'The Bachelorette' will feature an Asian contestant for the first time in just about forever

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This morning, ABC released cast photos and biographies for the next season of The Bachelorette, starring Bachelor runner-up JoJo Fletcher. One of these 25 contestants captured our attention immediately: Jonathan, a 29-year-old technical sales rep, appears to be one of very few men of East Asian descent—and the only one in recent memory—to have appeared on the Bachelor franchise.

His official ABC biography reveals Jon has tattoos (two of them, in fact: "my grandma on my inner arm and a tiger and Asian artwork on my left shoulder"), his favorite authors are J.D. Salinger and R.L. Stine (Goosebumps, of course, being the most romantic children's horror fiction series), and that he doesn't believe gluten allergies are "real." Welcome to the family, Jon!

While it's unclear how many Asian-American men have competed on The Bachelorette (we've reached out to ABC for confirmation), Jonathan isn't the first, although his predecessors are few and far between. Andy Chang, for example, appeared on season two, starring Meredith Phillips, in 2004. The Texas dentist, who is Chinese-American, was eliminated in the first week, with the dubious distinction of being the only contestant who didn't have the opportunity to meet with the Bachelorette alone.


"After the fact, I think [my ethnicity] worked against me," Chang told the Chicago Tribune.

During the last season of The Bachelor, we talked about a lot about diversity, particularly with regard to how black contestants are portrayed—and how long they get to stick around—on the show. In fact, many fans hoped that Jubilee Sharpe would become the first African-American Bachelorette, or that Caila Quinn would become the first Bachelorette of Asian descent. (JoJo, it's worth noting, is half Persian.) Although an Asian woman hasn't yet starred as the titular Bachelorette, Asian women have competed as contestants on The Bachelor: Catherine Lowe (née Giudici), who is half-Filipina, won season 17 and is expecting a child with husband Sean Lowe.

It remains to be seen how Jonathan's appearance on the show will go (and whether he'll outlast poor Andy Chang), but his casting is nevertheless worth celebrating, particularly given that Asian men are woefully ill-represented as romantic leads in pop culture.

Some light Google stalking (thanks, Reality Steve!) reveals that Jon (last name Hamilton) hails from Vancouver. Judging from his Instagram, Jon excels at posing for shirtless pics with adorable babies, an underrated genre of portraiture.


And if you're interested in poaching a quality employee from Somatic HVAC Solutions Ltd., you can always creep on Jonathan's LinkedIn.

Does this mean we can expect an Asian Bachelor in the near future? Don't count on it.


The Bachelorette premieres on May 23 on ABC.

Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.

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