Entertainment

Meet Tayshia Adams, the First Mexican and African American ‘Bachelorette’

If you’re a fan of “The Bachelorette”, you know this season was unprecedented. The first Bachelorette, Claire Crawley (who is half-Mexican and thus, the first Latina Bachelorette) fell in love-at-first-sight with one of the show’s contestants, Dale Moss and left the show early to pursue a relationship with him.

So “The Bachelorette” producers were in a bit of a pickle: what to do with the remaining suitors? These men had signed up to leave their jobs, their friends, their family in the middle of a deadly pandemic. They had sacrificed a lot to be on “The Bachelorette”.

Enter: Tayshia Adams, the 30-year-old phlebotomist from Santa Ana, California.

Oh, and she happens to be the first Mexican and African American “Bachelorette” ever.

That means this year, “The Bachelorette” has had 2 Latina leads after never having had a Latina lead in the eighteen years the show has been on.

Tayshia immediately captured the hearts of both her suitors and her audience with her charisma, her kindness, and her megawatt smile. In an exclusive interview with mitú, Tayshia told us that being cast as the Bachelorette is a “win” for minorities who “haven’t felt seen before on the show.”

Tayshia, whose father is African-American and whose mother is Mexican, has close ties to her Mexican roots. She told us that she would spend summers in Mexico when she was a kid.

“As a kid, when I would go for months at a time, I would actually come back knowing how to speak just Spanish,” she told us about her childhood summers. “It was so funny because it took a hot minute to come back, and my dad would be like ‘What?’ Because my Dad doesn’t speak Spanish.”

In fact, Tayshia still spends time with her Mexican family. “We [still] go to Mexico and spend time with my uncles out there. My uncle’s a priest out there, my other uncle is a senator.”

Tayshia’s season of “The Bachelorette” has stood out for the frank conversations she and her suitors have had about race and ethnicity.

In one headline-making episode, Tayshia and her date, Ivan (also biracial), discussed their feelings in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement. The conversation made headlines because The Bachelor franchise has never openly discussed race or racism before.

Tayshia told mitú that, growing up in a primarily white community in Santa Ana, she wasn’t exposed to a lot of racism or tough conversations about race.

“Growing up it was a different time,” she said when asked if her family had tough conversations about race when she was growing up. “I feel like cultural assimilation plays into it.”

But she added that 2020 has sparked a new dialogue within her family; one that she’s thankful for.

“I do think the conversations from this year and from this summer encouraged us to have the conversations even more, and talk about it in ways that we maybe never had before,” she said.

About “The Bachelor” franchise’s less-than-stellar track record about casting diverse contestants, Tayshia believes a new chapter has started.

“Regardless of the past, I’m seeing a change now,” she told mitú. “And I’m a part of that change. I think we can continuously go back and forth, but we’re progressing and we’re moving forward and I’m just so happy that, this year specifically, I’m able to be a part of that.”

Catch “The Bachelorette” on ABC every Tuesday night at 8pm.

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Who Is Mari Pepin? Everything You Need to Know About the Puerto Rican Beauty Queen and ‘The Bachelor’ Frontrunner

Entertainment

Who Is Mari Pepin? Everything You Need to Know About the Puerto Rican Beauty Queen and ‘The Bachelor’ Frontrunner

As you probably know by now, a new season of the never-ending reality series “The Bachelor” has just started.

And this season is destined to be especially exciting–not just because of the promise of non-stop drama, but because the franchise has finally hired its first Black male lead, Matt James, after 18 years on the air.

And with the first Black “Bachelor” comes the most diverse group of contestants competing for the lead’s heart that they’ve ever had.

And one of the contestants that is capturing the hearts of both fans and Matt James alike is 24-year-old Puerto Rican-born pageant queen Mariela “Mari” Pepin.

On this season’s premiere episode of “The Bachelor”, Mari was immediately clocked by viewers as one of the front runners by the way that Matt reacted to meeting her. The former Wake Forest wide receiver was struck speechless by her beauty and couldn’t keep his eyes off her when she parted ways with him. It was obvious that Mari had made quite the first impression on him.

And because we love to see #representation on screen (and especially on reality TV), we decided to do our due diligence and find out as much as we could about this gorgeous and accomplished Latina. Here’s everything you need to know about Mari Pepin.

She’s Boricua–and proud of it!

Something that immediately endeared Mari to fans was the fact that she is so vocally proud of being Puerto Rican. In her first sit-down conversation with Matt, she opened up about how hard its been for her family to live through the relentless natural disasters that the island is going through.

She’s a military brat.

According to Mari’s personal blog, she spent the first few years of her life in PR before relocating to Germany because of her father’s military career. According to Mari, her unique childhood contributed to her love of traveling as an adult.

She was 2019’s Miss Maryland USA.

According to Mari’s official “Bachelor” bio, she began competing in pageants when she moved to Maryland as a teenager. She won Miss Teen Maryland and then went on to win the title of Miss Maryland. After that, she placed in the Top 10 of the Miss USA competition.

