“When Bachelor contestant Jubilee Sharpe worried on last week’s Martin Luther King Day episode that Ben Higgins “has a type and it’s not me at all,” she might as well have just called out the network. On a show with a notorious penchant for one kind of woman—in a nutshell: young, blond, demure, and almost always white—Jubilee stands out. Black, Haitian-born, Jubilee is a war veteran. She’s socially awkward and obsessed with hot dogs. She refuses to attend a mean-girl meeting where she is the intended target. And she has a backstory so tragic—she’s the only surviving member of her family—that only Emily Maynard’s could rival it.
Jubilee is such an anomaly that one of the four Laurens competing for the bachelor’s love laments, “Ben wants to have a wife that will be friends with all the other soccer moms.” Jubilee, the blonde had concluded, is not that kind of girl. Twitter erupted with charges of microaggressions and low-key racism.
But Ben certainly seems to like her. By giving Jubilee a rose, Ben elevated her beyond the other black women who usually appear on the show, who are most often eliminated before a one-on-one date, often before we can even remember their names.
The rise of weird, tough Jubilee, arguably the most authentic contestant to subject herself to the Bachelor treatment, made me wonder if she could actually win. Even better—when fans have been lobbying for a more diverse cast—could she be the next Bachelorette?
Who better to ask than the women in whose footsteps Jubilee now treads? I talked to three black women who appeared on The Bachelor about their experiences on the show to find out what they thought of Jubilee’s chances…”