When one door closes, another one opens — and for ABC contestant Charity Lawson, her “Bachelor” breakup with Zach Shallcross that aired last night was the best thing to ever happen to her.
Why? Because now she’s the star of her own show.
Lawson has been cast as ABC’s newest leading lady for “The Bachelorette” Season 20, which will air this summer.
The announcement was made on Tuesday night’s episode of “The Bachelor: Women Tell All” where host Jesse Palmer surprised Lawson with the news.
“Women Tell All” taped on the Warner Bros. lot on February 24th, and when Lawson’s “Bachelorette” announcement was made, the set was cleared so members of the media who were present were not made privy to the news. Variety was at the taping of “Women Tell All,” and the scene with Lawson was the last piece filmed that day. It’s typical for “The Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” casting news to leak, so the franchise pulled off a rare feat with no leaks of Lawson’s big news.
Lawson was in Shallcross’ final four, but was sent home on the episode that aired yesterday, right after Shallcross met her family on the “hometown dates” episode. (Shallcross’ season of “The Bachelor” wraps up later this month.)
Lawson is a 27-year-old child and family therapist from Columbus, Georgia. She earned her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Auburn University. ABC’s bio describes her as “searching for a life partner who loves dogs, thrifting and a good tailgate; but, above all else, is honest, empathetic and values her for who she is.” On this week’s hometown date episode, viewers met Lawson’s parents, who have been married over 47 years. Because of this example, Lawson is eager to find lasting love to match her parents’ love.
Lawson’s casting brings more diversity to the ABC dating show, which has been making steps towards increased inclusivity over the years, after much criticism for a lack in diverse casting across the franchise’s two decades on the air.
While fan-favorite series “Bachelor In Paradise” showcases many diverse couples, the first-ever Black lead on franchise was not cast until 2017 with “The Bachelorette” star Rachel Lindsay, who made history becoming the first Black female star on the long-running show. Since, the franchise has had two more Black “Bachelorettes” with Tayshia Adams (Season 16 in 2020) and then Michelle Young (Season 18 in 2021). Still, the franchise has had just one Black male lead with Matt James who became the first-and-only Black star of “The Bachelor” in its 25th season. “The Bachelor” premiered in 2002, and is one of the most successful and enduring properties on television.
ABC did not announce a premiere date for Lawson’s season yet, but her journey to find love will begin airing in summer 2023.