in Paradise. Blurton, who hails from Western Australia, is also a member of the Noongar-Yamatji Aboriginal peoples, which means that she's also the franchise's very first Indigenous lead. As you might have guessed, Blurton's casting does mean that The Bachelorette Australia will be cast with both men and women who will be looking to try and find love with the star.
Obviously, one of the main issues that many people have been having with The Bachelor and The Bachelroette stateside is the lack of diversity in a number of ways, among both the leads, those cast to connect with them on every season, and people behind the scenes. When Michelle Young picks up The Bachelorette reigns from Katie later this year to lead her season, she'll only be the third BIPOC to lead that leg of the franchise in 18 seasons, and the fourth overall, with Matt James having been the first lead of color for The Bachelor earlier this year, in Season 25.
In addition, many fans haven't been happy with the fact that we've never had any openly LGBTQ people lead one of the franchises. Of course, The Bachelor Season 23 star Colton Underwood recently came out as gay, but was not out when he led his season, and dated only women there. As far as I know, the only openly bisexual contestants we've seen have been Jaimi King, who was on Nick Viall's Season 21, and Demi Burnett, who competed on Colton's season, but didn't come out publicly until she appeared on Bachelor in Paradise later that year.
Hopefully, this is a sign of change for the franchise overall, and we can get not just more representation on the series among leads and contestants, but thoughtful representation which shows that the producers and others behind the scenes are really doing the work needed to present our differences in a positive, non-stereotypical light. As the host of The Bachelorette Australia, Osher Günsberg, said, in part:
We are a nation of people from so many different backgrounds, so many different cultures and so many different experiences, yet we all have one thing in common – we all want to be loved in a way that is meaningful to us.
Brooke Blurton sounds as though she's ready for the challenge of looking for love on national TV again, so here's hoping that she's able to find someone who makes her heart sing, and that her casting will signal better things to come from our versions of The Bachelorette and The Bachelor.
Katie Thurston will debut on The Bachelorette on Monday, June 7, at 8 p.m. EST on ABC, but for more to watch check out our guide to 2021 summer TV.