It started as an online campaign that quickly went viral. Now Misee Harris, a pediatric dentist originally from Tennessee, is using her social media fame to spread awareness about diversity in reality television by making a bid to be the first African-American woman to appear as The Bachelorette on ABC's longtime running reality show.
"I really, really think it would be great for other women of different races and ethnic backgrounds to date and to be able to relate to someone who looks like them," Harris told us.
She's made it very clear she doesn't think ABC is racist. In fact, she thinks producers are merely concerned with ratings, which Harris promises she can get, thanks to her tens of thousands of social media followers.
"And I don't think America's scared of it. I think it's real," Harris explained.
Harris is no stranger to The Bachelor/ette world. In fact, she was selected to appear as a contestant during Season 17 of The Bachelor, which featured Sean Lowe as the man handing out the roses. In the end, Harris decided not to appear.
"If you're present for the first episode and then you're kicked off, you're really only there for like two or three days," Harris said. "So I was like, 'You know what, if this is going to be my debut in the entertainment world I sure don't want to be that girl that was kicked off, like, in two days and really not given the chance.' Realistically, in all the years, there's never been an African-American to make it into the final four, which means there's never going to be a black Bachelor or Bachelorette. And that's just the way the show has recycled the contestants for so many years. It's like, you're really going to be gone in 60 seconds. That's just how it is."
Her enthusiasm for the show was further deflated by last season's bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis. "Juan Pablo's season turned me off so bad," Harris admitted.
She continued, "That's sad because they, kind of, wanted to promote him as the first minority in the lead role, giving out roses, and then it was a disaster season."
As for what Harris is looking for in a man, "I'm looking for someone fun now. I'm looking for, obviously, someone that I'm physically attracted to, but also mentally attracted to. I really do like tall men, I'll tell you that!" Harris gushed.
"I would love to have 25 amazing, multicultural, multitalented, different type of men come out of those limos," Harris continued. "It would be great. And even if ABC didn't do it, I'd go on another network."
Whether ABC ends up choosing her or someone else, Harris is all about awareness.
She is unimpressed with the way most reality television shows portray African-American women. "I actually don't pull out other people's weave and beat people and jump across the table," Harris said.
"Come on! There's a lot of interracial dating now, let's show reality TV. If we're going to show reality, let's show it on reality TV."
As for any plans in the works right now, Harris said she did have some brief Twitter conversations with producers once the campaign went viral, but otherwise the show is staying pretty silent. Harris says she doesn't blame producers for treading lightly, given the show's history of dealing with issues of racism. If you'll recall, The Bachelor was charged with racial discrimination in 2012. The lawsuit was later dismissed, but it still caused quite a stir in the press.
"I do think that it [finding love on the show] works. I think that it's real and you can really find love on television. But I think it's definitely time for them to give a really good African-American, a really good Asian, a really good Latino woman that chance to fill that role and hand out those roses."
"I would love it if they [the producers] called," Harris said. "I would definitely openly accept their invitation. And, you know, who knows!"
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