She’s wicked smart.

According to Mari’s LinkedIn page, she has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Towson University and she’s currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Marketing Intelligence from the same institution. It’s safe to say she values education.

She’s multilingual.

Not only does Mari speak both Spanish and English flawlessly, but she’s also fluent in French and American Sign Language.

Based on all this info alone, we can’t wait to see Mari Pepin crush this season of “The Bachelor”. Hopefully, this Boricua beauty will be popping up a lot on our screens for years to come!

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We Have a Conversation With Bachelorette Clare Crawley About Diversity, Her Identity, and Her Status As the First Latina Lead: ‘I Embrace It’

Entertainment

We Have a Conversation With Bachelorette Clare Crawley About Diversity, Her Identity, and Her Status As the First Latina Lead: ‘I Embrace It’

Photo: ABC/Maarten de Boer

When Clare Crawley was announced in March as the newest “Bachelorette” for the popular reality TV series, the media wanted to focus on one thing and one thing only: her age. At 39-years-old, Crawley is the show’s oldest Bachelorette to date. And the network doesn’t want you to forget it. 

Promo materials included Crawley posing as Mrs. Robinson from “The Graduate”. The tagline was “It’s about time” (Because she’s waited so long…get it? Yeah, neither do we). The resounding narrative was that, because of her age, this is her last chance at love. Which, for the record, is patently false.

Photo: ABC/Maarten de Boer

But coincidentally Crawley has another, much more exciting “first” under her belt: born to an American father and a Mexican mother, Clare Crawley is the franchise’s first Latina Bachelorette.

In an exclusive interview with Mitú, Crawley told us that her status as the first Latina Bachelorette is a happy accident. “That’s not something that was ever really brought up to me or ever even made a point,” she said of her casting. But it is a coincidence that she fully embraces. “I would gladly take the Latina Bachelorette!” she said, laughing. “That’s way better than saying I’m the oldest Bachelorette!”

Crawley knows that her fair-haired, light-skinned appearance might confuse some viewers about her heritage. When asked if she ever struggled with her identity (as many children of mixed-race parents have reported), Crawley said she never had that problem. “No, no, no. I embraced it. This is something that I’ve always talked about, it’s part of my everyday life.”

Crawley went on to describe the customs and traditions she experiences as a woman of Mexican descent. “My mom speaks Spanish all the time and lots of foods we ate growing up [were Mexican]. It was definitely something in my life throughout.”

Photo: clarecrawley/Instagram

She then lovingly described her favorite (and familiar) Mexican tradition: making tamales with her (five!) older sisters during Christmastime. “And when I say we make tamales, I mean, we literally make like 12 dozen of them. So, we make them for all our friends, everyone wants them.”

Although Clare grew up in a mixed-race household, she explained that she was largely unaware of the challenges her mother faced as a Mexican woman trying to make a life for herself in conservative Georgia.

“Back in the day, just because [my mother’s] skin was darker, people [in Georgia] didn’t talk to her. People didn’t want to hang out with her. It was really hard for her,” Crawley told Mitú. “It was something I didn’t realize affected her…Because when you think of racism or that kind of stuff, it’s not just towards one race.” Crawley’s family ended up moving to Sacramento–a community that proved to be more accepting of her mother’s heritage.

Photo: ABC/Craig Sjodin

Crawley, for her part, knows that when many people think of a “typical” Latina woman, the image of her isn’t the first one that comes to mind. But as we know, there is no such thing as a “typical” Latina.

“[People] look at my skin color, they look at my hair color, or eye color, and automatically just say: ‘Oh, this white girl’. And they’ll make jokes and they’ll make off-handed things like that, but they have no idea. And I speak up, and I say it, and I defend it because it’s definitely something I’m proud of.”

And to the critics that say she’s “not Latina enough” because of the way she looks, she pays them no mind. “I think that’s their problem, not mine,” she says. “Because there’s no denying what my genetics and my DNA are. So if people have a problem with it or challenge it or question it, I think it’s just ignorant.”

Photo: ABC/Craig Sjodin

As for “The Bachelor” franchise and their push for more diversity (they finally casted their first Black “Bachelor”), Clare is hopeful. “I want people to be aware, more and more, that it’s 2020 and here moving forward…embrace diversity. Because everybody, every age, every shape, everything you can imagine, people in general are worthy of love.”

And as for the future Bachelorette (which if rumors are to be believed, will come sooner rather than later), Crawley has this piece of advice for her: “Follow your gut.”

“At the end of the day, you need to do what’s best for yourself,” she explained to Mitú. “Because you’re the one you have to go to bed with at night. Your conscience, your heart is the one that you have to live with…You have to live your life in a way that honors yourself. So, stand by that and you won’t regret it.”

You can catch “The Bachelorette” every Tuesday on ABC at 8p.m.

*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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