Matt James was announced as the lead star of “The Bachelor” Season 25 on “Good Morning America” on June 12, 2020. This makes him the first ever African-American lead star of the ABC dating show.
The announcement of James as the lead star of “The Bachelor” Season 25 came amid the reignition of the Black Lives Matter movement. Since the death of African-American security guard George Floyd on May 25, 2020, the United States has been dealing with series of protests while still battling against the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
James is an outspoken supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. Born in 1992, he is a real estate broker, entrepreneur and community organization founder from North Carolina.
“Certainly no one is blind to what is happening in the world so hopefully this announcement serves as a bit of optimism during a time that we can really use this but I don’t want this to look like we’re patting ourselves on the back or taking a victory lap,” ABC executive Rob Mills told Variety. “We don’t want this, in any way, to seem like a cure-all and seem like, ‘Hey! Look what we did here!’”
James is the best friend of “The Bachelorette” Season 15 first runner-up Tyler Cameron of Jupiter, Florida, USA. The two attended Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA and were teammates on the university’s football team.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, James and Cameron were roommates in New York City, New York, USA. On February 9, 2020, they attended The Blonds A/W 20 Fashion Show at Spring Studios in New York City together.
“The Bachelor” Season 25 aired on ABC from January 4, 2021 to March 15, 2021. Here are 13 more facts about James:
- A volunteer for Wake Forest University’s Santa’s Helpers since December 2011, he assisted the university’s athletic department in wrapping and delivering gifts to over 1600 families and served as Santa Claus in the delivery process.
- While studying at Wake Forest University, he was involved with community programs including Eat with the Deacs and Project Pumpkin through the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
- In Winston-Salem, he worked as a broker assistant for Davenport & Company LCC from May 2013 to August 2013 and for Merrill Lynch from May 2014 to August 2014, a social media strategist for Morgan Stanley from July 2014 to August 2014 and a junior analyst for Verger Capital Management LLC from August 2014 to December 2014.
- In 2015, he earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Wake Forest University.
- An aspiring professional football player, he had a few tryouts with the National Football League teams Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints in 2015 but did not make the cut with both. The latter called him back but ended up cutting him again.
- From February 2016 to April 2017, he worked as a corporate and institutional banking analyst for at PNC Bank in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
- In New York City, he started his work for Mic as a media planner in April 2017 but left in October 2017 to join commercial real estate company CBRE as a research analyst.
- In May 2018, he and Cameron co-founded ABC Food Tours, a charitable organization that provides culinary experiences to underserved elementary school students in New York City.
- As a social media influencer, he has worked with several brands including American Express and Delta.
- He was nominated to apply for “The Bachelorette” by Cameron’s late mother Andrea Hermann Cameron. He was initially cast as a suitor on “The Bachelorette” Season 16, which was supposed to premiere in May 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, he and Cameron quarantined together in Jupiter.
- He is the first lead star of “The Bachelor” cast without previously appearing on “The Bachelorette” since “The Bachelor” Season 12 lead star Matt Grant.
- When “The Bachelor” Season 25 concluded on March 15, 2021, he chose to pursue a relationship with Rachael Kirkconnell but it was announced during the “After the Final Rose” special that he had broken up with her after her racially insensitive past was revealed.
- On April 28, 2021, he confirmed that they were back together. On May 4, 2021, they were spotted strolling around together in Lower East Side, New York City, TMZ reported.