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The Next Bachelorette Is Clare Crawley, & We’re So Ready to See a 38-Year-Old Woman at the Helm

Well, the rumors were right — 38-year-old Clare Crawley is the next Bachelorette in ABC’s reality dating franchise! Interestingly, this news is somehow both expected and still surprising. Reality Steve had already spilled a spoiler regarding Crawley’s casting last week, but even he seemed dubious of the rumor at first. But now it’s officially official: Six years after her original Bachelor Nation appearance, Crawley will be the one handing out the roses. And it could be the start of a refreshing new trend for the series.

The announcement came by way of Good Morning America on Monday morning just ahead of the end of Peter Weber’s current season of The Bachelor. “I literally just found out. So unexpected, can you believe this? Six years later? What is happening?” Crawley revealed to the GMA co-hosts. Bachelor Nation fans first met Crawley in 2014, during Juan Pablo Galavis’ season (who could forget that guy?). She “placed” second and went on to appear on Bachelor in Paradise‘s first two seasons as well as the Winter Games spinoff.

So, what’s she looking for this time? “I want a man that will take off his armor. I want a man that is strong but is willing to take off the body armor, open themselves up and be vulnerable. I think that is some serious strength right there,” Crawley said, adding, “The biggest thing for me is, honestly, it’s all what’s on the inside for me.”

Crawley went on to explain that she really doesn’t have a physical type when it comes to dating. “It’s more, if they go out of their way for me, if they make me feel special,” she said. “This is about me now. I’m ready for it.”

And admittedly, Crawley’s age makes that feel… believable. At this point — and perhaps especially after Weber’s season — we can probably all agree it would be nice to have a woman at the Bachelorette helm who has a little more life experience. That’s not to say the twenty-somethings who’ve been on the show in seasons past weren’t ready for love, marriage, and reality TV fame. I met my husband when I was only 17 and have been married for over a decade, so I’ll be the first to defend the idea that it really depends on the person. There have been many incredible, fun, charismatic 20-somethings on the franchise with a fantastic sense of self.

Still, generally speaking, a woman in her late 30s has figured out with more clarity what works and doesn’t work for her in a partner. Plus, it’ll be nice to see a slightly different demographic represented in such a substantive way, right?

During her GMA visit, Crawley addressed the age difference between herself and the Bachelor/Bachelorette‘s typical leads, saying, “I feel like a lot of people put it out there as this negative thing. For me, it’s just more years under my belt. More years learning and knowing what I want and what I won’t settle for.”

Click here to learn about shocking behind-the-scenes happenings on The Bachelorette.

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