Jimmy Nicholson — a 31-year-old airline pilot — was revealed as the new leading man on the Channel 10 show’s official Instagram and Facebook on Thursday. Jimmy has New Zealand and Fijian heritage and we’ve not seen a POC Bachelor since 2014 when Blake Garvey was Australia’s first Black male lead on ‘The Bachelor’ in season two. Since then, culturally diverse reality stars have featured as contestants, but not as the leads.
While some followers were happy Jimmy wasn’t a celebrity or former contestant from the franchise, some Instagram users left nasty comments on the announcement post.
One comment said: “The bachelor should be desirable. Sorry, but this man isn’t.”
Another user wrote: “This photo is... not very promising,” with another adding “wouldn’t hurt to smile.”
Another said: “Best part is watching 3l20 women flop at his feet when most of them don’t even find him attractive anyway lol.... he isn’t all that but he will find someone.”
Someone else commented: “As someone who’s pretty average looking myself, I guess it’s good he’s not that attractive.”
One comment highlighted Jimmy’s cultural heritage saying: “finally some diversity” while others have said “it’s just a bad photo”.
Channel 10 said Jimmy is a “self-confessed romantic” who is “intelligent” and “passionate”. The Daily Telegraph reports former constant travel with work made it hard for Jimmy to date and find that special someone but since COVID-19 has crippled international and much of domestic air travel in Australia, the enforced leave from work means he finally has time to invest in love.
“I am a big believer in embracing any opportunity that presents itself, especially if it has the potential to change your life for the better,”Jimmy said in a statement.
Diversity and representation has been an issue for Australia’s entertainment industry, particularly reality TV, with fans of prime time programs often requesting more diversity from shows like ‘The Bachelor’ on social media.
Last year former ‘Bachelorette’ contestant Carlos Fang claimed he was cast in the 2016 season as the “token guy”.
“It’s your advantage because you know there’s always one person cast to represent that mix but it’s likely to be a disadvantage for the final outcome of the show. Rarely is there a person of colour standing there at the end of the season,” the Chinese Australian told HuffPost Australia.
‘The Bachelor Australia’ Timeline
2013: Tim Robards
2014: Blake Garvey
2015: Sam Wood
2016: Richie Strahan
2017: Matthew Johnson aka Matty J
2018: Nick Cummins aka The Honey Badger
2019: Matt Agnew
2020: Locky Gilbert
2021: Jimmy Nicholson
‘Bachelor In Paradise’ and ‘The Bachelorette 2019’ contestant Niranga Amarasinghe in the past has said there may be fewer POC on reality TV because “from experience, there are less POC auditioning for reality TV”.
In an interview with news.com.au, he cited “very strict cultural backgrounds” as one reason they may not be participating.
“For the ones who do and are successful, there is another hurdle an individual has to conquer to actually make it to the filming stage. They have to convince their families they are happy for them to go on reality TV.”
Niranga said traditional views in some cultures “don’t always allow this kind of public display.”
Channel 10 is yet to release an air date for season nine of ‘The Bachelor Australia’.
With additional reporting from Alicia Vrajlal.