Peter Weber. Clare Crawley, Tayshia Adams. Few people would accuse these three of having much in common besides leading Bachelor Nation at some point over the most cursed year in recent memory, 2020 (yes, really, Pilot Pete’s season was this year). Weber’s time as The Bachelor was defined by indecision; Crawley stands as the most chaotic, yet laser focused, Bachelorette in history; and Adams has quickly entered the running for the “Best Bachelorette Ever” title with her fun-loving and inquisitive attitude as captain of the franchise.
But, if you were to really listen to these three you would notice something much deeper connects them all: they’re all biracial Latinx people. Weber and Crawley both have white fathers and Latinx mothers who are respectively Cuban- and Mexican-American (Weber loved bringing up mom Barb Weber’s heritage). Adams is not only the second-ever Black Bachelorette following Rachel Lindsay’s trailblazing turn in 2017 — but she's a self-described “mixed” woman, with a Black dad and Mexican mom. Tayshia Adams is Black. Tayshia Adams is Latina.
“I am more comfortable now in my skin than I have been in a very long time — if not ever,” Adams told Refinery29 during a Zoom call this week. “As far as being biracial, I think that this is definitely the year for that conversation, which I’m so happy about. But I think it shouldn’t have just been this year. I think that it should be a bigger conversation. I’m so happy that more people are getting comfortable with talking about it.”
“Comfort” is what defines Adams’ place as the final Latinx Bachelor Nation lead of the year. While Weber and Crawley’s starring stints on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette were important for representation (there have never been back-to-back Latinx leads on a network reality show), Adams easily pushes the series to new depths, breaking common misconceptions about what Latinx people “look like” on TV. Both of Adams’ 2020 predecessors, who are white, avoided the truly difficult subjects in dating, like the effects of racism on daily life, the world’s reckoning with institutionalized police brutality, or even the aftermath of divorce. Adams, however, jumps headfirst into these supposedly taboo topics.
Adams — who protested for Black lives in June and posted an emotional caption — credits others’ newfound openness with her own honesty on camera. “Because I feel like more people are asking questions about [my identity],” she said. This is a big change for Adams, who recalls a childhood of not knowing which race and ethnicity box to fill in during standardized tests. “It's always been hard to [be] like, ‘Okay, who do I identify with? I’m not even quite sure.’ Because it doesn’t even have what I am on there,” she continued. “But now, [I’m] more comfortable just to say, ‘Yeah. I am African-American. And I am Mexican. And I’m biracial.’”
Tayshia brought that confidence to The Bachelorette, where she faced the daunting task of taking over dating duties from initial star Crawley following her “Week 4” exit. Crawley might be Latinx — but she is also a blonde, gray-eyed (seriously, check) woman. The statistics clearly show how often racism destroys the dating prospects of Black women like Adams. Still, Adams did not worry about these obstacles while boarding the series.
“I just kind of walked in and I am who I am. If you don’t like me, it’s okay,’” Adams recalled. “I think if I continuously had conversations where [the men] were just like, ‘You know, I can’t tell if I really want to stay.’ Then maybe that [doubt] would have crept into my head a little bit more.”
Adams honed this unwavering outlook while dating in her hometown of Orange County, which is a majority white community. “I don’t look like everybody that’s in my neighborhood and around me,” she admitted. “I just assume that if you’re talking to me, then you’re interested and I’m interested … You wouldn’t be talking to me otherwise if I wasn’t your cup of tea.”
This self-assured perspective brought Adams to her most important date so far, with Ivan Hall. At the emotional peak of the hangout, Adams cries while recalling the experience of hearing people in the O.C. actually say “Black lives matter” out loud. “Those are the people, like in my backyard, [whom] I’ve been trying to prove [to] for so long that I’m the same as them,” she weeps.
The scene aired about two weeks after actress and political commentator Eva Longoria suggested a separation between “Black women” and “Latinx women,” which Longoria has since apologized for saying. Adams — and her tears — are a stark reminder of how dangerous such assumptions are. To be pro-Black is to be pro-Latinx. And, to be racist against Black people leads to visible harm for Latinx people.
“It’s a big topic of conversation, but it’s hard to transition and be like, ‘Okay, we’re gonna eat sundaes and then now we’re talking about being biracial and how it made me feel and going to protests,’” Adams told R29. “But I’m so happy that conversation happened. It was inevitable. Ivan and I definitely would have gotten there at some point.”
Despite the intensity of the discussion, Adams doesn’t feel pressured into leading such a conversation as a rare Black Bachelor Nation star. “Those are just the conversations that I would rather have. That I have in my relationships,” she said.
“I think those are serious conversations that you should have in any relationship. If you’re not talking about those things — what are you talking about?”