It's been three years since Rachel Lindsay was cast as the first Black lead on The Bachelorette. During the Aug. 31 episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons—Ever!, Tayshia Adams and Natasha Parker looked back at Lindsay's journey to find love and how she drove change within the famous franchise.
As fans will recall, Lindsay first appeared on Nick Viall's season of The Bachelor. Parker said it was the Dallas attorney's energy that really captured Bachelor Nation's hearts.
"I felt like every time I saw Rachel on the screen, she just had just the biggest smile," Parker, who appeared on Peter Weber's season of The Bachelor, said. "She was always just giving it her all. And I think the fact that she got the first impression rose, it kind of gave her that confidence to really go through this thing and see if this is really her person. I saw that every single time I saw her on screen."
Adams, who appeared on Colton Underwood's season of The Bachelor and on Bachelor in Paradise, also spoke about what it was like to watch Lindsay throughout the series.
"I'm from Orange County, California, OK? So, this is my world," she said. "And what I mean by that is I am very used to being the minority. And so seeing someone on TV have such a strong role and identify with me meant so much."
While Viall didn't end up giving her his final rose, Lindsay went on to star on season 13 of The Bachelorette, where she got engaged to Bryan Abasolo. They tied the knot last year.
"If Rachel Lindsay wasn't the Bachelorette, I don't know if I would have went on the show," Parker said. "Just because, just the representation of Black women and people of color, you know, growing up, shows that are super popular—I'll just say, like, Friends—I never watched that show because there was not a big representation of me on the show. None of the main cast members were. I watched Fresh Prince; I watched Martin; I watched the shows that people looked like me. So, having her go on The Bachelorette and actually have like a—you know, she had success, she found her man. It was a huge inspiration to see her do this and she was one of the bigger reasons why I was comfortable to go on this show."
Adams said she completely agreed.
"I think that's what encouraged me to go on it," she added, "because I feel like she was so true and authentic to herself and, at the end of the day, she got her person….She got her fairy-tale ending and that's what I wanted. So, she gave us hope."
Over the years, Lindsay has continued to call for more diversity within the franchise. In June, ABC announced Matt James would be handing out the roses on season 25 of The Bachelor, making him the first Black male lead in the show's nearly two-decades history.
"We're in a really special time right now for Black voices to be amplified and people of color's voices to be amplified," Parker said. "And I think that people need to have an open mind. Even with Matt James, you guys broke the mold and he's not a person that is from the Bachelor Nation—even though a lot of people know him because of his bestie [Tyler Cameron]. But people need to have an open mind. He's the first Black Bachelor, but Black culture is American culture. Just like Rachel Lindsay's season wasn't so different than everybody else's, keeping an open mind. I'm excited for him to find his person, find his beau, find his bae, and that's just a call to action for people of color to come out, show up and watch the show and root for him."
When Chris Harrison asked Adams what she thought it was about James that made him so exciting and attractive, she replied, "Well aside from his body?"
"I mean, he's a good-looking man," she added. "He has such a magnetic personality and I love that he's a fresh face but we also kind of know him. I think he's just really going to open up the door for a lot of people."
E! News also confirmed in August that Adams will be taking over the Bachelorette duties for Clare Crawley on season 16.
Watch the video to see their discussion.