Katie Thurston made her debut as the lead of The Bachelorette during a time where the ABC franchise is undergoing major changes and is the most unsettled it has been throughout its 18 years on television.
However, she remains optimistic even after the franchise has come under heavy criticism for its lack of diversity. She explained in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter “change takes time.”
Thurston is the first series lead after the franchise was called out for turning what could have been a chance to give Bachelor star Matt James a platform for BIPOC members of the cast and instead, allowing much of the season to unfold into a backbiting free-for-all.
Following was the Chris Harrison controversy, where the longstanding host of the series defended past racially offensive behavior of former contestant Rachael Kirkconnell in an interview with former Bachelor Nation star Rachel Lindsay.
These remarks would cause Harrison to step back from the series, apologize for his commentary, and come under fire from not only viewers of the show but many past cast members as well.
Thurston’s season is led by former contestants Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe, making this season the first time the show would be hosted by women.
Thurston shared her feelings regarding all the changes underfoot as she stepped into the spotlight in her search for love.
“Change takes time”
In regard to her own racially diverse cast, Thurston said that her men are a “great group of guys” and she is hopeful that Bachelor Nation enjoys the twists and turns of her season.
“I’m watching this with Bachelor Nation every Monday as it unfolds. I can’t control what we see. I don’t know what’s going to be aired. But as someone who lived it, it was a very refreshing experience,” she said. “I love the men who were there, it was a great group of guys, and I just hope America has a chance to get to know them better.”
As for the issues that have plagued the franchise up until this point? Thurston asked viewers be patient.
“Change doesn’t happen overnight. That’s what people need to remember: Change is happening, it just takes time. And the more we continue to voice our wants and needs for this whole thing, the more that we are listened to,” she explained.
“We’re always moving forward for positive change. It doesn’t happen overnight,” she remarked. “But from my experience and what I saw, I feel like this season was a great journey for not only me but for the guys as well.”
Katie had some concerns about helming the series
Stepping into the spotlight after James’ tumultuous season did cause Thurston some concern.
She understood that this season would be watched by viewers with a careful eye, who will look for changes as the franchise moves forward.
“I had my own concerns,” Thurston said.
“I wanted my experience to be true to myself and great for the men who were joining me as well as Bachelor Nation. And I think that was really taken into consideration and worked out. I expressed what I wanted with my journey, and I think I was listened to. As [viewers will see] with the first episode, it feels different. I have a great group of guys and I think Bachelor Nation is going to be really excited to watch that and see a change,” she concluded.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.